It’s only as I sit here to type this up that I realize that not only does this story share a title with the Elton John hit, it shares a lot of similar themes. Check it out:
“And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home, oh no, no, no
I’m a Rocket Man…”
Considering the narrator’s father is gone for three months at a time and then, when he returns, isn’t quite how they’d like him to be, it fits pretty well. Also there’s a point where he makes his son promise not to follow in his footsteps. It’s a bit of a stretch but the song has a similar theme:
“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact, it’s cold as hell…”
Anyway, extremely appropriate music aside, the story is quite good. It’s another one that actually has a feeling of a science fiction story; there are futuristic machines and talk about space travel and such. It works well. It’s also pretty heartbreaking. Just saying that much is a bit of a spoiler, but I feel that since this is a review it’s important to note how I felt. And I felt heartbroken. It’s a sad story. Beautifully rendered, but sad nonetheless.
Ultimately, I still think “Kaleidoscope” is a better story set in/around space and related themes. But there’s no denying that this is a phenomenal story.