Read by Amy Bruce
Originally Published in
Science Fiction Magazine
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
When "A Walk in the Sun" was first published, it received a Hugo Award for Best Short Story (although the cover of the tape proclaims it a "Nebula Award Winner." Landis won the Nebula for "Ripples in the Dirac Sea." The back of the package also claims "A Walk in the Sun" won a Nebula, but this is not the case.) so the story told on this tape is of award-winning caliber.
Amy Bruce's voice is pleasant to listen to and she reads the story well. The addition of music, both scored and piano, adds nicely to the tension as Patricia Mulligan tries to survive on the moon following the crash of her cislunar ship and the death of her two comrades. The only technical flaw with the production is the sound levels seem to be set wrong. When Bruce whispers or lowers her voice, she becomes inaudible if the tape is played at a normal volume. Similarly, if the volume is set high enough to hear whispers, the music will be too loud.
Although Landis's story has an intriguing premise, Mulligan must remain in the area of sunlight on the moon for thirty days, or one revolution, until a rescueship can reach the moon, the solution offered by Landis seems a little far-fetched. The issues raised in "A Walk in the Sun" are extremely timely, given the current (at the time of this writing) conditions aboard the Mir space station.
Landis also sets up a complex relationship between Mulligan and her dead sister Karen, who keeps her company on her trek. Although the interludes between Mulligan and Karen seem to be simply memories at first, when Mulligan begins to learn new things about her sister, it is not clear whether she is merely hallucinating or actually holding a conversation with the spirit of her deceased sibling.
All in all, the tape is relatively easy to listen to and the story raises some interesting points. It would have been nice if Landis could have included something of an explanation for Mulligan's posthumous conversations or explained the success of her vigil in more realistic, or at least believable terms, but "A Walk in the Sun" is still a story which deserves to be read. Or heard.
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