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The Hunted Heroes by Robert Silverberg

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“The Hunted Heroes” is a 1956 science fiction short story by Robert Silverberg. It is about a team of uranium miners who are captured by a madman on Mars.

Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:

The Hunted HeroesRon and Val are a married couple who volunteered to help search for radio active fuel on Mars. Why? Well, after the great atomic wars of the late 20th century Earth cities were rebuilt to use nuclear energy, and now that energy supply is nearly depleted. Enter the Geig Corps – people who search for uranium on Mars until sea dredging technology can provide the required energy levels. It is while searching for uranium on foot that they are trapped by a mad man who is determined to kill them and send a hateful message back to their company, UranCo. Oh no! How will they escape? Well, you’ll have to read this classic story yourself to answer that question!

I awoke with a sudden startled shiver, and realized angrily I had let myself doze off. “Come on, Val,” I said savagely, and started to rise to my feet.

I couldn’t.

I looked down. I was neatly bound in thin, tough, plastic tangle-cord, swathed from chin to boot-bottoms, my arms imprisoned, my feet caught. And tangle-cord is about as easy to get out of as a spider’s web is for a trapped fly.

It wasn’t Martians that had done it. There weren’t any Martians, hadn’t been for a million years. It was some Earthman who had bound us.

My Two Cents:

• The good:

  • This is a fun, readable, classic sci-fi story written by a famous and prolific author.
  • I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for classic stories written in the middle of the 1900’s! I enjoy seeing their visions of the future of Mars, Earth and technology in general.

• The bad:

  • This is a pretty mellow story, but keep in mind that it was written over 50 years ago. As such, there are some cavalier attitudes towards women and physically handicapped people.
  • If you don’t like reading classic stories where the future (300 years from now) still has people wearing big, bulky spacesuits – well, then you may want to skip “The Hunted Heroes”.

Fact Sheet:
• Page Count: 11
• Word Count: 5,011

Where you can find “The Hunted Heroes”:

  • This short story first appeared in the September 1956 issue of Amazing Stories.
  • You can get a nice free copy of “The Hunted Heroes” online, in many different formats, at manybooks.net. (You have pick a format, then click the download button to get to the story.)

Some Interesting Links:

  • Did you know that the author of this story, Robert Silverberg, has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards? Yep. You can learn more about this amazing author at Wikipedia.
  • Special thanks to SF Signal for pointing me towards this cool little story.

Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like Falling Onto Mars, about violent and non-reforming prisoners who are sent to Mars rather than sentenced to death on Earth, by Geoffrey A. Landis.