Stephen Palmer’s story in Rocket Science, ‘A Biosphere Ends’, is set on Mars, our nearest planetary neighbour. Mars is a popular locale in science fiction, though it’s more often the Mars of fantasy than the Mars of fact which features – see the Disney film John Carter released this month, for example. Steve’s story is very definitely based upon the Mars of fact. He writes:
Stephen Palmer first came to the attention of the SF world in 1996 with his Orbit Books debut Memory Seed, and its sequel Glass. Further novels followed from the Wildside Press – Flowercrash, Muezzinland, Hallucinating, and, under the pen-name Bryn Llewellyn, The Rat and the Serpent. In 2010 PS Publishing published his most recent novel Urbis Morpheos, of which one reviewer said, “… let the whole thing wash over you like the obtuse gift it is, to wallow in this utterly striking universe that Palmer has created… [a] kind of supremely odd yet deeply rewarding experience…” His recent novels were published last year as ebooks by PS Publishing and by Infinity Plus Ebooks. His short stories have been published by the Wildside Press, Solaris, SF Spectrum, NewCon Publishing, Unspoken Water and the Eibonvale Press. He is currently working on a near-future SF novel.
Stephen says, “I wrote ‘A Biosphere Ends’ partly inspired by articles in New Scientist (which I read every week) about the possibility of early, simple life on Mars. It has always intrigued me that as long ago as the early 1970s James Lovelock grasped that because Mars’ atmosphere is stable and inert – whereas Earth’s is in a state of dynamic equilibrium, with far too much oxygen than it should have – there should be no life there. Yet billions of years ago Mars’ atmosphere could have been different, perhaps more like Earth’s early atmosphere before the era of oxygen. It’s all fascinating stuff… See here for example.”