While Kim Stanley Robinson is mostly known for his great novels, he has written some interesting short stories. They are often a bit unusual in that they more work like small vignettes with some philosophical musings. His novella Green Mars (not related to the novel with the same title) is almost poetic. This little stories explores some interesting ideas on the nature of history.

Asimov's November 1991

The short story is structured like a scientific paper with sections named “Abstract”, “Introduction”, “Experimental Methods”, “Discussion”, “Conclusions” and “Acknowledgements”. A professor in archaeology is finding evidence that the historical version of the vikings discovering Vinland might be a very elaborate hoax. This concerns him greatly given that history as he knows it, will have to be rewritten.

However, his companion has a great quote that beautifully sums up the essence of this story:

“History is made of stories people tell. And fictions, dreams, hoaxes - they also are made of stories people tell. True or false, it’s the stories that matter to us. Certain qualities in the stories themselves make them true or false.”

p. 224

It is not a story with much drama or plot, but it does make for a thoughtful pleasant reading that I would recommend to anyone who appreciates Robinson’s writing style.

Read in Asimov’s November 1991
Rating: 4