Wednesday, June 30, 2010

“The Martian Spy” 1908 short story by German SF writer Carl Grunert

If you’re deft enough to navigate the preview section of the Google Books project, you can read “The Martian Spy” (“Der Marsspion”), a 1908 short story by German science fiction writer Carl Grunert (1865-1918) that was published in The Black Mirror & Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Germany & Austria (2008). “The Martian Spy” revolves around a photographic technician who works in an observatory and has only four fingers. The opening lines:


“Here’s one of the photos of Mars we took yesterday,” said Lampland, one of the assistants, as he came out of the darkroom and showed Mr. Lowell, the director of the observatory, a plate that had just been developed.

“The first or the second?” Lowell asked, taking the still-wet plate carefully by the edges and holding it up to the light.

“The first. But the new technician will soon have the second ready, it’s in the fixer now...."

The Black Mirror & Other Stories was reviewed by British SF writer and critic Adam Roberts in 2009 for Strange Horizons. Sadly, Roberts neglected to mention “The Martian Spy.”

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