Space Hockey Cadet

Space Hockey History

“nostalgia for the present”
—Frederic Jameson,
Archaeologies of the Future:
The Desire Called Utopia and
Other Science Fictions

Space Hockey was the name of the violent, high-tech, interplanetary popular sport around which the events of the novel Space Hockey Cadet took place. It was similar to what the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens ice rink hockey back on Earth was like—but more Rollerball-esque in the sense that the players skated thorugh space on antigrav-blades (anti-gravity rollerblades) and the two teams were clad in velcro bulletproof body armor. There, however, the similarity ends.

The object of the game was to score points by the offensive team (the team in possession of the titanium computerized puck)—sending the softball-sized steel puck into the goal which was a magnetic, cone-shaped area inset moving around inside the changing spherical framework of the space hockey arena. The arena was either an orbiting space station or small asteroid that wouldn’t be missed if it got disintegrated during the game. Along with the fans.

The team without possession of the ball was defensive and acted to prevent scoring. It was a full-contact sport in which players had considerable leeway to attack opposing players in order to take or maintain possession of the puck and to score points.

In the offshore wheeler-dealer gangster space hockey days before the sport was banned—the other object of the game was to kill off the other players.

In addition, each team had three players who cloaked themselves within invisibility shields as streamlined dangerous lozenges morphing in 3-D space who were the enforcers used to trick the other players and act as enablers when it came to ultra-violence.

The player in possession of the puck may not have been holding the real puck in plain view at all times. Stealth was required by both teams who cheished and protected the psi-sensitive younger players who guided much of the action. A star among them was Maurice Flambeaux—champion of the Free Fall Killers, one of the most ruthless teams in the SHL.

Space Hocky teams, named after various famous sci-fi writers and pulp fiction sci-fi novels, were owned by the various Terran global corporations. The military industrial complex corporations sponsored the various Leagues and Conferences.

The game was a substitute for all current team sports and old-style Earthside warfare. While its ostensible purpose was entertainment, Mr. Heinlein, a high-level executive of the Pulp Planet Corporation, described it as a sport designed to show the futility of individual effort.

In this dystopian future, the world of 2050, known as Gilded Age of Space Exploration, the Pulp Planet Corporation was the last of a long line of robber barons stretching back through the 19th-century to the great Gilded Age.

There was a yearning for that time back then—when the proud railroad, steel and oil empires ruled the planet Earth with style. Space corporations had a life of their own too—and they also had a nostalgia for the present. The present like it was back then—like it used to be. Back when Barons—walked the surface of the Earth.

The Pulp Planet Corporation contained many interplanetary business entities sponsoring the various Space Hockey League games. Space Hockey players didn’t get to be interplanetary celebrities for very long—two years was about the time limit for the young player’s playtime in outer space.

Most didn’t live that long—which only reinforces the notion of the futility of individual effort and athletic excellence. But then one day out of the blue—one of the Space Hockey players decided not to quit. It was young Maurice Flambeaux…

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