Dumb Martian: John Wyndham.

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DUMB MARTIAN – JOHN WYNDHAM. Plot. Duncan Weaver, a middle-aged Earthman, is preparing to take up the job of a ‘way-load station supervisor’ on Jupiter IV/II, a sub-moon of Callisto (itself a moon of Jupiter) and his future home for the next 5 years. It is little more than a small asteroid; a barren, desolate piece of jagged rock, featureless other than two domes, a launching pad lined with storage bins for the rare metalliferous earth that is mined on Callisto, and a large parabolic mirror. The smaller dome is for storage, whilst the larger dome comprises three large rooms for living space. Gravity is virtually zero, necessitating the use of magnetic shoes. As a precaution against possible insanity caused by the sheer isolation and loneliness of his 5 year stint, Duncan has decided to take a Martian woman along with him. As well as ‘company – of a sort’ he wants someone to cook and deal with the domestic chores. The story opens with him reflecting on his new ‘purchase’ - Lellie, a 20 year old Martian female who lacks any real formal education. He has paid £1,000 to her parents after first attempting to purchase a ‘mart’ from two other couples, who wouldn’t accept his measly offer of £700. It is clear that he regards her as inferior; nothing more than a possession, albeit an expensive one, which he intends to sell on completion of his contract. As he makes final preparations for the trip he finds further difficulties in taking her with him. With deep reluctance, he has to part with more money for a variety of ‘extras’: company agent’s fee, marriage licence, extra provisions for Lellie for the 5 year period, and ‘weightless’ cooking tuition. The final total amounts to £2,360. They arrive on Jupiter IV/II to relieve the current supervisor, then settle in. It soon becomes apparent that there is very little to do. Duncan devises a programme involving the

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