Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Living Hell, by Joe Haldeman

Old Venus, 2015; ~7,300 words
Rating: 2, Not recommended

The narrator attempts a rescue mission for a group of women trapped at a station on the Venusian equator. A recent solar flare ruined a lot of electronics, so he has to fly the old-fashioned way.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The story is very exciting up to a point. The flight across Venus without electronic aids, the hard landing, exploring outside the ship, trying to help the injured crew, going back for the battery--it's all great.

Con: And then suddenly magic happens and the story is all over. Most deus ex machina endings are very poor, and this one is no exception. It's as though he got tired and couldn't be bothered to finish the story.

The science is sloppy too. He says a minimum-energy transfer orbit from Mars to Venus is 6 months, but it's really more than 7 months (217 days). He says a minimum-energy transfer orbit from Venus to Earth is also six months, but it's really under 5 months (146 days). It's as though he couldn't be bothered to figure it out.

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