Review of “The Cold Equations” (1943)


Tom Godwin (writer).

Read in 2020.

A naïve stowaway faces a grim fate on a space ship where the excess mass would spell certain doom.

I’ve caused everyone I love to be hurt, haven’t I?

Dull prose and just the one, sexist, twist, but a good concept, illustrating objectivity. The retrofuture is pretty nice; printed circuits are still referred to by that full name and are not reliable. People still mail letters, meaning fuel is reserved for stationery, and there are plenty of gauges. This does not damage the concept, but of course, the 2020 version would have an unmanned ship trolley-probleming the stowaway by other means, as soon as the initial acceleration is measured against an inertial frame.

References here: We Who Are About To... (1976), Stowaway (2021).

text fiction