Science Fiction Short Story: "The Man Who Hated Mars" by Randall Garrett"
December 24, 2016 8:21am CST
Ron Clayton’s request for a transfer back to Earth has been turned down, just as all his previous requests were. He hoped his luck might have changed with the new administrator Rehabilitation Services was a woman, but if anything, she turned out to be harder than her male predecessors. At the time of his most recent conviction—for strong-arm robbery—they gave him a choice between prison on Earth and freedom on Mars. He chose Mars. But that was fifteen long years ago. Fifteen years of Martian cold, of oxygen tablets, of working in the mines. All he wanted to do now was to go back Earth even if it meant going to prison, to feel the warmth of the sun, to breathe in a real atmosphere, and to drink beer with CO₂ in it. Why, he’d do anything. That night in the Recreation Building, while the jukebox plays Robert Heinlein’s “Green Hills of Earth,” a man came in wearing an oxygen tube. He was off the Space Transport Service and could afford whiskey. He could even afford to buy Clayton whiskey. They both liked to drink and complain about their bosses. And Clayton thought he might find his way back to Earth. Such things seldom go to plan, of course. This one shows Clayton’s ruthlessness, of which the reader is already aware. The reader also knows he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed so one can almost cheer when it comes back to bite him in the tush. This is an enjoyable but not a spectacular little story. Author Randall Garrett is probably best remembered for his Lord Darcy books, which feature a Sherlock Holmes like detective solving crimes in an alternate universe in a time contemporary to when the books were written, but where magic works. They are humorous and full of wordplay. Garrett was also, along with Marion Zimmer Bradley and many others, one of the founding members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. This story is available at Project Gutenberg and as an audiobook through Librivox: _____ Title: “The Man Who Hated Mars” Author: Randall Garrett First published: [i]Amazing Stories[i] Sept. 1956 Source: ISFDB
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