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I read this short story in an anthology from NMSU library in the 1980s. It had adult themes, and I still can't forget how shocked I was. Possible author was Stanislaw Lem but I might be wrong.

The main character was Swedish, 14 years old and named Mara. She was on a spacecraft because she had the rare ability to communicate with Earth and other ships faster than light. She was very unhappy, and was friends with the only other communications person like her on the ship, but he was only friendly while they were working.

Mara finds a nearby black hole interesting, and somehow manages to either draw the spaceship closer to it or actually expand the Schwarzchild radius surrounding it, as an act of defiance and unhappiness. She wants to be back home on Earth. The story ends by saying Mara's name means little nightmare.

I remember other details, which I can provide if needed. I can't remember the author's name or exact title though!

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  • There are hints of Tower and Hive about that description
    – Separatrix
    Jan 25 at 10:04
  • @Separatrix what is Tower and Hive? Jan 27 at 4:56
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    Anne McCaffrey, I think it's also known as Talents, telepaths used for communication and shipping with misc other abilities. There's a lot less sex in it that the description of the story you've accepted mind you.
    – Separatrix
    Jan 29 at 8:12
  • @Separatrix thanks for your prompt reply! I recall reading some Anne McCaffrey and enjoying her stories of highly evolved women with 6 fingers, telepathy, even ability to draw energy from the planet's geo-magnetic field in one novel, and course, dragons. I should have read more McCaffrey when I was 12 years old and less of "The Event Horizon" and scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/259799/… I enjoyed (and was able to understand!) the latter two much better, now, as a 40+ year old adult. I still enjoy McCaffrey Jan 29 at 22:33

1 Answer 1

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This sounds a lot like "The Event Horizon", by Ian Watson. It's a novelette, most easily found in the novelette collection The Very Slow Time Machine.

The story is about a space ship that travels to the edge of a black hole. On board the ship is a girl named Mara, who's from Sweden, and her "friend" Habib, both of whom are tasked with remote "telecontact" with other ships. When they reach the black hole they find that something lives inside it, and Mara seems able to communicate with it.

The novel contains a lot of adult, explicitly sexual content. The process of how telecommunications work is very tightly coupled with the act of sexual intercourse, meaning that Mara and Habib have to routinely have sex with other crew members as part of their job. Plus, there's lots of discussions of Tantra and psychedelics and such.

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  • Yes, that's it! Thank you so much! Feb 14, 2015 at 13:39

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