Marooned off Vesta
|"Marooned off Vesta"|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction short story|
|Published in||Amazing Stories|
|Media type||Print (Magazine)|
|Publication date||March 1939|
|Followed by||"Ring Around the Sun"|
"Marooned off Vesta" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was the third story written by Asimov, and the first to be published. Written in July 1938 when Asimov was 18, it was rejected by Astounding Science Fiction in August, then accepted in October by Amazing Stories, appearing in the March 1939 issue. Asimov first included it in his 1968 story collection Asimov's Mysteries, and subsequently in the 1973 collection The Best of Isaac Asimov.
Marooned off Vesta tells the story of three men who survive the wreck of the spaceship Silver Queen in the asteroid belt and find themselves trapped in orbit around the asteroid Vesta. They have at their disposal three airtight rooms, one spacesuit, three days' worth of air, a week's supply of food, and a year's supply of water. They are initially despondent about their impending suffocation until one of the men is inspired to melt a hole in the water tank. This begins to propel them towards Vesta, where a small community of humans lives.
The story accurately portrays the physics and experiences involved with being in space, a theme that often re-emerges in Asimov's later works.
In 1958, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the story's appearance, Asimov wrote a sequel called Anniversary set twenty years after the original. Both stories appeared in the March 1959 issue of Amazing Stories.
Reviewing an anthology including the piece, Algis Budrys commented wryly that "'Marooned off Vesta' was indeed Ike's first sale. His first story came several attempts later." Budrys also faulted "Anniversary" as "a badly contrived stunt."