Monday, May 29, 2006

A Recently Unearthed Treasure

Mission to Zar
Short Story
Level 6
Louis Anders
Briarwood Christian School
(age 10 or thereabouts, we assume)

The time was about the middle of the twenty-fourth century. The place, a small space craft ordered to explore the square planet of Zar. The reason for this unusual mission was that the planet's surface was caving in. This was disrupting the gravity on the Earth and Mars.

The captain, talking to himself said, "Sniff, I may never see my wife and dog, Ruff, again." The captain pulled out a picture.

Overhearing, the second in command said, "Gee, your dog sure is ugly!"

"That's not my dog; that's my wife!"

"Sorry, Captain."

"That's okay. My wife thought it was Ruff, too," sighed the captain.

The ship enters the atmosphere and is instantly pulled down by Zar's gravity.

They landed on a large mountain. "Captain," said one of the men, "the gravity meter ray shows that another cave-in would occur about now--!"

The cave in hits and the mountain is reduced to a small hill. They traced the point of damage to a small underground tunnel.

After following the tunnel for hours they came to a large cavern miles below Zar's surface. It was inhabited by thousands of huffles! They were digging tunnels in the dirt to live in. This was causing the cave-ins.

Taking out eight inflatable space-rockets they tied one to each end of the planet.

Now they huffles could tunnel as much as they liked and Zar wouldn't cave in.

The End


Chris Roberson said...

Genius! It demands a sequel!

Paul Cornell said...

See me.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this explains a lot, or nothing at all.

But seriously, if only you'd thought to pitch this to Star Trek Voyager... who knows?

A.R.Yngve said...

Nice ending! :)

Lou Anders said...

You know, I did pitch to Voyager three times. The last time I went in they had just done - and were so proud of - the episode where Harry Kim is worried that his parents don't love him anymore since he's been gone so long, but, at the climax - oh my, he gets a bit of space mail from home! Sadly, this was the A story. So, yeah, "Mission to Zar" might have been right on their level.

Paul Cornell said...

I should explain, following correspondence, that 'see me' is what British teachers are known for writing at the bottom of essays that annoy them. It wasn't just a sudden lunge for exposure on my part.

Anonymous said...

REVIEW: “Mission to Zar”, an exciting space adventure by Lou Anders, is clearly is a direct descendent of Hal Clement’s MISSION OF GRAVITY. Like Mesklin in MoG, the planet Zar is the star of the story with its unique geometric properties and a grand design that allows its surface to be propped up by inflatable space-rockets tied to its surface. Pure Genius! (There’s not enough of those inflatable space-rockets in modern day sf - let’s see Peter F. Hamilton work that into his stories!) But sense of wonder alone does not make a story great. It is through poignant characterizations and likable characters that we come to love the story. The well-placed humor only adds to overall enjoyment of the piece. Bravo!


Seriously, for a 10-year-old, this is pretty darned imaginative. Had you read much science fiction by that age? Or, is this derived from tv/movie sci-fi?

Lou Anders said...

You are cracking me up. Any reservations I had about posting this are blasted away in the light of your hysterical review.
You know, I'm not sure where my reading was at age 10. Somewhere around there, my father shoved "A Princess of Mars" into my hands and ordered me to read it. I ended up reading about 60 Burroughs books across the next year. From there, I read a lot of Moorcock and I read Fritz Lieber's sword and sorcery, but the only SF I read when I was really young, apart from Dune and I, Robot, were the many Asimov-edited anthologies and the famous Hall of Fame paperbacks. But most of this reading kicked in when I was 13 or so.

I will say, a really early influence was Land of the Lost, which was pretty damn deep for a kid's show, oft written by "real" SF writers, and a "godsend" to a child raised in a school system that refused to even mention the verbotten word "evolution."

Aaron Hughes said...

Beware the Sleestack!

Anonymous said...

Lou, I am... stunned. ;-)