Saturday, January 2, 2016

Vortex, by Gregory Benford

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(Hard SF) The Chinese Mars base asks old First-Expedition crew members Julia and Viktor for help with a problem involving Mars's only large native life form. (6,731 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: GDozois:5 LTilton

"Vortex," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|16, published on by .

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

Pro: The future technologies, especially the automated ones, are very realistic. The Martian life form is plausible, given what we know about Mars.

Con: There's a lot happening in the background, but there's very little substance to the story itself. The Chinese researchers' refusing to work with the Julia and Viktor was hard to believe.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01-02|16)
Gregory Benford Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. The writing style seemed a little rough to me. I also felt the Chinese clinging to Earthside politics was over the top.

  2. The funny thing is, Benford was a scientist himself, and yet it is his portrayals of the scientists that seems most unrealistic.

  3. I agree with RSR's ★★★ rating. The Marsmat is cool but the effect of Earth politics on the story seemed unrealistic, as RSR and Laura point out. It does make me curious about the 1999 novel it's based on, though.