The end of the world required time to accomplish—and time, Susannah reflected, worked at the task with all the leisurely skill of a master torturer, one who could deliver death either quickly or slowly, but always with excruciating pain.
–Linda Nagata - The Martian Obelisk - c.2017
Humanity is dying out. Climate change. Terrorism. Disease. People have accepted that these is no future, just a slow decline and then they’ll be no more. The colonies on Mars have resulted in death, there will be no new missions to Mars. Humanity is resigned to extinction.
Susannah doesn’t have any more hope than anyone else. Her family are all dead and gone, but she does have a purpose. The construction of an obelisk, on Mars.
No human will live in it. No human will see it in the flesh. It’ll stand long after all of humanity is gone, when even the memory of humankind is gone. That, simply, is its purpose. To exist.
It is a pessimistic future that Nagata writes about, but it isn’t all despair. There is an odd flicker here and there of the faintest hope.
An interesting, well-told story about people, despair, and art. And the persistence of hope and struggle.