Saturday, April 9, 2016

Trajectories of the Heart, by Arlan Andrews, Sr.

(Science Fantasy) Francisco's flying a solo mission from low Earth orbit to Lunar orbit when his ship has a terrible accident, and he's go no one but himself to rely on. (~7,500 words)

Rating: 2, Not Recommended

"Trajectories of the Heart," by appeared in Trajectories (edited by Dave Creek), published by .

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

Pro: Francisco Navarro is an interesting character--a Spanish-speaking Hindu with abandonment issues. When he's marooned, it's not that big a change from the life he's always led.

Con: The story suffers from too many unbelievable elements. Right off the bat, it's hard to see why you'd used manned vehicles to deliver cargo. Even today, SpaceX sends unmanned cargo craft to the space station.

Next, the sort of collision that could make a big trajectory change in a spacecraft would simply vaporize it. Any asteroid of 10 km diameter that passes so close to Earth would already be known to NASA today--much less in 100 years. But such an object would have very, very little gravity (unless it was a black hole). There's no way it could seriously deflect a spaceship. If it were a black hole, he wouldn't have escaped it so easily, and (again) NASA would have detected it long ago due to its effect on the other planets.

When he does escape, he transforms his orbit utterly--which suggests he could have got back to Earth if he's wanted. He gives his orbit as having "thirty million miles perigee" which would imply he was orbiting the Earth. If that means the sun, then he's going to get toasty warm at perihelion well inside the orbit of Mercury.

Then, abruptly, the story becomes fantasy, and Francisco essentially wills himself to return to Earth in what amounts to a deus ex machina ending.

A minor point is that Francisco speaks very strange Spanish. That probably won't bother anyone who doesn't know much Spanish, but it's very annoying if you do.

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