The Very Pulse of the Machine
|"The Very Pulse of the Machine"|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction short story|
|Published in||Asimov's Science Fiction|
|Publication date||February 1998|
"The Very Pulse of the Machine" is a science fiction short story published in 1998 by Michael Swanwick. It was the winner of the 1999 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. It was also nominated for the 1999 Locus award and Asimov's Reader Poll.
The story follows Martha Kivelsen, an astronaut who is in a moon rover crash while exploring the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Io. The rover is destroyed so Kivelsen decides to make a sledge from the rover's parts and drag her partner’s body back to the lander before her air supply runs out. She has no time to sleep so she takes drugs to keep her awake and give her energy, but they cause her to hallucinate. Along the way she hears a voice in her radio claiming to be Io.