''Normality'' is a myth; we're all a little neurotic, and the study of neurosis has been able to classify the general types of disturbance which are most common. And some types (providing the subject is not suffering so extreme a case as to have crossed the border into psychosis) can be not only useful, but perhaps necessary for certain kinds of work....
woke sluggishly and dragged himself into awareness.
"I've changed," he thought aloud. "My face is younger; I feel different."
The keening sound of air over the wings brought a thrill. Below him, a great curving disk of reds and browns and yellows. He could see dust storms raging and the heavy, darkened lines of the canals.
There was skill in his hands. He righted the rocket, balanced it. Began the tricky task of landing. It took all of his talent, all of his training. Ponderously, the ship settled into the iron sand; slowly, the internal fires died.
* * * * *
Kimball stood in the control room, his heart pounding. Slowly, the ports opened. Through the thick quartz he could see the endless plain. Reddish brown, empty. The basin of some long ago sea. The sky was a deep, burning blue with stars shining at midday at the zenith. It looked unreal, a painting of unworldly quiet and desolation.
What is reality, Kimmy?
Steinhart was right, he thought vaguely. A
If you haven't read any of the John Carter of Mars books, this story won't make any sense to you. Having read that series, I can only say that this story stinks. It's a bunch of smoke and mirrors about something maybe happening that never does, and then and ending that is a total let-down. A great story - to avoid.
Col. Kimball grew up on John Carter of Mars, so when the first manned Mars mission launched, he was on it. Oddly enough, he didn't feel like he was leaving his world behind.
A one-character story, fairly predictable.