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‘A Place to Stand On’ Short Review

A Place to Stand On is an action-adventure sci-fi story set on Venus, high above the tumultuous landscape of the deadly planet. We see a climber intent on fixing a hole in and inflatable city slowing coming together far above the surface. As the balloons sink, the weather becomes more unstable, threatening Hortensia and her fellow crew mates. It’s a thrilling look at what it might be like to colonize Venus, given its intense environment and it’s hatred of all things living. With its acid rain, fiery surface, and terrifying storms, it’s a wonder there are crews brave enough to build, much less live in, a floating city.

Vibbert has also created a great character piece, giving us a full background on the climbing history of the protagonist and the many trust issues she has. She’s been taught not to trust other people, to pull her own weight no matter what. In this instance, that self-reliability saves the structures from plummeting to the surface, but also endangers everyone else involved. In the end, she chooses to trust others and it saves her life. That personal touch rounds out the story, grounding it firmly in the human aspect of space colonization and what it takes to survive outside of the comforts of Earth.

A Place to Stand on

Written by Marie Vibbert
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
January/February 2019

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