Monday, June 27, 2011

Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier: "First Principle" by Nancy Kress

I’m still reading my way through Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier (Viking, April 2011), a new original Young Adult science fiction anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan that's packed with stories from a range of contemporary international writers, including Cory Doctorow, Ellen Klages, Ian McDonald, Rachel Swirsky, and John Barnes.

The fifth tale in the anthology is “First Principle,” written by award-winning author Nancy Kress. Set on a Red Planet that has been colonized for several generations, the story revolves around a Mars-born “bug” named Gina Mellit and her complex relationship with a dying xenophobic Earther immigrant named David Hansen. Here are the opening lines:
HE was even bigger than I expected. All three of them were. Barb and I watched on the link screen as they waited for the transport bay to pressurize, as they climbed out of the rover. Dr. Langley, in his rotation as council leader, made a welcome speech. The parents managed exhausted smiles, but the boy scowled.
“He’s so ugly,” Barb said. “And look at him—he hates us already.”
“He’s scared,” I said. “Wouldn’t you be, if you got taken away to Earth?”
The First Principle: Put yourself in the other person’s place.

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