Madeline Ashby. Death on Mars. (Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, Arizona State University, 2017.)

Originally in : Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, Arizona State University, 2017.

Read in : The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three. (ed Neil Clarke, Nightshade Books 2018)

The previous story in Clarke’s volume was a lengthy one in Robert Reed’s sprawling Great Ship series. In contrast this is much shorter, much tighter, and much more claustrophobic and up close and personal.

Emotions run high, very high, in an all-female crew orbiting Mars when one reveals a secret she has been keeping for some time. One other crew-member is particularly shaken by her ‘deception’ in keeping them in the dark, and there is little time to resolve her feelings.

A nice, tight story, with the only quibble being a slight lack of focus in and between paragraphs as to who the POV was. Or maybe that was an intentional stylistic method of emphasising the tight-packed and tight-knit nature of the crew?

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