This book has been recommended to me several times over the years, and it has been my intention to read it for a long time. This morning, I finished an epic series (with Conqueror), and decided that I could do with a short story to fill the gap before I choose my next book off the shelf.
I am very pleased that I chose this one. There is so much packed into such a small volume. It is a real golden nugget. It was first published in May 1954, before I was born.
It tells the story of a human couple who have been rescued by advanced from a wrecked spacecraft between Mars and Earth. They were returning from their honeymoon when catastrophe struck. They are both paralysed, blind, deaf, dumb, limbless, and wishing themselves dead.
The alien doctor restores them to full wellness, and better, in some ways than they were before the accident. The emotions build. There is beautiful romance. There is doubt: self-doubt and doubt of each other. There is love in abundance. There is mystery. There is so much here. You must take time out to read it (free to download from the Gutenberg Project), as you are sure to appreciate this little treasure.
One aspect that I really appreciated was the reference to "stereos." These were salvaged from the wreck of their space ship and used to reconstruct their faces. Amusingly, the alien doctor, who they never see, thinks that all humon faces look much the same, but promises to do his best. Having worked in as a military surveyor, making maps from aerial photographs, for a large portion of my life, I am a huge enthusiast of the use of stereo images for the benefit of all. Imagine how excited I was at the thought of an alien surgeon using such imagery to reconstruct the faces of humans!
This is wonderful! Read it!