Review of Filip Wiltgren, “It’s Cold on Europa”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2021): 42–48 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.
The protagonist is stuck on Europa on a mission to collect ice for Mars, with no one to keep her company but a coworker and her wife’s “construct” (essentially an android with a downloadable personality that needs to be updated periodically). She becomes concerned when her wife’s construct begins to behave unusually strange. Is it her wife growing cold towards her, or is there something wrong with the construct?
The premise of collecting ice from the outer part of the solar system and send it to Mars is nothing new (e.g. Asimov’s “The Martian Way”), although the idea of “constructs” as described in the story is fascinating. The main character’s paranoia is described with great skill and ample tension. The author is really able to get in her head with some delicious internal monologues. The ending felt somewhat rushed, however, and perhaps a little disappointing. What started as a great psychological examination of protagonist life in deep space ended with a simple “brawl in space” – an ending more suited to a typical pulp adventure tale than something like this.
Despite that, this was still a very enjoyable read.