The Prometheans [NOOK Book]

Overview


Prometheans is a novel by Ben Bova, the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read More Show Less
... See more details below
The Prometheans

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview


Prometheans is a novel by Ben Bova, the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429932493
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 762,132
  • File size: 363 KB

Meet the Author


Ben Bova is a six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog, former editorial director of Omni, and past president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. Bova is the author of more than a hundred works of science fact and fiction. He lives in Florida.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


The Prometheans
Sam GunnThe basic idea for this story occurred to me back in the years when I was an editor. For the better part of a decade I tried to get one writer after another to write a story for Analog or, later, Omni around this idea. All I ever got for my troubles was a series of blank stares and muttered promises to "give it a shot. When I finally stopped being an editor and began to write short fiction again, I tackled the idea myself. Sam Gunn is the result. Sam is a true Promethean--inventive and irreverent, feisty and tough, good-hearted and crafty. Ed Ferman, editor and publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction not only bought the story, he published it in his magazine's 34th anniversary issue, which pleased me no end.By the time I was finished with the story, it occurred to me that Sam is too good a character to drop. There will be more tales about Sam Gunn, and maybe even a novel about him. But that's for the future. Here's what Sam looked like when I first set my inner eye on him. 
 
The spring-wheeled truck rolled to a silent stop on the Sea of Clouds. The fine dust kicked up by its six wheels floated lazily back to the mare's soil. The hatch to the truck cab swung upward, and a space-suited figure climbed slowly down to the lunar surface, clumped a dozen ponderously careful steps, then turned back toward the truck."Yeah, this is the spot. The transponder's beeping away, all right."Two more figures clambered down from the cab, bulbous and awkward-looking in the bulky space suits. One of them turned a full three hundred sixty degrees, scanning the scene through the gold-tinted visor of the suit's bubble helmet. There was nothing to be seen except the monotonous gray plain, pockmarked by craters like an ancient, savage battlefield that had been petrified into solid stone long eons ago."Christ, you can't even see the ringwall from here!""That's what he wanted--to be out in the open, without a sign of civilization in sight. He picked this spot himself, you know.""Helluva place to want to be buried.""That's what he specified in his will. Come on, let's get to work. I want to get back to Selene City before the sun sets."It was a local joke: the three space-suited workers had more than two hundred hours before sunset.Grunting even in the general lunar gravity, they slid the coffin from the back of the truck and placed it gently on the roiled, dusty ground. Then they winched the four-meter-high crate from the truck and put it down softly next to the coffin. While one of them scoured out a coffin-sized hole in the ground with the blue-white flame of a plasma torch, the other two uncrated the big package."Ready for the coffin," said the worker with the torch.The leader of the trio inspected the grave. The hot plasma had polished the stony ground. The two workers heard him muttering over their helmet earphones as he used a hand laser to check the grave's dimensions. Satisfied, he helped them drag the gold-filagreed coffin to the hole and slide it in."A lot of work to do for a dead man.""He wasn't just any ordinary man.""It's still a lot of work. Why in hell couldn't he be recycled like everybody else?""Sam Gunn," said the leader, "never did things like everybody else. Not in his whole cussed long life. Why should he be like the rest of us in death?"They chattered back and forth through their suit radios as they uncrated the big package. Once they had removed all theplastic and the bigger-than-life statue stood sparkling in the sunlight, they stepped back and gaped at it."It's glass!""Christ, I never saw anything so damned big.""Must have cost a fortune to get it here. Two fortunes!""He had it done at Island One, I hear. Brought the sculptor up from Earthside and paid him enough to keep him at L-4 for two whole years. God knows how many times he tried to cast a statue this big and failed.""I didn't know you could make a glass statue so big.""In zero gee you can. It's hollow. If we were in air, I could ping it with my finger and you'd hear it ring.""Crystal.""That's right."One of the workers, the young man, laughed softly."What's so funny?" the leader asked."Who else but Sam Gunn would have the gall to erect a crystal statue to himself and then have it put out in the middle of this godforsaken emptiness, where nobody's ever going to see it. It's a monument to himself, for himself. What ego! What monumental ego."The leader chuckled, too. "Yeah. Sam had an ego, all right. But he was a smart little guy, too.""You knew him?" the young woman asked."Sure. Knew him well enough to tell you that he didn't pick this spot for his tomb just for the sake of his ego. He was smarter than that.""What was he like?""When did you know him?""Come on, we've still got work to do. He wants the statue positioned exactly as he stated in his will, with its back toward Selene and the face looking up toward Earth.""Yeah, okay, but when did you know him, huh?""Oh golly, years ago. Decades ago. When the two of us were just young pups. The first time either of us came here, back in--Lord, it's thirty years ago. More.""Tell us about it. Was he really the hero that the history tapes say he was? Did he really do all the things they say?" asked the young woman."He was a phony!" the young man snapped. "Everybodyknows that. A helluva showman, sure, but he never did half the stuff he took credit for. Nobody could have, not in one lifetime.""He lived a pretty intense life," said the leader. "If it hadn't been for a faulty suit valve he'd still be running his show from here to Titan.""A showman. That's what he was. No hero.""What was he like?" the young woman repeated.So, while the two youngsters struggled with the huge, fragile crystal statue, the older man sat himself on the lip of the truck's cab hatch and told them what he knew about the first time Sam Gunn came to the Moon. 
The skipper used the time-honored cliché. He said, "Houston, we have a problem here."There were eight of us, the whole crew of Artemis IV, huddled together in the command module. After six weeks of living on the Moon, the module smelled like a pair of unwashed gym socks. With a woman President, the space agency figured it would be smart to name the second round of lunar explorations after a female: Artemis was Apollo's sister. Get it?But it had just happened that the computer who picked the crew selections for Artemis IV picked all men. Six weeks without even the sight of a woman, and now our blessed-be-to-god return module refused to light up. We were stranded. No way to get back home.As usual, capcom in Houston was the soul of tranquility. "Ah, A-IV, we read you and copy that the return module is no-go. The analysis team is checking the telemetry. We will get back to you soonest."It didn't help that capcom, that shift, was Sandi Hemmings, the woman we all lusted after. Among the eight of us, we must have spent enough energy dreaming about cornering Sandi in zero gravity to propel each of us right back to Houston. Unfortunately, dreams have a very low specific impulse, and we were still stuck on the Moon, a quarter-million miles from the nearest woman.Sandi played her capcom duties strictly by the book, especially since all our transmissions were taped for later review.She kept the traditional Houston poker face, but managed to say, "Don't worry, boys. We'll figure it out and get you home."Praise God for small favors.We had spent hours checking and rechecking the cursed return module. It was engineer's hell: everything checked but nothing worked. The thing just sat there like a lump of dead metal. No electrical power. None. Zero. The control board just stared at us as cold and glassy-eyed as a banker listening to your request for an unsecured loan. We had pounded it. We had kicked it. In our desperation we had even gone through the instruction manual, page by page, line by line. Zip. Zilch. The bird was dead.When Houston got back to us, six hours after the skipper's call, it was the stony, unsmiling image of the mission coordinator who glowered at us as if we had deliberately screwed up the return module. He told us:"We have identified the problem, Artemis IV. The return module's main electrical power supply has malfunctioned."That was like telling Othello that he was a Moor."We're checking out bypasses and other possible fixes," Old Stone Face went on. "Sit tight, we'll get back to you."The skipper gave him a patient sigh. "Yes, sir.""We're not going anywhere," said a whispered voice. Sam Gunn's, I was certain.The problem, we finally discovered, was caused by a micrometeoroid, no less. A little grain of sand that just happened to roam through the solar system for four and a half billion years and then decided to crash-dive itself right into the main fuel cell of our return module's power supply. It was so tiny that it didn't do any visible damage to the fuel cell; just hurt it enough to let it discharge electrically for most of the six weeks we had been on the Moon. And the other two fuel cells, sensing the discharge through the module's idiot computer, tried to recharge their partner for six weeks. The result: all three of them were dead and gone by the time we needed them.It was Sam who discovered the pinhole in the fuel cell, the eighteenth time we checked out the power supply. I can remember his exact words, once he realized what had happened:"Shit!"Sam was a feisty little guy who would have been too short for astronaut duty if the agency hadn't lowered the height requirements so that women could join the corps. He was a good man, a whiz with a computer and a born tinkerer who liked to rebuild old automobiles and then race them on the abandoned freeways whenever he could scrounge up enough old-fashioned petrol to run them. The Terror of Clear Lake, we used to call him. The Texas Highway Patrol had other names for him. So did the agency administrators; they cussed near threw him out of the astronaut corps at least half a dozen times.But we all loved Sam, back in those days, as we went through training and then blasted off for our first mission to the Moon. He was funny, he kept us laughing. And he did the things and said the things that none of us had the guts to do or say.The skipper loved Sam a little less than the rest of us, especially after six weeks of living in each other's dirty laundry. Sam had a way of almost defying any order he received; he reacted very poorly to authority figures. Our skipper, Lord love him, was as stiff-backed an old-school authority figure as any of them. He was basically a good Joe, and I'm cursed if I can remember his real name. But his big problem was that he had memorized the rule book and tried never to deviate from it.Well, anyway, there we were, stranded on the lunar surface after six weeks of hard work. Our task had been to make a semi-permanent underground base out of the prefabricated modules that had been, as the agency quaintly phrased it, "landed remotely on the lunar regolith in a series of carefully-coordinated unmanned logistics missions." In other words, they had dropped nine different module packages over a fifty-square-kilometer area of Mare Nubium and we had to find them all, drag them to the site that Houston had picked for Base Gamma, set them up properly, scoop up enough of the top layers of soil to cover each module and the connecting tunnels to a depth of 0.3048 meter (that's one foot, in English), and then link in the electric power reactor and all the wiring, plumbing, heating and air circulation units. Which wehad done, adroitly and efficiently, and now that our labors were finished and we were ready to leave--no go. Too bad we couldn't have covered the return module with 0.3048 meter of lunar soil; that would have protected the fuel cells from that sharpshooting micrometeoroid.The skipper decided it would be bad procedure to let us mope around and brood."I want each of you to run a thorough inventory of all your personal supplies: the special foods you've brought with you, your spare clothing, entertainment kits, the works.""That'll take four minutes," Sam muttered, loud enough for us all to hear him. The eight of us were crammed into the command module, eight guys squeezed into a space built for three, at most. It was barely high enough to stand in, and the metal walls and ceiling always felt cold to the touch. Sam was pressed in with the guys behind me; I was practically touching noses with the skipper. The guys in back giggled at his wisecrack. The skipper scowled."Goddammit, Gunn, can't you behave seriously for even a minute? We've got a real problem here.""Yessir," Sam replied. If he hadn't been squeezed in so tightly, I'm sure he would have saluted. "I'm merely attempting to keep morale high, sir."The skipper made an unhappy snorting noise, and then told us that we would spend the rest of the shift checking out all the supplies that were left: not just our personal stuff, but the mission's supplies of food, the nuclear reactor, the water recirculation system, equipment of all sorts, air ...We knew it was busywork, but we had nothing else to do. So we wormed our way out of the command module and crawled through the tunnels toward the other modules that we had laid out and then covered with bulldozed soil. It was a neat little buried base we had set up, for later explorers to use. I got a sort of claustrophobic feeling, just then, that this buried base might turn into a mass grave for eight astronauts.I was dutifully heading back for barracks module A, where four of us had our bunks and personal gear, to check out my supplies as the skipper had ordered. Sam snaked up beside me. Those tunnels, back in those days, were prefabricated Earthside to be laid out once we got to the construction site. Ithink they were designed by midgets. You couldn't stand up in them; they were too low. You had to really crawl along on hands and knees if you were my size. Sam was able to shuffle through them with bent knees, knuckle-walking like a miniature gorilla. He loved the tunnels."Hey, wait up," he hissed to me.I stopped."Whattaya think will get us first, the air giving out or we starve to death?"He was grinning cheerfully. I said, "I think we're going to poison our air with methane. We'll fart ourselves to death in another couple of days."Sam's grin widened. "C'mon ... I'm setting up a pool on the computer. I hadn't thought of air pollution. You wanna make a bet on that?" He started to King-Kong down the shaft to the right, toward the computer and life-support module. If I had had the space, I would have shrugged. Anyway, I followed him there.Three of the other guys were in the computer module, huddled around the display screen like Boy Scouts around a campfire."Why aren't you checking out the base's supplies, like the skipper said?" I asked them."We are, Straight Arrow," replied Mickey Lee, our refugee from Chinatown. He tapped the computer screen. "Why go sorting through all that junk when the computer has it already listed in alphabetical order for us?"That wasn't what the skipper wanted, and we all knew it, but Mickey was right. Why bother with busywork? We wrote down lists that would keep the skipper happy. By hand. If we had let the computer print out the lists, Skip would have gotten wise to us right away.While we scribbled away, copying what was on the screen, we talked over our basic situation."Why the hell can't we use the nuke to recharge the fuel cells?" Julio Marx asked. He was our token Puerto Rican Jew, a tribute to the agency's Equal Opportunity policy. Julio was also a crackerjack structural engineer who had saved my life the day I had started to unfasten my helmet in thebarracks module just when one of those blessed prefab tunnels had cracked its airlock seal. But that's another story.Sam gave Julio a sorrowful stare. "The two systems are incompatible, Jules." Then, with a grin, Sam launched into the phoniest Latin accent you ever heard. "The nuclear theeng, man, it got too many volts for the fuel cells. Like, you plug the nukie to the fuel cells, man, you make a beeg boom and we all go to dat big San Juan in thee sky. You better steek to plucking chickens, man, an' leave the electreecity alone."Julio, who towered a good inch and a half over Sam, grinned back at him and answered, "Okay, Shorty, I dig.""Shorty! Shorty!" Sam's face went red. "All right, that's it. The hell with the betting pool. I'm gonna let you guys all die of boredom. Serve you right."We made a big fuss and soothed his feathers and cajoled him into setting up the pool. With a great show of hurt feelings and reluctant but utterly selfless nobility, Sam pushed Mickey Lee out of the chair in front of the computer terminal and began playing the keyboard like a virtuoso pianist. Within a few minutes the screen was displaying a list of possible ways for us to die, with Sam's swiftly calculated odds next to each entry. At the touch of a button, the screen displayed a graph, showing how the odds for each mode of dying changed as time went on.Suffocation, for example, started off as less than a one percent possibility. But within a month the chances began to rise fairly steeply. "The air scrubbers need replacement filters," Sam explained, "and we'll be out of them inside of two more weeks.""They'll have us out of here in two weeks, for Christ's sake," Julio said."Or drop fresh supplies for us," said Ron Avery, the taciturn pilot whom we called Cowboy because of his lean, lanky build and his slow Western drawl."Those are the odds," Sam snapped. "The computer does not lie. Pick your poison and place your bets."I put fifty bucks down on Air Contamination, not telling the other guys about my earlier conversation with Sam. Julio took Starvation, Mickey settled on Dehydration (Lack of Water), and Ron picked Murder--which made me shudder."What about you, Sam?" I asked."I'll wait 'til the other guys have a chance," he said."You gonna let the skipper in on this?" Julio asked.Sam shook his head. "If I tell him ...""I'll tell him," Ron volunteered, with a grim smile. "I'll even let him have Murder, if he wants it. I can always switch to Suicide.""Droll fellow," said Sam.Well, you probably read about the mission in your history tapes. Houston was supporting three separate operations on the Moon at the same time, and they were stretched to the limit down there. Old Stone Face promised us a rescue flight in a week. But they had a problem with the booster when they tried to rush things on the pad too much, and the blessed launch had to be pushed back a week, and then another week. They sent an unmanned supply craft to us, but the descent stage got gummed up, so our fresh food, air filters, water supply and other stuff just orbited over us about fifty miles up.Sam calculated the odds of all these foul-ups and came to the conclusion that Houston was working overtime to kill us. "Must be some sort of an experiment," he told me. "Maybe they need some martyrs to make people more aware of the space program."We learned afterward that Houston was in deep trouble because of us. The White House was firing people left and right, Congressional committees were gearing up to investigate the fiasco, and the CIA was checking out somebody's crackbrained idea that the Russians were behind all our troubles.Meanwhile, we were stranded on the Mare Nubium with nothing much to do but let our beards grow and hope for sinus troubles that would cut off our ability to sense odors.Old Stone Face was magnificent, in his unflinching way. He was on the line to us every day, despite the fact that his superiors in Houston and Washington were either being fired directly by the President himself or roasted over the simmering coals of media criticism. There must have been a zillion reporters at Mission Control by the second week of our marooning; we could feel the hubbub and tension whenever we talked with Stony."The countdown for your rescue flight is proceeding on an accelerated schedule," he told us. It would never occur to him to say We're hurrying as fast as we can. "Liftoff is now scheduled for 0700 hours on the twenty-fifth."None of us needed to look at a calendar to know that the twenty-fifth was seventeen days away. Sam's betting pool was looking more serious every hour. Even the skipper had finally taken a plunge: Suffocation.If it weren't for Sandi Hemmings we might have all gone crazy. She took over as capcom during the night shift, when most of the reporters and the agency brass were asleep. She gave us courage and the desire to pull through, partly just by smiling at us and looking female enough to make us want to survive, but mainly by giving us the straight info with no nonsense."They're in deep trouble over at Canaveral," she would tell us. "They've had to go to triple shifts and call up boosters that they didn't think they would need until next year. Some senator in Washington is yelling that we ought to ask the Russians or the Japanese to help out.""As if either of them had upper stages that could make it to the Moon and back," one of our guys muttered."Well," Sandi said, with her brightest smile, "you'll all be heroes when you finally get back here. The girls will be standing in line to admire you.""You won't have to stand in line, Sandi," Ron Avery answered, in a rare burst of words. "You'll always be first with us."The others crowded into the command module added their heartfelt agreement.Sandi laughed, undaunted by the prospect of the eight of us grabbing for her. "I hope you shave first," she said.A night or two later she spent hours reading to us the suggestions made by the Houston medical team on how to stretch out our dwindling supplies of food, water and air. They boiled down to one basic rule: lie down and don't exert yourselves. Great advice, especially when you're beginning to really worry that you're not going to make it through this mess. Just what we needed to do, lie back in our bunks and do nothing but think.I caught a gleam in Sam's eye, though, as Sandi waded through the medics' report. The skipper asked her to send the report through our computer printer. She did, and he spent the next day reading and digesting it. Sam spent that day--well, I couldn't figure out where he'd gotten to. I just didn't see him all day long, and Base Gamma really wasn't big enough to hide in, even for somebody as small as Sam.After going through the medics' recommendations, the skipper ordered us to take tranquilizers. We had a scanty supply of downers in the base pharmaceutical stores, and Skip divided them equally among us. At the rate of three a day, they would last four days, with four pills left over. About as useful as a cigaret lighter in hell, but the skipper played it by the book and ordered us to start gobbling tranquilizers."They will ease our anxieties and help us to remain as quiet as possible while we wait for the rescue mission," he told us.He didn't bother to add that the rescue mission, according to Sandi's unofficial word, was still twelve days off. We would be out of food in three more days, and the recycled water was starting to taste as if it hadn't been recycled, if you know what I mean. The air was getting foul, too, but that was probably just our imaginations.Sam appeared blithely unconcerned, even happy. He whistled cheerfully as Skip rationed out the tranquilizers, then scuttled off down the tunnel that led toward our barracks module. By the time I got to my bunk, Sam was nowhere in sight. His whistling was gone. So was his pressure suit.He had gone out on the surface? For what? To increase his radiation dose? To get away from the rest of us? That was probably it. Underneath his wise-guy shell, Sam was probably as worried and tense as any of us, and he just didn't want us to know it. He needed some solitude, and what better place to get it than the airless rocky expanse of Mare Nubium?That's what I thought, so I didn't go out after him.The same thing happened the next "morning" (by which I mean the time immediately after our sleep shift), and the next. The skipper would gather us together in the command module, we would each take our ceremonial tranquilizer pilland a sip of increasingly bad water, and then we would crawl back to our bunks and try to do nothing that would use up body energy or air. I found myself resenting it whenever I had to go to the toilet; I kept imagining my urine flowing straight into our water tank without reprocessing. I guess I was beginning to go crazy.But Sam was as happy as could be: chipper, joking, laughing it up. He would disappear each morning for several hours, and then show up again with a lopsided grin on his face, telling jokes and making us all feel a little better.Until Julio suddenly sat up in his bunk, the second or third morning after we had run out of tranquilizers, and shouted:"Booze!"Sam had been sitting on the edge of Julio's bunk, telling an outrageous story of what he planned to do with Sandi once we got back to Houston."Booze!" Julio repeated. "I smell booze! I'm cracking up. I'm losing my marbles."For once in his life, Sam looked apologetic, almost ashamed."No you're not," he said to Julio, in as quiet a voice as I've ever heard Sam speak. "I was going to tell you about it tomorrow--the stuff is almost ready for human consumption."You never saw three grown men so suddenly attentive.With a self-deprecating little grin, Sam explained, "I've been tinkering with the propellants and other junk out in the return module. They're not doing us any good, just sitting out there. So I made a small still. Seems to be working okay. I tasted a couple sips today. It'll take the enamel off your teeth, but it's not all that bad. By tomorrow ... ."He never got any further. We did a Keystone Kops routine, rushing for our space suits, jamming ourselves through the airlock and running out to the inert, idle, cussedly useless return module.Sam was not kidding us. He had jury-rigged an honest-to-backwoods still inside the return module, fueling it with propellants from the module's tanks. The basic alcohol also came from the propellant, with water from the fuel cells, and a few other ingredients that Sam had scrounged from miscellaneous supplies.We lost no time pressurizing the module, lifting our helmetvisors, and sampling his concoction. It was terrible. We loved it.By the time we had staggered back to our barracks module, laughing and belching, we had made up our minds to let the other three guys in barracks B share in Sam's juice. But the skipper was a problem. Once he found out about it, he'd have Sam up on charges and drummed out of the agency, even before the rescue mission reached us. Old Stone Face would vote to leave Sam behind, I knew, if he found out about it."Have no fear," Sam told us, with a giggle. "I will, myself, reveal my activities to our noble skipper."And before we could stop him, he had tottered off toward the command module, whistling in a horribly sour off-key way.An hour went by. Then two. We could hear Skip's voice yelling from the command module, although we couldn't make out the words. None of us had the guts to go down the tunnel and try to help Sam. After a while the tumult and the shouting died. Mickey Lee gave me a questioning glance. Silence; ominous silence."You think Skip's killed him?" he asked."More likely," said Julio, "that Sam's talked the skipper to death."Timidly, we slunk down the tunnel to the command module. The other three guys were there with Sam and the skipper; they were all quaffing Sam's rocket juice and grinning at each other.We were shocked, but we joined right in. Six days later, when the guys from Base Alpha landed their return module crammed with food and fresh water for us, we invited them to join the party. A week after that, when the rescue mission from Canaveral finally showed up, we had been under the influence for so long that we told them to go away.I had never realized before then what a lawyer Sam was. He had convinced the skipper to read the medics' report carefully, especially the part where they recommended using tranquilizers to keep us calm and minimize our energy consumption. Sam had then gotten the skipper to punch up the medical definition of alcohol's effects on the body, out of Houston's medical files. Sure enough, if you squinted theright way, you could claim that alcohol was a sort of tranquilizer. That was enough justification for the skipper, and we just about pickled ourselves until we got rescued. 
The crystal statue glittered under the harsh rays of the unfiltered sun. The work leader, still sitting on the lip of the truck's hatch, said:"It looks beautiful. You guys did a good job. Is the epoxy set?""Needs another few minutes," said the young man, tapping the toe of his boot against the base that they had poured on the lunar plain."What happened when you got back to Houston?" the young woman asked. "Didn't they get angry at you for being drunk?""Sure," said the leader. "But what could they do? Sam's booze pulled us through, and we could show that we were merely following the recommendations of the medics. Old Stone Face hushed it all up and we became heroes, just like Sandi told us we would be--for about a week.""And Sam?""He left the astronaut corps for a while and started his own business. The rest you know about from the history books. Hero, showman, scoundrel, patriot. It's all true. He was all those things.""Did he and Sandi ever, uh . . get together?" the young man asked."She was too smart to let him corner her. She used one of the other guys to protect her; married him, finally. Cowboy, I think it was. They eloped and spent their honeymoon in orbit. Zero gee and all that. Sam pretended to be very upset about it, but by that time he was surrounded by women, all of them taller than he was."The three of them walked slowly around the gleaming statue."Look at the rainbows it makes where the sun hits it," said the young woman. "It's marvelous.""But if he was so smart," said the young man, "why'd he pick this spot 'way out here for his grave? It's miles from Selene City. You can't even see the statue from the city.""Silly. This is the place where Base Gamma was," said the young woman. "Isn't that right?""No," the leader said. "Gamma was all the way over on the other side of Nubium. It's still there. Abandoned, but still there. Even the blasted return module is still sitting there, as dumb as ever.""Then why put the statue here?"The leader chuckled. "Sam was a pretty shrewd guy. He set up, in his will, a tourist agency that will guide people to the important sites on the Moon. They start at Selene City and go along the surface in those big cruisers that're being built back at the city. Sam's tomb is going to be a major tourist attraction, and he wanted it far enough out in the mare so that people wouldn't be able to see it from Selene; they have to buy tickets and take the bus."Both the young people laughed tolerantly."I guess he was pretty smart, at that," the young man confessed."And he had a long memory, too," said the leader. "He left this tourist agency to me and the other guys from Artemis IV, in his will. We own it. I figure it'll keep me comfortable for the rest of my life.""Why did he do that?"The leader shrugged inside his cumbersome suit. "Why did he build that still? Sam always did what he darned well felt like doing. No matter what you think of him, he always remembered his friends."The three of them gave the crystal statue a final admiring glance, then clumped back to the truck and started the hourlong drive to Selene City.Copyright © 1986 by Ben Bova
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)