Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Breath of Mars, by Marianne J. Dyson

(Hard SF) Thomas sees a shuttle carrying his friends crash on Mars. Help cannot arrive fast enough, so he sets out to rescue them himself. (10,500 words)

Rating: 1, Needs Improvement

"The Breath of Mars," by appeared in Trajectories (edited by Dave Creek), published by .

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

Pro: It's an exciting story of a crash, a failed rescue, and a surprise save with time running out.

Con: The narration is awkward (too much "tell" not enough "show), particularly the "inner dialogue," when the narrator is representing Lorena's thoughts.

The science is weak for a hard SF story. For example, an airplane on Mars would not be "painstakingly slow"; in that thin air, nothing flies at all under 250 mph, and turning is very difficult. Dropping the air pressure from 8 to 6 psi is nowhere near what's required to give someone the bends. Their space suits should have CO₂ scrubbers. It's hard to imagine a fungus on Mars (or anything at all for that matter) that could cut the human need for O₂ in half.

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