Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"Nothing Was Certain About Mars"

"How the Heroes Die."
By Larry Niven (born 1938).
Illustrations by Virgil Finlay (1914-71; see HERE, HERE, and HERE).
First appearance: Galaxy, October 1966.

Reprints page (HERE).
Novelette (25 pages).
Online at (HERE).
(Parental caution: Language.)

     "At twenty-five miles per hour he fled, and at twenty-five miles per hour they followed."

Simply surviving on Mars is a hard enough proposition without a murderer formulating plans to kill everybody and claim it was an accident . . .

~ John "Jack" Carter:

  ". . . left the radio band open, knowing that ultimately Alf must talk to the man he needed to kill."
~ Rufus Doolittle:
  "What'll we do, flip a coin?"
~ Lieutenant-Major Michael Shute:
  "Privately he wondered if twelve men could repair even a small rip before they used up the bottle air. It would be one tank every twenty minutes . . ."
~ Gondot:
  "He's planning something."
~ Lee Cousins:
  "This'll cause merry hell."
~ Lew Harness:
  ". . . was dead, murdered."
~ Alf Harness:
  "And now he was being chased by one man. But that man was Lew's brother."
~ Timmy:
  "They just kept going out into the desert."
~ The Martian:
  ". . . seemed to remember something."

Typos: "as if [missing he]"; "his eyes rivited on."

- Laurence Van Cott Niven has been producing Major Award-winning hard science fiction and soft fantasy for more than fifty years; the usual sources have ample information about him (HERE; Wikipedia), (HERE; the SFE), (HERE; his homepage), and (HERE; the IMDb). TV Tropes has much more about Niven (HERE) and his Known Space story arc (HERE). Niven's most popular novel, Ringworld (1970), was optioned by Hollywood almost as soon as it was published, but so far nada.

- Steve Lewis at Mystery*File recently highlighted one of Niven's stories (HERE).

- We've already featured Niven's connection with the Star Trek franchise (HERE) and (HERE).

- Some stories that either take place on Mars or are somehow involved with The Red Planet include Raymond F. Jones's "The Memory of Mars" (HERE), John Jakes's "Coffins to Mars" (HERE), Theodore L. Thomas's "Mars Trial" (HERE), Alfred Coppel's "Tydore's Gift" (HERE), Richard Wilson's "Murder from Mars" (HERE), and Rog Phillips's "The Man from Mars" (HERE).

The bottom line:

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