Mary Robinette Kowal. Rockets Red. (Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2016)

fsf160102The third of Three Tales of Mars in the issue.

It’s a retro/Golden Age story, with humans settling on Mars in the 1950s, using the then-available technology, which she introduced with her Hugo-winning ‘Lady Astronaut of Mars’ (Best Novelette, 2014). And one element of this story resolves around that tech : computing punch-cards. There’s a fireworks display on the planet, and there’s a stack of cards to be dropped into the computer to ensure they go off in order. Unfortunately, the stack gets out of order at a very opportune time…

The human element of the story is of the elderly mother, who has her son reflecting on her increasing frailty. Fortunately, mom comes up with something to save the day…

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