Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rare (Off Earth) Elements (A Sam Gunn Tale), by Ben Bova

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(Hard SF) When Song-li arrives at near-Earth asteroid 94-12 to claim it for China, she's surprised to find the notorious Sam Gunn is already there. (5,400 words; Time: 18m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended

"Rare (Off Earth) Elements (A Sam Gunn Tale)," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in Mission: Tomorrow (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: The science is reasonable. The partisan Chinese POV is amusing. And Sam Gunn is charming and entertaining as always.

We're told at length that NEOs are rare, but the plentiful resources of the belt are out of reach, so the fact that Sam's rocket is a game-changer is set up well in advance.

Con: There's no surprise in the outcome. Song-li must be really dumb not to have realized that a fusion drive would make the asteroids in the belt available.

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