The day began, like all days in Port Lowell. Jimmy and Gibson had a quiet breakfast. Jimmy did not yet recover from happiness, although at times he fell into despondency at the thought of separation. And Gibson was thinking about whether the Earth had responded to his request.
He noticed that something was wrong, only in control. Mrs. Smith, Hadfield's secretary, met him. Usually she would let him go right away, sometimes explaining that Hadfield was terribly busy (for example, talking to Earth), and asked if he would come back later. This time she said:
- Excuse me, Mr. Hadfield is not and will not be until tomorrow.
- Till tomorrow? Gibson asked. - Left for Schiaparelli?
- No. I can not tell you. He will be in a day.
- So! Gibson exclaimed angrily and went out.
To divert his soul, he decided to take on Whittaker, if he was in the city, of course. He ended up in the city and was not very happy with Gibson, who resolutely sat down in front of him with the most businesslike look.
“That's what, Whittaker,” Martin began. - I am a patient person and, it seems, do not bother with questions.
The mayor did not answer, and Gibson hastened to continue:
“Something strange is going on here.” I want to find out what the matter is.
Whittaker sighed. He expected that sooner or later this would happen. What a pity that Gibson did not wait until tomorrow! ..
“If you can't say,” Gibson went on, “admit at least why.” Is this the Dawn project?
Whittaker straightened up sharply.
- What did you say? - he asked.
- Never mind. I also know how to be stubborn.
“I wouldn't want to be stubborn at all,” Whittaker said plaintively. “Do not think that we love secrecy,” she said, with so much trouble. Better tell what you know.
“I'll tell you if this will soften you.” The Zarya project is somehow connected with the laboratories where these ... Oxyfera. There is no reason to keep them secret. We have to assume that this is part of a larger project. I suspect that Phobos is involved, but I can’t understand how. You managed to keep everything a big secret. Those who know do not say anything. But you are not hiding so much from Mars as from Earth. Well, what do you say?
Whittaker, apparently, was not at all embarrassed:
“I must congratulate you on such ... er ... insight.” Maybe you will be interested to know that two weeks ago I advised the Chief to tell you everything. I did not convince him, and then events unfolded much faster than we thought. I can’t tell you what is happening right now. Want to listen to an entertaining story? Similarity to - hmm! - by famous people and places purely random.
“I see,” Gibson chuckled. - Go ahead!
- Suppose that in the first burst of interplanetary enthusiasm, planet A established a colony on planet B. After a few years, she finds out that it costs much more than they thought, and does not give tangible results in return. The conservatives of the first planet want to curtail business - write off losses and exit the game. Others, progressives, want to continue the experiment - they believe that ultimately a person must explore and subjugate the Universe, otherwise he will simply become numb in his world. But such arguments do not touch taxpayers, and conservatives begin to gain the upper hand.
Of course, all this is not very pleasant for the colonists, who are more and more independent and do not want to play the role of poor relatives awaiting mercy. However, they do not see a way out - until the day when an amazing scientific discovery is made. (I forgot to say that Planet B lured the best scientists of Planet A to itself, which did not help soften relations.) This discovery provides unlimited possibilities for Planet B, but its use is associated with some risk and will absorb most of the very limited resources. Nevertheless, the plan was sent to the authorities - and rejected. The squabble lasts a long time, but the mother planet is inflexible.
The colonists have two options. They can turn directly to the inhabitants of planet A. This is not very promising - they can shut their mouths. On the other hand, you can implement your plan without informing the Earth - I want to say Planet A. So they decide to do it.
Of course, there were many other factors, both political and personal.
It so happened that at the head of the colonists stood an unusually solid man who was not afraid of anyone and nothing on both planets. First-class scientists were at his disposal, and they supported him.
Thus, the plan began to develop; but no one yet knows if anything worthwhile will come of it. Forgive me for not being able to tell you the end - you yourself know, these tales break off at the most interesting place.
“You told me everything,” Gibson said. - Yes, everything, with a negligible exception. I don’t know what the Dawn project is. - He got up. “Tomorrow I will return to listen to the end of your sensational news.”
“There will be no need for that,” Whittaker answered and mechanically glanced at his watch. “You will find out long before that.”
On the street, Jimmy intercepted Martin.
“They think I'm working now,” he said barely, “but I had to catch you.” Something important is happening.
“I know,” Gibson almost waved off. “The Dawn project is about to take off, and Hadfield has left.
Jimmy was a little taken aback.
- I did not think you heard. Irene is very worried.
Two guests now lived in the Bolshaya Martsianskaya hotel, and the staff had to tight. The Ares team settled in private homes, but Jimmy did not know anyone and decided to take advantage of the city’s hospitality. Gibson never decided whether it was good or bad. He did not want to place an extra burden on their beginning friendship; he knew that if Jimmy would see him too often, the results could be the most disastrous.
He remembered how his best friend once said: "Martin is a wonderful person if you rarely see him." This was true enough to hurt him, and he did not want to repeat such an experience.
Now his life in Port Lowell has entered a rather boring rut.
In the morning he worked, in the afternoon he walked and talked with the residents. Sometimes Jimmy went with him, and once the whole Ares team went to the hospital to see how Dr. Scott and his comrades defeated Martian fever. It was still difficult to draw conclusions, but Scott was optimistic. “We would have a pretty epidemic,” he said, rubbing his hands, “then we would have checked everything.” There are not enough cases. ”
Jimmy walked with Gibson for two reasons. Firstly, he was allowed into interesting places where he would not be allowed to go. And secondly, he was really more and more interested in the not entirely clear character of the writer.
Although they saw each other a lot now, they never returned to that conversation. Jimmy knew very well that Gibson really wanted to make friends with him and at least somehow offset the old. He was ready to accept this friendship, and not at all out of sensitivity - he very well understood that Gibson could be useful to him. Like most ambitious young people, Jimmy delighted in thinking about his future, and Gibson would have been unpleasantly amazed if he knew how Jimmy was figuring out the benefits of being friends with him. However, let's not be unfair to Jimmy - these selfish considerations lay on the surface. In fact, he often felt that Gibson was alone, a bachelor approaching old age.
Perhaps he understood, albeit unconsciously, that he was replacing Gibson with a nonexistent son. After all, it’s hard to treat someone who loves you badly.
The incident that turned Jimmy upside down was completely ordinary in itself. One day Jimmy was sad and he went into a small cafe near the office. I chose the wrong time - I just started tea, which for a million kilometers did not lie from Ceylon, as a whole crowd stormed the cafe. A twenty-minute break began when all work stopped on Mars. The chief insisted very much on this break, although everyone with much greater pleasure would have simply left twenty minutes earlier.
Jimmy surrounded a whole detachment of girls who, without any embarrassment, looked at him with menacing tenderness. There were also a few men; but they, driven by a sense of self-defense, sat down at a separate table and, judging by separate, not too polite phrases, continued to struggle with the columns of numbers left for a while. Jimmy thought how to quickly finish his tea and get out.
Opposite him sat a woman in her late forties, a rather austere look - probably the senior secretary. She spoke with a young girl with her back to him. It was very difficult to pass; when Jimmy got up and began to make his way through the narrow passage, stepped on someone's foot, grabbed the table and did not fall, but hit his elbow on the glass lid. In a fit of rage, he forgot that he was not a spaceship, and lightened his soul with selective expressions. Then he blushed terribly, came to himself and began to break free. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that the oldest of the women was trying to resist laughing, and the youngest did not want to try.
And no matter how hard it was for him to later believe in it, he immediately forgot about both.
The next push was accidentally given by Gibson. They talked about how the city grew in recent years, and wondered if it would grow further with the same speed. Gibson spoke about the abnormal age composition of the colony; the fact is that people under the age of twenty-one were not allowed to go to Mars, and because so far there has not been a single resident in the top ten. Jimmy did not listen very carefully, when suddenly one of the phrases brought him to his senses.
“But yesterday,” he said, “I met a girl who was no more than eighteen,” and stopped.
Like a time bomb, the memory of a laughing face worked. He never heard Gibson answer that he must have been mistaken. He knew one thing: no matter who she was or wherever she came from, he must certainly see her.
In a small city like Port Lowell, according to probability theory, everyone must certainly meet everyone. However, Jimmy did not want to wait until these dubious laws lead to a second meeting. The next day, just before the break, he was drinking tea at the same table in a small cafe.
This not very subtle reception inspired him some concern.
Firstly, everything was sewn with white thread; although, after all, why shouldn't he drink tea here if all the management drinks? The second reason was more serious - he was ashamed of yesterday's scene. But his worries were in vain. The amber light came on. Gibson took a sip of water again, cleared his throat quietly, and straightened the papers. Before each, even the shortest, speech on the radio, he had a sore throat. In the control booth, the sound engineer raised a finger. Amber light instantly gave way to ruby.
“Are you listening, Earth?” Says Martin Gibson from the city of Port Lowell, Mars. Today is a big day for us. A new dome was installed, and the city grew by almost half. I don’t know how to tell you what it means to us, what a victory it is in the battle with Mars. Well, I'll try.
You all know that you cannot breathe Martian air. It is very rarefied; there is practically no oxygen in it. Port Lowell, our largest city, is located under six transparent plastic domes.
They are supported by internal air pressure. We breathe perfectly with this air, although it is thinner than yours.
Over the past year, the Seventh Dome has been built, twice as large as any of the former. I visited there yesterday before it began to be filled with air.
Imagine a large circle, five hundred meters across, surrounded by a thick, two human height, wall of glass blocks. It laid passages to other domes and under the open sky. These moves are simply metal pipes with doors that close automatically if air leaks from any dome.
We here on Mars do not want to risk it. When I entered yesterday under the Seventh Dome, the entire huge circle was covered with a thin film. She lay in large folds, and we fumbled under her. Try to imagine that you fell into a run out balloon. This film is a very strong plastic, almost completely transparent and completely flexible, like thick cellophane.
Of course, I had to put on a mask, even though we were cut off from the outside world, because there was no air yet. He began to catch up as quickly as possible, and right before our eyes, the folds began to stir, began to smooth out.
This went on all night. Today, early in the morning, I went again and saw a large bubble in the middle, but the edges were still flat.
A bubble of a hundred meters fluttered like a living and grew all the time.
By mid-morning, it had grown to such an extent that we had already seen the shape of the dome. Plastic never touched the ground. Work was stopped to check for leaks, then again blew until noon. Now the Sun was helping too - warm air was expanding.
Three hours ago, the first phase ended. We took off the masks and yelled.
The air was still thin, but it was: engineers could already work without masks. A few days later they will attach the shell to the stops and check for holes. Some yes, of course, but if the leak is not above the norm, it does not matter.
Well, today we feel that our borders on Mars have slightly moved apart. Soon, houses will be built under the Seventh Dome. We dream of a small park and even a pond - they are not on Mars, because in the open air the water does not stay here for a long time.
Of course, this is the beginning, someday all of this will seem nonsense to us.
But, no matter how you say it, we bit off another slice of Mars. And besides, there is where to resettle another thousand people. Can you hear me earth Goodnight!
The ruby light went out. Gibson sat for a minute, staring into the microphone and reflecting on the fact that his first words, although transmitted at the speed of light, were only now reaching Earth. Then he collected the papers and went to the control booth.
Female engineer holding a telephone receiver.
“You are being asked, Mr. Gibson,” she said. - Someone responded very quickly.
“Indeed,” he grinned. - Hello!
- Says Headfield. Thanks. I listened to you, because we, too, were transmitted.
“I'm glad you liked it.”
Headfield cleared his throat.
- You probably guessed that I read your previous correspondence. It was very interesting to watch how your attitude changes ...
- How is this changing?
“You used to say 'they,' and now you are.” - He did not give Gibson an answer and continued in the same breath:
- And I'm calling for one more reason. I made you a trip to Schiaparelli. On Friday, there is a passenger plane. There is a place for three. Whittaker will tell you more. Goodnight!
The phone rang. Flattered, Gibson hung up the phone thoughtfully.
The chief told the truth, a lot has changed in this month. Boyish excitement lasted several days; disappointment - a little longer. Now he knew enough to treat the colony with moderate enthusiasm, which did not quite yield to logic.
He was afraid to analyze it, so as not to frighten him away. He knew that he more and more respected the local people, admired their knowledge, simplicity, courage, thanks to which they not only survived in this to the disgust of the hostile world, but also laid the foundations of the first extraterrestrial culture. And he wanted to become one of them, no matter what this led to.
In the meantime, he had the chance to see Mars. On Friday, he will travel to Port Schiaparelli, which is a thousand kilometers east, at the Charon Crossroads. The trip was planned two weeks ago, but was put off all the time. We must warn Jimmy and Hilton. Maybe Jimmy is now not so eager to go there. When Gibson woke up, the sun had already risen. It was still hiding behind the rocks, but the rays reflected from the red stone illuminated the cabin with an unearthly, sinister light. Martin reached out with difficulty - it was very uncomfortable to sleep in this chair - then he looked around and saw that there was no Hilton and no pilot. Jimmy was fast asleep. Others probably got up early and went on reconnaissance. Gibson was a little offended that he was not taken; but he immediately realized that he would have been offended even more if he had been awakened.
In a prominent place was a note pinned from Hilton:
“We left at 6:30. We’ll be back in an hour. We will be hungry. Fred".
The hint was clear, and he himself wanted to eat. He began to delve into the stocks of products, wondering how long they would last. His attempts to brew coffee in a small boiler woke up Jimmy. He saw that he was the last to wake up.
- How did you sleep? Gibson asked, looking for cups.
- Great! Said Jimmy, combing his hair with his fingers. - As if I hadn’t slept for a week. Where are the others?
And then he received an answer - something tinkled in the air chamber.
Hilton appeared, followed by the pilot. They quickly pulled off their masks and warming suits - it was still cold outside - and rushed at the chocolate and pressed meat, which Gibson divided into perfectly even portions.
- Well? Gibson asked, not without excitement. - What is the verdict?
“One thing I can say for sure,” said the Hilton between two pieces, “thank you for being alive!”
“I know that.”
“You don't even know half.” You have not seen where we descended.
Would turn two degrees to the right - and that’s it! When we sat down, we dragged forward a little, but, as you can see, we did not hurt ourselves. Here, to the west and east is a large valley. At first I thought it was a river bed, but rather it seemed like a shift. The rocks opposite us are a hundred meters high and completely sheer, they even somehow hang at the top. Maybe somewhere further and you can climb - we have not tried. Yes and no reason. If we want to get into the field of vision of Phobos, we need to go a little to the north, there the chain breaks. In my opinion, it would be necessary to pull the plane there. Then we could radiate, and with a telescope or from the air it would be easier to detect us.
- And how much does he weigh? Gibson asked doubtfully.
- Thirty tons. Of course, something can be thrown away.
- In no case! - said the pilot. “We cannot lose air.”
- Oh, God, I forgot! Well, the soil is flat and the chassis is fine.
Gibson grunted incredulously: even with a third of the Earth's gravity it was hardly possible to move the plane; but then his attention was distracted by coffee.
When he weakened the pressure in the boiler, the steam was clogged, and for a minute it seemed that they would breathe in gaseous coffee. On Mars, the true torment is to brew coffee and tea - the water boils here for about sixty degrees, and those who forget about it will have a hard time.
A not very tasty, but quite satisfying breakfast ended in silence - each had his own plan. They were not too worried; they knew that they would seek them and liberation is only a matter of time. But this time can be reduced if they contact Phobos.
Then they tried to drag the plane. They pushed him for a long time, pulled him and advanced several meters. We put caterpillars on the chassis, they were stuck in soft soil, and they retreated, panting, into the cab to discuss further actions.
- And we have nothing white? Gibson asked.
But this great idea crashed - they searched for a long time and found only six handkerchiefs and a few rags. Everyone agreed that even under the most favorable conditions, they could not be seen from Phobos.
“One thing remains,” said Hilton. - It is necessary to unscrew the landing lights, tie them to the cable, pull them uphill and direct them to Phobos. It would be better not to do this, of course. It's a pity to spoil a good plane.
Judging by the grim look, the pilot fully shared these feelings. Then Jimmy thought:
- Or maybe build a heliograph? If we direct a mirror at Phobos, maybe they will see it.
“Over six thousand kilometers?” Gibson doubted.
- And what? They have telescopes that magnify more than a thousand times. Wouldn't we see a bunny six kilometers away?
“Something's wrong here, but I don’t know what,” Gibson said. - But in general, a good idea. Does anyone have a mirror?
They searched for a quarter of an hour and found nothing. I had to abandon the idea. There was no mirror on the plane.
“Let's cut off a piece of the wing and polish it,” Hilton said, not quite sure. “Maybe it will.”
“You don't polish it very much.” Magnesium alloy, ”said the pilot, still trying to defend his car.
Hearing the word "magnesium," Gibson jumped up.
- Throw me three times! He shouted.
“With pleasure,” said Hilton, “but why?”
Without answering, Gibson went tail and began to rummage in luggage, his back to interested viewers. He quickly found what he needed and turned:
A flash of unbearable, cutting light illuminated all corners. For a few moments, everyone was blinded, and a booth imprinted on the retina, as if illuminated by lightning.
“I'm sorry,” Gibson said, “I never turned it on full force indoors.” It is for night shooting in the open.
“Hmmm ...” said Hilton, rubbing his eyes. - I thought you quit
- Have gone crazy! - Norden raged (at that moment he looked like an indignant Viking). “Lord, you can't sit there properly.”
Now I’ll connect with the Chief and raise a scandal.
“I wouldn’t connect in your place,” said Bradley. - Have you not noticed? The order is not from the Earth, but directly from the Main. Maybe he loves to command, but without reason he does nothing.
- Name at least one!
“We'll find out soon,” he said.
The next few days, Gibson was busy with his affairs and did not take part in the not-rich events of Ares’s public life.
His conscience seized him, as always, when he had rested for more than a week, and now he worked hard.
He pulled out a typewriter, and she took pride of place in his cabin. Sheets were scattered everywhere — Gibson was not neat — and had to be fastened with straps. Especially a lot of fuss was with a carbon paper - it was pulled into the fan. But Gibson had already settled down in the cabin and famously coped with all the little things. He himself was amazed at how quickly weightlessness becomes life.
It turned out that it is very difficult to convey on paper impressions of space. You can’t write “the cosmos is very large” and calm down on this.
He did not lie in the literal sense of the word; however, those who read his amazing description of the Earth, rolling into the abyss behind the rocket, did not notice that the writer at that time was in a blissful non-existence, which was replaced by no means a blissful being.
He wrote two or three articles that could at least temporarily console his literary agent (she sent radiograms to one another more strictly), and went north to the radio room. Bradley accepted the pages without enthusiasm.
- Will you wear every day? He asked grimly.
- I hope so. But I'm afraid not. Depends on inspiration.
“Here, at the top of page two, there are many participles.”
- Perfectly. I love them very much.
- On the third page you wrote “centrifugal” instead of “centripetal”.
“They pay me for the word, so it's very noble of me to use such long ones, huh?”
- On the fourth page, two phrases in a row begin with "but."
“Will you pass it on or will I try it myself?”
- I would like to see! But seriously - I advise you to use a black tape. Blue is not contrast. So far, the transmitter will cope with this, but when we move on, the letters will be fuzzy.
While they were bickering, Bradley tucked page by page through the transmitter window. Gibson watched in fascination as they disappeared into the womb of the apparatus and after five seconds fell into the basket. It was not easy to imagine that your words were racing in space, every three seconds, moving away for a million kilometers.
He was still picking up his leaves when on the remotes, in the thick of the dials and toggle switches that covered the entire wall of the wheelhouse, the buzzer was buzzing. Bradley rushed to one of his receivers and quickly began to do something incomprehensible. A furious screech erupted from the loudspeaker.
“The courier caught up with us,” Bradley said. - Only he is far. By sight, it will be a hundred thousand kilometers.
- What can be done?
- Very few. I turned on the lighthouse. If the courier catches our signals, he will automatically catch up with us.
- And if you don’t catch?
“Then he will leave the solar system.” He has enough speed to slip away from the sun. We too.
- I am glad. And how much time do we need for this?
- For what?
- To leave the system.
- Two years, probably. Ask Mackay. I can not answer all the questions. I am not a character from your book.
“It's not too late,” Gibson said grimly and swam out of the wheelhouse.
The approach of the courier introduced the necessary variety into the life of Ares. The cheerful carelessness of the first days passed, and the journey was already becoming extremely monotonous. Dr. Scott offered to bet on the courier, but Captain Norden kept the bank. According to Mackay’s calculations, the rocket was supposed to fly about a hundred and twenty-five thousand kilometers with a possible error of plus or minus thirty thousand. Most called close figures, but some pessimists, not trusting Mackay, reached a quarter of a million. They didn’t bet on money, but on more useful things: on cigarettes, sweets and other luxury. They were allowed to take a little flight, and all this was valued much more than pieces of paper with signs. Mackay even brought a bottle of Scotch whiskey to the bank. He said that he didn’t drink, but a fellow countryman who could not fly to Scotland, was taking her to Mars. Nobody believed him - and in vain: something like that it was.
“So the first time upstairs?” - asked the pilot, lazily leaned back in his chair and laid his hands behind his head with carelessness, which did not inspire cheerfulness to the passenger.
“Yes,” said Martin Gibson, not taking his eyes off the chronometer counting seconds.
“So I thought.” You never described it correctly. And why do people write such nonsense! It harms the cause.
“Sorry,” Gibson answered. “I think you're talking about my early stories.” There were no space flights then. I had to invent.
“Maybe, maybe,” the pilot grumbled. (He didn’t look at the instruments, and there were two minutes left before the launch.) - Probably, it’s fun to fly yourself when you wrote about this so many times?
Gibson thought it was unlikely that he himself would have chosen this word, but he understood the pilot’s point of view. Dozens of his heroes - both positive and negative - looked fascinated at the flawless second hand, waiting for the rocket to burst into infinity; and now (as always happens, if you wait long enough), reality has caught up with fiction. In just ninety seconds, it awaits him. You won’t say anything, amusing. So to speak, it is fair from the literary point of view.
The pilot looked at him, understood and smiled affably.
- Watch not be afraid of your own stories.
“I'm not afraid,” Gibson assured with excessive ardor.
“Hmmm ...” the pilot grunted and stooped to look at his watch. The second hand was supposed to make another round. - Only in your place I would not have grabbed at such a seat. You can bend.
Gibson obediently leaned back in his chair.
“Of course,” said the pilot, (he was still calm, but Gibson noticed that now he did not take his eyes off the instruments), “it would not be so nice if it lasted longer ... But the fuel went.” Do not worry, with a vertical start there are interesting things.
Let the chair wobble as he pleases. Close your eyes if you feel better. Be patient. I say: ter-pi-te.
But Martin Gibson did not heed the advice. He had already lost consciousness, although the acceleration had not yet exceeded the acceleration in the high-speed elevator.
He woke up, and he felt ashamed. The sun was beating in his face, and he realized that the protective plate on the shell slid to the side. The light was bright, but not as unbearable as he expected - only part of the rays seeped through the dark glass.
He glanced at the pilot; he leaned over the remote control and busily recorded something in the logbook. It was very quiet, only from time to time it snorted somewhere, and Gibson did not like it. He coughed politely, announcing that he had come to his senses, and asked the pilot what this meant.
“The thermal effect in the engines,” the pilot answered shortly. - The temperature there jumped five thousand degrees, and now they are quickly cooling. Do you feel better?
“I'm fine,” Gibson answered. He really thought so.
- Can I get up?
“You know better,” the pilot said incredulously. “Just be careful.”
Hold on to something solid.
Gibson really felt very good, fun. The minute had come which he had been waiting for his whole life. He is in space! Of course, it is a pity that he missed the launch, but in the articles you can keep silent about this.
For a thousand kilometers the Earth was even larger, but somehow disappointing. He soon realized why. He saw too many space photographs and films and knew what to expect. The clouds, as they were supposed to, slowly moved around the globe. In the center, land and water differed very clearly, and countless details were perfectly visible, and along the edges of the disk everything was lost in dense haze. Even directly below it, much was incomprehensible and therefore pointless. Of course, the meteorologist would be very happy to see from above, from above, a natural weather map; but almost all meteorologists were already sitting on space stations, and under them a view was no worse than that. Gibson was soon tired of looking for cities and other fruits of human activity. It was disgusting to think that for so many millennia human civilization has not been able to significantly change what he saw now.
He looked at the stars and was disappointed again. There were many, many, but all of them seemed pale, dull ghosts of that sparkling placer that he was thinking to see. He knew that dark glass was to blame - protecting from the sun, it stole the beauty of stars.
Gibson was even angry. In only one respect did his hopes come true - it was nice to know that you could soar, if you push your finger off the walls; although there was clearly not enough space for bold experiments. Now that special pills have been invented and space sickness is a thing of the past, weightlessness has become beautiful, like in a fairy tale.
He was glad about it. How his heroes suffered! He recalled Robin Blake’s first flight in the full version of Martian Dust. He wrote this book under the strong influence of Lawrence. (It would be interesting to somehow compile a list of authors under whose influence he was not.) No doubt, no one better described Lawrence's physiological processes. And Gibson quite consciously decided to fight him with his own weapon. He devoted a whole chapter of cosmic illness, described all its symptoms: at first you are nauseous, but nausea can still be