Thursday, August 11, 2011

Life on Mars, tales from the frontier: “Digging” by Ian McDonald

I’m still reading my way through Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier (Viking, April 2011), the new original Young Adult science fiction anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan that's comprised of stories from a range of contemporary international writers, including the late Kage Baker, Alastair Reynolds, Nnedi Okorafor, Stephen Baxter, Nancy Kress, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

The ninth tale in the anthology is a gritty piece titled “Digging,” penned by British science fiction novelist Ian McDonald. Set on a partially terraformed Mars, the plot revolves around a young girl named Tash Gelem-Opunyo, who lives in the excavating city of West Diggory on the slope of the Big Dig.

According to McDonald, “It’s a story about how complex it can be growing up in a confined space and how much you can see and what lies over that horizon. It’s about learning about disappointments, and how much of life consists of digging holes and then filling them in again.”

Literary miners may want to explore the role of the wind in “Digging.”

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