Space Opera on the Red Planet: IT Officer Devises Out-of-This-World Ideas

Article excerpt

Pirates have seized the interplanetary containership Charles & Price, approaching Mars. Hostages have been taken. But the Price is now dead in space because an officer cut power to foil the pirates. A mystery cargo aboard may be lost, which will not please the pirate's equally mysterious private backers. The pirate chief--"Chuckles"--sends a mayday to Space Rescue Service for "assistance." But rescue astronauts fight back when the pirates attempt to commandeer their craft. Pirates and good guys begin dying in the cold of space ...

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Do the good guys win? You'll have to read Chris Gerrib's Pirates of Mars. Published last year, Pirates is the Chicago-area banker's first commercially published science fiction novel.

The story takes place in 2074. Mars has not only been colonized, in Gerrib's vision, but actually become a cross between lower-middle-class 'burbs and an industrial park. Being an astronaut carries no glamour--less Right Stuff, more grungy.

Gerrib, senior vice-president, technology, at $1.3 billion-assets Republic Bank, Oak Brook, Ill., began reading the greats of science fiction--Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke--as a boy. He started a few sci-fi short stories then, but didn't complete them. Years later, after serving as a damage-control officer aboard the guided-missile frigate U.S.S. Jack Williams, he obtained an MBA and eventually found himself in bank technology. …

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