The problem was as neat a circle as one could ask for; without repair parts, they couldn’t bring in the ship that carried the repair parts!
said the engineer ungraciously, "till somebody comes."
So they waited, using what had been chair backs for seats.
The engineer moved a control and the windows cleared further. They saw the surface of Xosa II. There was no living thing in sight. The ground itself was pebbles and small rocks and minor boulders--all apparently tumbled from the starkly magnificent mountains to one side. There were monstrous, many-colored cliffs and mesas, every one eaten at in the unmistakable fashion of wind-erosion. Through a notch in the mountain wall before them a strange, fan-shaped, frozen formation appeared. If such a thing had been credible, Bordman would have said that it was a flow of sand simulating a waterfall. And everywhere there was blinding brightness and the look and feel of blistering sunshine. But there was not one single leaf or twig or blade of grass. This was pure desert. This was Xosa II.
Aletha regarded it with bright eyes.
"Beautiful!" she said happily. "Isn't it?"
The black man and the American Indians are supposedly better adapted (due to their races) than the white guy, who can't survive the completely desert planet. The adapted people simply give up and try to have good deaths in the face of a catastrophe, while the white guy tries to figure a way out. Put that way, it's racist. I'm not sure how much real phisical variation there is in race, if any of the presumptions are true.
Hard to tell, I didn't see the ending coming.
SF novellette about survival on a glaring hot planet. You'll find the solution before reading about it, I'm sure. A bit rough on the edges, with racist undertones.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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