I listened to this audiobook story about 2019 as part of an anthology.

It may have been Mars where they lived or possibly the moon.

The two boys were about twelve. One was the son of the heavy vehicle driver. His dad has a stroke or similar medical emergency so the boys have to drive them all home. This boy had been raised mainly in the cab of his dad's vehicle. The other boy comes from a large religious farming family. His mum shaves his head. There is a scene where the driver's son imagines the farming community to be heavenly. He helps himself fall alseep by imagining walking down steps into the beautiful farm.

The story makes a big point that one lad was the second boy born on Mars and the other the third boy born on Mars. I may have the ordinal numbers wrong but they were low.

The vehicle driver's son is at first very jealous of the other boy as he assumes he got lots of delicous fresh food, growing up in a farming community. It turns out the farmer boys diet was very limited and boring. He had never even had butter in his tea even though everyone buys the butter from the community where he lives.

These two are among the first children born on the planet, as for many years no woman could concieve there.

From another short story in the same setting, I found out someone finally conceived who was living above a biological process in a restaurant that gave of lots of oxygen.

A lady who runs a bar and restaurant promises the son of the driver she will look after his permanently disabled dad. Make sure he has regular meals.

The driver and son might have been called Bill and Billy.

I think the author was female.


1 Answer 1


I think this is Kage Baker's "Where the Golden Apples Grow", a novella published at least in her collection Maelstrom and Other Martian Tales. It shares a world with the novella, later expanded into a novel, "The Empress of Mars" - there's a character Mary in at least that who runs a bar, as mentioned. But this excerpt from the linked publisher's page seems definitive:

Where the Golden Apples Grow (preorder)

He was the third boy born on Mars.

He was twelve years old now, and had spent most of his life in the cab of a freighter. His name was Bill.

Bill lived with his dad, Billy Townsend. Billy Townsend was a Hauler. He made the long runs up and down Mars, to Depot North and Depot South, bringing ice back from the ends of the world. Bill had always gone along on the runs, from the time he’d been packed into the shotgun seat like a little duffel bag to now, when he sat hunched in the far corner of the cab with his Gamebuke, ignoring his dad’s loud and cheerful conversation.

There was no other place for him to be. The freighter was the only home he had ever known. His dad called her Beautiful Evelyn.

  • I have found the collection in which I listend to it. goodreads.com/book/show/39863372-the-very-best-of-the-best Commented Mar 14 at 16:49
  • 1
    If you liked that one, at minimum "The Empress of Mars" is worth tracking down. Her main series, the Company books, bounce around in style quite a lot so it's harder to predict whether they'll work for you or not. "The Empress of Mars" is officially in the series because it's in that universe but it's unconnected from the main narrative arc. Commented Mar 14 at 16:58

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.