"Ordeal in Space" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein, originally published in Town & Country, May 1948. It is one of Heinlein's Future History stories and appears in his collection, The Green Hills of Earth.
A spaceship's crewman is called to repair an antenna while his ship is still under spin. He is unable to hold on, despite supreme effort; he drifts away from the ship and has far too much time to ponder things. When he returns to Earth, he is unable to work as a spaceman, and has a fear of heights. After living in fear and sadness for a time, he must face his troubles while rescuing a kitten stuck on the 35th-floor ledge of a building.
Originally titled "Broken Wings", the story was rejected by The Saturday Evening Post.
A reading of this story was broadcast on BBC Radio 7 on June 15, 2009.
Famous quotes containing the words space and/or ordeal:
“In bourgeois society, the French and the industrial revolution transformed the authorization of political space. The political revolution put an end to the formalized hierarchy of the ancien regimé.... Concurrently, the industrial revolution subverted the social hierarchy upon which the old political space was based. It transformed the experience of society from one of vertical hierarchy to one of horizontal class stratification.”
—Donald M. Lowe, U.S. historian, educator. History of Bourgeois Perception, ch. 4, University of Chicago Press (1982)
“They who aspire to love worthily, subject themselves to an ordeal more rigid than any other.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)