Mighty Luke Fenton swaggers defiantly in Vulcan's Workshop, most frightful of Martian prisons.
choking mists, and the lurid flame behind. The stifling heat, Luke learned, too, that every ninth day, with what they called the libration of Vulcan, there came an equal period of raw and biting cold to replace the heat. As bad or worse, that would be.
There were perhaps three hundred prisoners here, Luke guessed, and a guard allotted to each squad of fifteen men. Not many guards for so large a number of convicts--but enough. The weird gravity of Vulcan had taken care of that, and the flashlight things they always carried--queer lights that would instantly neutralize the insulating property of his clothing and render a man helpless.
* * * * *
Luke was working high up on the slope, with rock drill and pick. The group to which he had been assigned was composed entirely of new prisoners, mostly white men, but with a few blacks and one coppery-skinned drylander of Mars. Whimpering, hopeless creatures, all of them; not worth his notice. All day he labored without speaking to any of them and t
The old stories, even if having a decent premise and adequate writing, were often heavy-handed.
This story bypasses the prison on Mercury and builds one on Vulcan, the newly-discovered planet inside Mercury's orbit, where no one lives long and prospers. A rather stupid brute manages to get himself sentenced there, and weather conditions and enormous gravity make the place escape-proof. But he doesn't give up.
Science gets sort of bent out of shape in this story. The characters are thin, and the plot is dumb.