Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Transport of Bodies, by John Possidente


(SF Thriller; Humboldt Station) The narrator is a starving journalist on a space station who might just see two big stories in a place where good stories are hard to come by. (3,106 words; Time: 10m)

Although this is the second Humboldt Station story, there's no need to read them in either order.

"The Transport of Bodies," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 287, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.301 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The setting is interesting, and the setup for a pair of stories (one about the two astronauts on the trans-Neptune mission and one about the narrator’s cousin) is pretty good.

Con: And then it just stops. This is so abrupt I almost wonder if Interzone didn’t accidentally delete the rest of it.

The author screwed up the orbital calculations. If the body has the mass of Phobos, then at 93 km away, the ship would orbit in 58 hours, not 3 minutes. (If it does orbit in 3 minutes, then the body is millions of times more massive than Phobos.) If you crammed the mass of Phobos into a sphere 160 m across, the surface gravity would be 10 g. However, if we assume it was just half the mass of Phobos and that it was 160 m in radius, not diameter, then the surface calculations all work out—including the orbital velocity being about 150 kph. The distant orbit still doesn’t work out, of course.

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