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Literature / I'm in Marsport Without Hilda

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First published in Venture Science Fiction Magazine (November 1957 issue), by Isaac Asimov. This Science Fiction Short Story is a "stale beer" style of Spy Fiction. An opportunity for a tete-a-tete arises, but a Special Agent never gets the vacation they hope for.

Max tells the story of when he visited the Mars space station to see his girlfriend Flora without his wife knowing. It was a three-day layover where he'd be waiting until the next shuttle back to Earth, but he planned to spend it mostly in 0.4 gravity with her. However, his boss had other ideas.

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Max is forced to interview three men experiencing a three-hour layover, with the threat of death against leaving. One of which is smuggling drugs, and all of which are untouchable unless Max finds them actually breaking the law. He assumes it'll be easy enough, as the two innocents will have taken a drug that makes them talk in gibberish, and the guilty one can't for fear he'll randomly talk about them or give away the drugs.

All three arrive clearly displaying the effects of the drug. It then takes three hours for Max to figure out which one is faking the effects.

"I'm in Marsport Without Hilda" has been adapted into an audiobook by Ziggurat Productions and narrated by Jim Gallant. This story has been reprinted several times; Nine Tomorrows (1959), Galaxy (issue #53, October 1962), Asimovs Mysteries (1968), Rod Serlings Other Worlds (1978), The Best Science Fiction Of Isaac Asimov (1986), The Complete Stories, Volume 1 (1990), and Lovers And Other Monsters (1992).

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