I am 80% sure this story is by Sturgeon, but I can't find it (his titles are not very helpful).

The protagonist has a brother or frenemy who is a cadet at a space academy. When the space cadet comes home, he talks constantly in space academy slang(*) ("cool your jets, there, buddy!") to constantly remind everyone he is a space cadet and how cool he is. He steals the protagonist's girlfriend because of his awesome cool factor.

It maybe turns out that he washed out of the academy, or was a janitor there, or something like that, and was just trying to impress everyone back home.

I can't remember if this space cadet guy is the focus of the story or just a side character. He reminds me a lot of some people on social media, which is why I'm trying to find the story.

Does anyone remember this story?

(*) What Sturgeon thought space academy slang would be when he was writing this in the 40s or 50s

  • Sounds like a bad move, space cadet....
    – RDFozz
    Jul 7, 2017 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


Some details are incorrect, but you are clearly thinking of Sturgeon’s “The Claustrophile”.

The “space cadet” is the protagonist’s brother and a huge extravert. Protagonist is a huge introvert. The woman the brother goes out with is not exactly the protagonist’s girlfriend, but close.

He didn’t wash out of the academy or anything like that, but the story does note that the protagonist often starts things, the brother horns in and takes over for a while, but then never finishes them.

Essentially the story is about the strengths of being an introvert. The extraverted brother ends up looking rather insecure and constantly covering that up with his extraverted manner.

  • Available on page 112 of the August 1956 issue of Galaxy (archive.org/details/galaxymagazine-1956-08)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 7, 2017 at 20:58
  • Thanks, that's it. The title was indeed not helpful, at least for the parts I remember. Good job. Jul 7, 2017 at 21:33
  • I think it says in the story somewhere that they don't actually talk like that at the academy, the guy is just showing off. Jul 8, 2017 at 5:22
  • 1
    @OrganicMarble You’re right, I’d forgotten that.
    – Tom Zych
    Jul 8, 2017 at 8:31

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