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The Martian Heart: A Tale of Love on Mars

Updated on May 23, 2016

Martian Heart Short Story Review

The Martian Heart by John Barnes

As I decided to dive into the world of short stories, I decided to stay in science fiction. Because, well science fiction is just so fun. It’s so weird, wildly original most the time, and unique. Each story is so different than the one before it, and for some reason science fiction writers have that spark of imagination that turns into a wild fire. That cannot be said about some other genres that have fell into a rut, and just can’t climb out. The tale today is Martian Heart by John Barnes.

The tale begins with a couple of runaway delinquent teenagers who are caught by the authorities. They are given a few options of punishment. The most acceptable and shortest punishment is six years of ore mining on an in process terraformed Mars. It is the only option because your teenagers are in love and they want to be together forever. Told from the point of view of out male lead we learn a lot about his time on Mars and his relationship with Samantha. We learn that this girl is the only thing good in his life as he had been a screw up until he met her. Even though he’s digging holes on Mars, he sees the world in another light because of her. Then one day she starts getting sick.

The good? I typically don’t care much for space opera otherworldly tales. They’re usually so concerned with the scifi elements, there’s no heart to this story. That is not true here. This is entirely character driven and it wears it heart on its sleeve. The story is great. And I loved how it was such a simple and not a sprawling epic.

The bad? The story is lacking on detail. Which is a shame. Also the story starts as though our character is an old man telling a story on interview for some kind of newspaper. But at the end it never really did circle back to that. I found odd very odd.

Overall, this is a great story! It’s a simple tale about the relationship of two people against a science fiction backdrop. It has a lot of emotion and heart. It’s not wildly original must read but may the only worth looking into. Just as a fair warning, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re looking for ray guns and action scene, just look elsewhere.

Overall Rating: A Tale of Love on Mars

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