The Starship Hopeful Series

In 1981, I have no idea why, I started a series of oddball science fiction short stories; I mean, every once in a while those people warped through my brain again, until, by 1988, I’d done 5 of them. Then I stopped, and again I have no idea why; they’d been fun to write. All 5 were published in Playboy. When I sent in the first one, Alice Turner, the wonderful fiction editor there — one of the best, recently no longer there, which is Playboy’s loss — said she’d buy the story if I would send her, in a plain wrapper, whatever I’d been smoking or ingesting while writing it. Herewith, “Don’t You Know There’s A War On?” the first of the starship Hopeful stories. ~ DEW


From the beginning of Time, Man has been on the move, ever outward. First he spread over his own planet, then cross the Solar System, then outward to the Galaxies, all of them dotted, speckled, measled with the colonies of Man.

Then, one day in the year eleven thousand four hundred and six (11,406), an incredible discovery was made in the Master Imperial Computer back on Earth. Nearly 500 years before, a clerical error had erased from the computer’s memory more than 1000 colonies, all in Sector F.U.B.A.R.3.

For half a millennium, those colonies, young and struggling when last heard from, had had no contact with the rest of Humanity. The Galactic Patrol Interstellar Ship Hopeful, Captain Gregory Standforth commanding, was at once dispatched to reestablish contact with the Thousand Lost Colonies and return them to the bosom of Mankind.

Click on a rocket to read the story…