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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Becalmed in Hell" by Larry Niven

First published in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Nominated for a Nebula award and reprinted by Donald A. Wollheim, Terry Carr, Damon Knight, Edward L. Ferman, Robert P. Mills, and Gardner Dozois.  This forms a part of Larry Niven's future history series, Known Space.  Caveat:  I will "ruin" some of these Larry Niven stories as it is impossible to discuss the science without revealing the key plot points.

On Venus, human/ship Eric (character from "The Coldest Place") cannot feel his wings.  When the narrator cannot find damage inside or out, there's a friendly stalemate.  Is one or the other character mentally unstable?  Is Eric being psychosomatic?  Is the narrator stalling, not wanting to do his job?  Or is there a third solution?  When objects heat, usually they expand.  In this case, Eric was losing contact.  Good science mystery with a healthy dose of psychology thrown in.  Worth seeking out.

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