Gareth L. Powell. Eleven Minutes. (Interzone, #235, Jul-Aug 2011)

Eleven minutes refers to the length of time it takes the protagonists to send a command from NASA JPL to a Mars Rover to take a photograph, and to receive back the photograph. It’s quite a short story, with the interplay between the two scientists being a high point, as the story telegraphs its intention by having the pair discuss alternate realities. And, sure enough, photograph evidence comes back that is inconsistent with our universe.

I found it quite reminiscent of a series of stories by Stephen Baxter a while, and a number of other stories that came out around the same time, as the SF community looked back in anger/sadness at where humanity’s exploration of space was going/no longer going. If you haven’t read any of those, you’ll get much more enjoyment out of this contribution to fairly well-trodden regolith.

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