Yesterday was the day I finished Temporary Duty. It also happened to be the day I found out that the author, Ric Locke recently died. It was weird to be discovering a fascinating new author at the same time I found out that the story of his life here had been completed. I suspect that in science fiction Locke’s impact will be even greater after his death than before.
When an alien trading shipp makes a stop at Earth the US manages to wangle sending a detachment along on their trading loop. Temporary Duty is the story of a Navy enlisted man who lucks into temporary duty with aboard the spacecraft. It’s about competitions and cooperation, about difference between cultures and about similarities, it’s about enforcing rules and about breaking them.
The book doesn't have a stereotypical plot, so the beginning can feel a little slow, because you don’t see what is coming up. But it does pay off in the second half of the book in surprising, if unexpected, ways. If you already like sci-fi I would recommend this as something new and fresh. If you don’t like sci-fi you might try it anyway as it is different enough you might find it more to your tastes.