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Trying to find old short story about men signing up for tour of duty on Mars....have respirator surgically implanted to deal with low pressure, but if kept turned up, lungs atrophy and cannot return home to Earth...but turning down respirator means nightmares and feelings of suffocating...so tour of duty becomes life sentence as Martian....was in an anthology I gave away and now wishing I hadn't as want to cite the story in a paper. Any ideas?

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    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where? Also, take a look at our tour to get a better understanding of our site and earn your first badge! – Edlothiad Mar 19 '17 at 22:03
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"Crucifixus Etiam"

From the story:

Breathing was unnecessary, except to provide wind for talking, but Manue breathed in desperate gulps of 4.0 psi Martian air; for he had seen the wasted, atrophied chests of the men who had served four or five years, and he knew that when they returned to Earth-if ever-they would still need the auxiliary oxygenator equipment.

According to this summary:

Desperate to find some sort of meaning for the work he is doing, Manue goes to one of the “troffies (for atrophy, the older workers who have given up any hope of returning to Earth), who explains it to him as a problem of overproduction and underconsumption.

We see here the essential elements of Mars, atrophied lungs, and of course the unique word “troffie.”

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This is Walter M. Miller's “Crucifixus Etiam”.

Troffies are mentioned in the review below.

Desperate to find some sort of meaning for the work he is doing, Manue goes to one of the “troffies” (for atrophy, the older workers who have given up any hope of returning to Earth), who explains it to him as a problem of overproduction and underconsumption:

“So, it’s either cut production or find an outlet. Mars is an outlet for surplus energies, manpower, money. Mars Project keeps money turning over, keeps everything turning over. Economist told me that. Said if the Project folded, surplus would pile up-big depression on Earth.”

Miller, Walter M. – “Crucifixus Etiam” (1953) - Doomsayer Press

and in the story itself.

Earth chalice, Earth blood, Earth God, Earth worshipers—with plastic tubes in their chests and a great sickness in their hearts.

He went away saddened. There was no faith here. Faith needed familiar surroundings, the props of culture. Here there were only swinging picks and rumbling machinery and sloshing concrete and the clatter of tools and the wheezing of troffies. Why? For five dollars an hour and keep?

You can read the story online here

  • I am on mobile, so it was a bit hard to post an answer as soon as I identified it. – Adamant Mar 19 '17 at 22:19
  • @Adamant - I didn't spot your comment until I'd answered. – Valorum Mar 19 '17 at 22:33
  • Fantastic! Thanks so much. And the icing on the cake is a link to the story text, which was going to be my next task. Hugely impressed with speed if response. Great to keep these old stories alive. – Tone Mar 20 '17 at 8:19

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