I'm looking for the title and author of a short story dealing with two crew members on a spaceship who accidentally get jettisoned (along with several crates of supplies) while traveling near Mars. They reach Phobos and, using the gear found in the crates, assemble a simple re-entry vehicle which they use to travel to the Martian surface. I encountered the story twice in the 1960s.

1 Answer 1


enter image description here

"Tin Lizzie", a novelette by Randall Garrett; first published in Amazing Stories, June 1964, available at the Internet Archive; reprinted in the 1966 anthology Great Science Fiction Stories About Mars, edited to T. E. Dikty.

"Then I suggest you pressurize the hulls," said Challenger, "and find out what was leaking. Both of those ships were full of N2O3 when we reached Phobos. That's why we left 'em there and let out the air. Anyway, check for the leaks. If you find any, fix 'em. If you can't find 'em, keep about twenty pounds per square inch pressure inside the hull; Martian atmosphere can't leak in past that.

"Now: I’m going to warn you men that you will be risking your lives if you try to take those two spaceboats to the surface of Mars and return. Controlling a rocket isn’t like controlling a gravito-inertial engine. Instead of four men dying on Mars, there may be five or six.

"Knowing that, do you still want to try it?"

  • Not certain this is it. The story only involved two men and the ship was more makeshift. But good guess. Thanks. Jun 6, 2017 at 5:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.