The Martian Way
is a short story
by Isaac Asimov
as well as being a book holding a collection of short stories that contains this as the first short story. First to the short story.
"The Martian Way" is set in a future Earth
where the planet Mars
has recently been colonized (in the past generation). There is tension between the colonists and the home world especially over the water supply. Since the space ships use water as a fuel to get into space and then to move around the people of Earth
have been stirred up by a few right wing politician
s who want to cut off the water supply to Mars
. This causes several of the colonist
s to look for an alternate source of water.
I do not wish to ruin the tale for any future readers so I shall stop there.
This is another perfect example why Isaac Asimov and his ilk are so revered in Science Fiction. This story is fiction but could be a possible reality. There are no mighty star ships which stop when their engines fail but rather small shuttle style ships that have to work on consuming their fuel. The investigation into the attitudes of the two forms of Humans (the Earthmen and the Martians) and the way they interact together is interesting in my view. It is also possible to see that the similar political situation is also explored in Tom Clancy's Debt of Honour. Both stories have a small situation building into a large alteration in trade. This to me seems the main theme behind the book. Though the rest is very interesting the way that the colonists truly become Martians as opposed to Earthmen on Mars is far the more central theme in my opinion. This occurance also appears in Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth.
Also risks that are taken are not risks because the universe might be devoured by a malevolent beast if they are not taken. Instead they are taken out of necessity. Though the science may not be gone into in such detail as an Arthur C. Clarke book (it is only a short story!) there is enough to make the story enjoyable. For example, Asimov explains how spaceships leave Earth through the use of a proton micropile. He doesn't explain how it can heat large amounts of water to use as steam as propulsion just explains what happens and that is that.
Now onto the book.
Title: The Martian Way
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publisher: Panther Science Fiction
First Published in Great Britain: 1964, Dobson Books ltd., 1965 with reprints in 1967 (twice) and 1969, Panther Science Fiction.
Unknown to me. My copy has no ISBN number on it. Thanks to BuffcorePhil for these ISBN numbers: "the '64 edition has the ISBN number "B0000CM4HO", the '68 edition has the ISBN "0234777796"".
Price: 5 shillings and 65 pence (I think, I cannot quite make out the pence bit...)
Classification: Science Fiction
This book is a collection of four short stories written by Isaac Asimov. The main theme as far as I can tell is the exploration of different worlds. From the beginning of the first story the reader is thrown into different difficulties that could arise with man's extension into the cosmos.
The book is hardly a tome of Asimov greats. Since there are only four stories there is not the greatest range to be able to deduce Asimov's mastery of the art however, as a introductory text to Asimov's work it is quite good. The reader is shown the author's ability to think in abstract ways that many of us find difficult. The differing view points and the alternate worlds are mind numbingly intricate yet simple at the same time. Asimov throws the user into many altering situations and hints at a great deal of depth but does not go into it himself. For example, the last story "Sucker Bait" hints at the advances of men and could have been strung out to create a book but instead has been carefully restrained. However, it still hints at other narrative possibilities which allow either the reader to explore these with their own imagination (I know that I have) or for other authors to build on (I'm not sure if anyone has done this but the possibility is there).
This is one of the things that I think make Asimov's book so fascinating to read. Though the tackling of issues or themes are central to the stories the way that a lot of the oppurtunities for the narrative are left open make them even more intriguing. One is left guessing at the many turns that could be taking having seen a previous one bypassed for an alternate.
One gripe I have about this book (and this is more an attack at the publishers than the author) is that for the story "Youth" (and partially for the others) the synopsis on the back ruins the story. Fortunately for myself I was so lost in the first story that I had forgotten the synopsis on the back but in retrospect if I had read it I would have been disappointed. You need to be able to read the story constantly trying to second guess the author; to try and deduct the direction of the story. To me this is the most enjoyable part of a story and the synopsis ruins the twist that occurs in the story. Though it might be predicted it still ruins the flow. Then again, I am one of those people who don't read the last chapter of a murder mystery and hold disdain for those who do (even my mother I scorn for this trait).
So all in all a very good book as long as you avoid reading the synopsis on the back. Not overly long but will last a few bus journeys into town or a train trip.
The stories in this book are as follows in order (I shall add the nodes when I have time and don't worry that will be soon):-
To prove my point that it is a good book even the almighty Yorkshire Post
gave it praise saying 'Few move faster than Isaac Asimov
when it comes to ideas'!