This was in a collection I read in the 80s. Target group was Young adult and I think the theme was education, entering adulthood, etc. I can't recall the names or characters. Collection was hardback. This is second of two stories in this collection I am curious about and will post about.

It was a short story about a dystopian future post second civil wr America where everyone was indoctrinated in education machines at school. They retained no memory of what they learned and the hero worries as to whether he's learning anything. He hates the government for what they did to his father.

His father is super patriotic now, having been tortured and brainwashed in one of the regime prison camps. The hero h and decides to deliberately fail his exam, only to find that when the exam starts his conditioning kicks in and he cannot help acing the exam and talking about how to run a prison camp like the one that destroyed his father as he's been trained for the role of camp commander. It ends with his graduating and his father exclaiming in delight and pride at his son's graduation as Prison Camp Commander.

  • If this is the storyI am thinking about there is a point during the testing in which the boy is asked a question about what to do for an escaping prisoner. The examiner says, 'Let's even imagine the prisoner has otherwise been good." The boy simply answers, "There is only one order to give. Shoot to kill." Does that sound about right? If so, I will try to see if I can find it. I read this many years ago and the name/author escapes me (no pun intended) at the moment. – beichst Dec 26 '17 at 22:21
  • Yes, that does sound right! I was beginning to think I must have dreamed this story. – Sedition Dec 30 '17 at 4:41
  • Nope. I remember it as well. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the story yet. – beichst Dec 30 '17 at 6:41

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