The planet itself was tough enough--barren, desolate, forbidding; enough to stop the most adventurous and dedicated. But they had to run head-on against a mad genius who had a motto:Death to all Terrans!
ghtmare--sitting there, placidly rocking back and forth, a nightmare.
I found myself fervently wishing I was back out there on the infinitely safer desert.
"Do I shock you?" he asked. "I shouldn't--not when you see my motives."
"We don't see them," I snapped.
"Well, let me show you. You're on Mars hunting uranium, right? To mine and ship the radioactives back to Earth to keep the atomic engines going. Right?"
I nodded over at our geiger counters.
"We volunteered to come to Mars," Val said irrelevantly.
"Ah--two young heroes," Ledman said acidly. "How sad. I could almost feel sorry for you. Almost."
"Just what is it you're after?" I said, stalling, stalling.
"Atomics cost me my legs," he said. "You remember the Sadlerville Blast?" he asked.
"Of course." And I did, too. I'd never forget it. No one would. How could I forget that great accident--killing hundreds, injuring thousands more, sterilizing forty miles of Mississippi land--when the Sad
An unsophisticated, early story by Silverberg--don't expect Thorns, Nightwing, or Dying Inside. A bitter double-amputee captures a husband and wife uranium prospecting team on Mars with the object of killing them like the others he'd captured.
The characterizations are not bad for such a short story: the husband and wife have a little depth, and the villain is just crazy, not a drooler or nonsense spouter. I had a slight problem with the picture of a wheelchair in the sand, but, oh, well.