Thursday, November 7, 2019

Martian Fever, by Julie NovaKova


(Mars Colony) A crewmember gets sick from what appears to be a native Martian organism, threatening the entire mission. (8,409 words; Time: 28m)

"Martian Fever," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 11-12|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.600 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a hard-SF story, where the challenge is to identify the cause of the illness and craft some sort of treatment. It gets realism points for mentioning that the Martian organism struggles to survive inside a human host and that the damage is mostly caused by the human immune system overreacting to the alien pathogen. This all seemed very plausible.

It’s also quite plausible that Earth would be extremely hesitant to let colonists return from Mars if anyone actually got infected with a local pathogen. Particularly if the colony was set up for long-term use, so they’re not really condemning anyone to death.

Special thanks to the author for the footnotes to papers with more information on the science in the story.

Con: There’s little or no character development in the story. There are quite a few characters, but I found them pretty hard to tell apart. This makes it hard to care about the characters and keeps the story from having any emotional impact.

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Julie NovaKova Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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