My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This review is only for the short story, “Martian Quest.”
Read as part of the 1941 Retro-Hugos Voter Packet.
Perfect wish fulfillment for early sci-fi fans, as the nerdy science geek saves the day and gets the girl, ending up saving the brawny he-man.
Martin Drake has been unable to find success on Earth, where population is high and unemployment is rife. Keenly feeling the disappointment he’s been to his family, he signs up for an emigration program, even though the whole venture is rumored to be a failure and it’s an option of last resort for most everyone who’s agreed to go.
The settlement program is on Mars. Tracts of barely-arable terraformed land and a bare minimum of supplies allocated to each new settler for farming. Drake knew life would be hard – but what he didn’t know was that the main threat would come in the form of destructive, man-killing lizards that munch crops right down to their roots.
Although Drake’s no farmer, his science knowledge and ingenuity will come to the rescue.