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Off-Road (Short Review)

Off-Road is a great day-in-the-life of two men working on Mars, trying to make it to the end of the shift. Lang’s narrative is filled with humorous banter and near-death experiences as the characters traverse the martian landscape. There’s a lot going on in this future, and it was fun to tag along for the ride.


Harry Lang
Analog Science Fact & Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue


What starts out as a typical delivery day almost turns deadly as they head to a scientific site to drop off a package. Going off-road is precarious at best, and downright deadly much of the time. Off-Road goes from laid back to intense quickly, giving a solid portrayal of the unstable weather conditions found on Mars. There’s also the added bonus of a hint at possible alien life. It’s not delved into much, but it adds a bit of intrigue at the end. I’d be interested in reading more about this version of the future.


We follow two characters, both born on Earth, both with different goals in life. The older explorer seems content to be on Mars, doing his job delivering goods to various settlements. He’s nostalgic for his home in Texas, but doesn’t express a desire to return. The younger man has an epiphany at the end that decides the direction his life will take. He starts out unsure of his future on Mars, confident he’ll be back on Earth in no time. It only takes a day with some wild events to convince him otherwise. They’re both level-headed in a crisis situation, with realistic dialogue and some funny moments as they banter back and forth.


Off-Road takes place on Mars in a future where multiple settlements have popped up on the planet, requiring shipping lanes to be developed between sites. It’s assumed there is a pretty significant population. There’s also the implication that remnants have been found that pre-date human occupation. Everything seems pretty realistic, from the slow speeds of the rovers to the care taken at each twist and turn.


Mars, Work, Future, Space, Colonies, Space Travel

Interested in more stories like Off-Road? Read our short reviews here.

Photo by Mari Helin on Unsplash

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