Saturday, March 2, 2019

The God of All Mountains, by Jo Miles

★★★★☆ More Than Just a Race

(SF Sports) Claudia doesn’t want to be the first woman to climb Olympus Mons, she wants to be the first person, despite having outdated equipment, limited support, and a strong competitor. (4,754 words; Time: 15m)

"The God of All Mountains," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 03-04|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.111 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: On the surface, this is about a race to the top of the mountain, but it’s really a story of Claudia finding peace with herself.

At the start, she’s angry and bitter. Her career has gone nowhere, and Derek’s teasing gets under her skin way too easily. Up until the sandstorm, her whole motivation is to beat him, even though he’s got superior equipment and support.

The night of the sandstorm, we see she’s better than that when she prays for the safety of her rivals as well as herself, and her epiphany after her near-disaster on the landslide seems consistent with her real character. When she decides to just climb for the fun of it, it makes total sense in terms of her character.

When Pete tells her she still has a chance, it’s a wonderful moment because it feels like she’s earned it.

Finally, the scene at the summit is gratifying, not just because she gets the acclaim she wanted but also because both she and Derek both show good sportsmanship. It's particularly cool when the press rush over, suddenly realizing they've got a much better story than they'd thought.

On a technical note, NASA is actually going to try flying a drone on Mars in 2021.

Con: Claudia is the only character who’s fleshed out.

A Martian sandstorm blocks visibility, but the air is so thin the wind has no force.

I’m pretty sure no drones can fly in the near-vacuum high up on Olympus Mons. Not without rockets, anyway.

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