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Mars: A Traveler’s Guide by Ruth Nestvold

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“Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” is a 2008 science fiction short story by Ruth Nestvold. It is about a person desperately trying to access a space suit’s computerized help system.

Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:

The atmosphere of Mars!Red Planet Adventures is a company that provides tours of the Martian landscape. Although they are not perfect they have done a pretty good job in providing the resources needed for tourists to have fun and stay safe. Those nasty Martian dust storms are one problem they are trying to overcome – as is the lack of 100% communication coverage. But there is one situation that they forgot to take into account, and one of their latest adventurers finds out about it the hard way!

The individual pods in the habitat are constructed from titanium-reinforced buckyplastic, equipped with double air locks, and connected to each other with inflatable tunnels of neoKevlar. Spacesuits are provided for all visitors and included in the tour package. However, it is not recommended that tourists attempt to explore Gusev Crater or nearby Ma’adim Vallis without an experienced tour guide.

If you’d like—

You have chosen the topic “Safety Considerations”:

Tours with Red Planet Adventures have been optimized for safety—

I’m sorry, did you say ‘vacuum’?

My Two Cents:

• The good:

  • The style of this story is perfect! It allows the reader to piece together small clues in order to figure out what is going on. Very well done indeed!
  • I liked all the factual information about Mars. Of course I am one of those people who likes reading encyclopedias, so if you are a fact hound too then you’ll probably like “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide”.

• The bad:

  • Not anything really – just an excellent story!

Fact Sheet:
• Page Count: 4
• Word Count: 2294
“Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” garnered the following awards:

  • It has been nominated for the 2008 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

Where you can find “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide”:

  • This short story first appeared in the January 2008 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
  • You can read a free online version of “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” at the Fantasy & Science Fiction web site – sorry, link no longer available…
  • …but you can listen to an audio version of this story at StarShipSofa!

Some Interesting Links:

  • Did you know that Ruth Nestvold lives on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany? Yep. You can learn more about this science fiction author by checking out her web site.
  • Special thanks to John at SF Signal for recommending this great little story.

Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like A Walk In The Sun, about an astronaut stranded on the moon who must stay in the sunlight until she is rescued, by Geoffrey A. Landis.