Saturday, January 17, 2009

Falling Onto Mars

Title: Falling Onto Mars
Author: Geoffrey A. Landis
Published: Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 2002
Genre: Science fiction, short story

Rating: 7/10

Thoughts: The story is fairly short, probably around 4 pages. In that time the author manages to paint a rather brutal picture. Incorrigible prisoners from Earth are piled onto flimsy space ships and sent to Mars. This is a story of who survived and how.

The story is good and has an interesting twist at the end. It also does a great job presenting a certain grim mood inherent to the setting. The downside seemed to be that the details of how humans managed to survive were often skimmed over. It seemed strange that people managed to survive given the description of available technology. It bothered me in places, but overall is probably not too important to the story.

There is also one scene that can be interpreted two ways and I wonder what the author intended there. It is a scene where Kayla is found, she speaks of how to get oxygen. However, I wavered to understand whether what she said was a sabotage attempt or a true advice. It also doesn't mention whether her advice was taken. I feel like motivations here could be interpreted in several ways... If you have read the story, let me know what you thought. 

1 comment:

  1. After skimming your review I knew I had to pop over and give this short story a read. Whew, I feel like I've been put through the ringer. My thoughts, from my forthcoming review:

    "A brutal, well-realized, punch-in-the-gut history of the populating of the planet Mars. This is not a feel good story in any sense of the word, but it is intense and interesting and, as an examination of the nature of government and the animal urge to survive, it is not at all far-fetched."

    I hadn't thought about that possible double interpretation of Kayla's instructions. Makes things very interesting. Was she saying what she said because she was a genuinely forgiving person, or, as the story indicates later, did she recognize him and try to take the opportunity to kill him? Cool to speculate which is the truth.