Recently, I've been reading The Martians by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's a book of short stories related to his {Red,Green,Blue} Mars books, which I enjoyed a lot. He managed to create a fully bleievable world with exciting new things going on and, at the same time, create a cast of characters who are believeable and complex - something that is somewhat rare for science fiction. The science is pretty fun, too, but pplied in a very human way.

Some of the stories have been misses for me, as one would expect. For example: I don't really care enough about mountain climbing for the story about climbing Olympus Mons to have made a huge impact on me. The one that I just read, however, Arthur Sternbach brings the Curveball to Mars, was a wonderful example of the best of Kim Stanley Robinson. It is, as you might guess, about playing baseball on Mars. It features the aspects of Mars that Robinson tends to bring up - the lower gravity, the shorter distance to the horizon - but he makes it interesting every time he brings it up by showing how those things really affect the everyday lives of people on Mars. In this case, the baseball field needs to be much larger - with a fraction of the gravity on Earth, it would be pretty simple to hit a home run otherwise. But, once you've done that and considered the shortened horizon, it means the field stretches out almost to the horizon around you.

The story also went into the culture of Baseball on Mars, suggesting that the Martians had only learned it from videos and so, didn't do many things that the protagonist, a visiting American, took for granted. Things like heckling or calling to each other on the field about what they were doing. They also had never seen a curveball.

In any event, it was a good story and I'd recommend it.