Author Topic: EP680: A Barrow for the Living  (Read 1955 times)


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on: May 22, 2019, 06:58:04 PM
Escape Pod 680: A Barrow for the Living

Author : Alison Wilgus
Narrator : Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
Host : Mur Lafferty
Audio Producer : Summer Brooks

This story first appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May/June 2018 .


Sitting on cold deck plates which in turn sit on Mars, Desiree wonders why they bother to monitor the entry, descent and landing for these resupply missions at all, as only the outcome matters. Either the capsule will survive, and so will they. Or some part of the EDL will fail, and the cargo will be lost, and their splinter of a settlement will disappear into the dust.

“The aeroshell has entered the atmosphere,” says Vika. She is cross-legged on the floor and hunched over her laptop, the hood of her greasy sweatshirt drawn up around her face. The benches became shelves when they closed off the other modules; there is nowhere else to sit. “We’re in communications blackout.”

​Desiree’s legs are stretched out in front of her, her back against a crate filled with a dead woman’s belongings, her feet pressed to the door of the toilet. She takes another bite of the protein bar that she’s been nursing since yesterday. She doesn’t care about this and would leave the room to do something else — absolutely anything else — if she could. But there are no other rooms.

​Zoh is wrapped in a once-yellow blanket, red dust cemented with sweat and tears into stains that look like old blood. She and Vika are touching at the knee and at the elbow. Zoh is looking at the laptop screen, its light casting a blue shadow across her face, but Vika continues to read the EDL progress aloud. Not for Desiree, certainly. Maybe for Marisha, who would have cared if she were still alive.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


  • Lochage
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Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 08:01:51 PM
This is probably the kindest, most optimistic version of how the Mars One scam might have turned out possible. 


  • Hipparch
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Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 04:46:26 AM
This is probably the kindest, most optimistic version of how the Mars One scam might have turned out possible.

Good point!!

I enjoyed this harsh slice of life for martian explorers story, precisely because it was more realistic than idealistic.