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Red Desert: Point of No Return

Red Desert: Point of No Return

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Red Desert: Point of No Return

ratings:
4/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
87 pages
1 hour
Released:
Jun 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781311628312
Format:
Book

Description

Anna left at dawn.
She entered the Martian desert, all alone.
Where is she going?
What secret is she hiding?

Thirty years after the Mars exploration mission ‘Hera’, whose crew died in mysterious circumstances, the ensuing political issues that slowed NASA's race to conquer space have finally ended. This time the five members of the new ‘Isis’ mission will not travel the 400 million kilometres for a short visit. This time they are destined to become the first colonisers of the Red Planet.

The science fiction series “Red Desert”, set in the near future, includes four books.
The first one, “Point of No Return”, is a novella.

In what looks like a suicide attempt, Swedish exobiologist Anna Persson, crew member of the Isis, secretly leaves Station Alpha at the crack of dawn to travel deep into the Martian desert in a pressurised rover.
As she journeys to the limit of her two day oxygen supply, she shows us memories of events from her past leading up to the mission. Little by little, as time and oxygen run out, she reveals the real Anna.
Whatever her goal, wherever it is, will Anna reach her destination?

The second book is “Red Desert - People of Mars” (a novel).

Follow Anna Persson (AnnaPerssonDR) on Twitter!

--- This is the first book in a series of four and it ends with a cliffhanger. ---

Released:
Jun 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781311628312
Format:
Book

About the author

Note: please scroll down for the English version.Nata a Carbonia nel 1974, Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli vive a Cagliari dal 1993, dove lavora come scrittrice, oltre che traduttrice letteraria e tecnico-scientifica. Laureata in Scienze Biologiche nel 1998, in passato ha ricoperto il ruolo di ricercatrice, tutor e assistente della docente di Ecologia presso il Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia dell’Università degli Studi di Cagliari.Da bambina ha scoperto la fantascienza e da allora è cresciuta con ET, Darth Vader, i replicanti, i Visitors, Johnny 5, Marty McFly, Terminator e tutti gli altri. Il suo interesse per la scienza si è sviluppato di pari passo, portandola, da una parte, a diventare biologa e, dall’altra, a seguire con curiosità l’esplorazione spaziale, in particolare quella del pianeta rosso.Ma soprattutto ama da sempre inventare storie, basate su questi interessi, e ha scoperto che scriverle è il modo più semplice per renderle reali.Tra il 2012 e il 2013 ha pubblicato la serie di fantascienza “Deserto rosso”, composta di quattro libri disponibili sia separatamente che sotto forma di raccolta. Quest’ultimo volume è stato un bestseller Amazon e Kobo in Italia, raggiungendo anche la posizione n. 1 nel Kindle Store nel novembre 2014, ed è tuttora uno dei libri di fantascienza più venduti in formato ebook.Grazie alla pubblicazione della serie, nel 2014 è stata indicata da Wired Magazine come una dei dieci migliori autori indipendenti italiani e ciò le è valso la partecipazione come relatrice al XXVII Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino e alla Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014.“Deserto rosso” è anche la prima parte di un ciclo di opere di fantascienza denominato Aurora, che comprende inoltre “L’isola di Gaia” (2014), “Ophir. Codice vivente” (2016) e “Sirius. In caduta libera” (2018).“Nave stellare Aurora” è l’ultimo volume di questo ciclo ed è il suo quindicesimo libro.Oltre a quelli del ciclo dell’Aurora, nel 2015 ha pubblicato un altro romanzo di fantascienza, intitolato “Per caso”.La sua produzione include anche quattro thriller, vale a dire “Affinità d’intenti” (2015) e la trilogia del detective Eric Shaw: “Il mentore” (2014), che nella sua versione inglese edita da AmazonCrossing è stato nel 2015 al primo posto della classifica del Kindle Store negli Stati Uniti, nel Regno Unito e in Australia, raggiungendo oltre 170.000 lettori in tutto il mondo, “Sindrome” (2016) e “Oltre il limite” (2017).Dal 2016 è docente del “Laboratorio di self-publishing nei sistemi multimediali”, nell’ambito del corso di laurea triennale in Scienze della Comunicazione e del corso di laurea magistrale in Scienze e Tecniche della Comunicazione presso l’Università degli Studi dell’Insubria (Varese). Da questo laboratorio è tratto il suo saggio “Self-publishing lab. Il mestiere dell’autoeditore” (2020).Oltre che al Salone e alla Buchmesse, è stata chiamata a intervenire in qualità di autoeditrice, divulgatrice scientifica nel campo dell’esplorazione spaziale e autrice di fantascienza hard in eventi quali COM:UNI:CARE (2013) all’Università degli Studi di Salerno, Sassari Comics & Games (2015), Festival Professione Giornalista (2016) a Bologna, la fiera della media e piccola editoria Più Libri Più Liberi (2016) a Roma, Scienza & Fantascienza (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019 e 2020) all’Università degli Studi dell’Insubria (Varese) e Voci e Suoni di Altri Mondi (2018) nella sede di ALTEC a Torino.I suoi libri sono stati recensiti o segnalati da testate nazionali quali Wired Italia, Tom’s Hardware Italia, La Repubblica, Tiscali News e Global Science (rivista dell’Agenzia Spaziale Italiana).Appassionata dell’universo di Star Wars, in particolare della trilogia classica, è conosciuta nel web italiano con il nickname Anakina e di tanto in tanto presta la sua voce e la sua penna al podcast e blog FantascientifiCast. È inoltre una rappresentante italiana dell’associazione internazionale Mars Initiative e un membro dell’International Thriller Writers Organization.ENGLISH VERSIONRita Carla Francesca Monticelli is an Italian science fiction and thriller author.She has lived in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) since 1993, earning a degree in biology and working as independent author, scientific and literary translator, educator and science communicator. In the past she also worked as researcher, tutor and professor’s assistant in the field of ecology at “Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia” of the University of Cagliari.As a cinema addict, she started by writing screenplays and fan fictions inspired by the movies.She has written original fiction since 2009.Between 2012-2013 she wrote and published a hard science fiction series set on Mars and titled “Deserto rosso”.The whole “Deserto rosso” series, which includes four books, was also published as omnibus in December 2013 (ebook and paperback) and hit No. 1 on the Italian Kindle Store in November 2014.“Deserto rosso” was published in English, with the title “Red Desert”, between 2014 and 2015.The first book in the series is “Red Desert - Point of No Return”; the second is “Red Desert - People of Mars”; the third is “Red Desert - Invisible Enemy”; and the final book is “Red Desert - Back Home”.She also authored three crime thrillers in the Detective Eric Shaw trilogy - “Il mentore” (2014), “Sindrome” (2016), and “Oltre il limite” (2017) -, an action thriller titled “Affinità d’intenti” (2015), five more science fiction novels - “L’isola di Gaia” (2014), “Per caso” (2015), “Ophir. Codice vivente” (2016), “Sirius. In caduta libera” (2018), and “Nave stellare Aurora” (2020) - and a non-fiction book titled “Self-publishing lab. Il mestiere dell’autoeditore” (2020).“Il mentore” was published in English by AmazonCrossing with the title “The Mentor” in 2015.“Affinità d’intenti” was published in English with the title “Kindred Intentions” in 2016.All her books have been Amazon bestsellers in Italy so far. “The Mentor” was an Amazon bestseller in USA, UK, Australia, and Canada in 2015-2016.She is also a podcaster at FantascientifiCast, an Italian podcast about science fiction, a member of Mars Initiative and of the International Thriller Writers Organization.She is often a guest both in Italy and abroad during book fairs, including Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino (Turin Book Fair), Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) and Più Libri Più Liberi (Rome Book Fair), local publishing events, university conventions as well as classes (University of Insubria), where she gives speeches or conducts workshops about self-publishing and genre fiction writing.As a science fiction and Star Wars fan, she is known in the Italian online community by her nickname, Anakina.


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Red Desert - Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Red Desert – Point of No Return

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Copyright 2014 Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Smashwords Edition

Book One of the Red Desert Series

Table of Contents

Point of No Return

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Copyright and disclaimer

RED DESERT

Book 1

Point of No Return

Original title: Deserto rosso - Punto di non ritorno

© 2012 Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Translation by: Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli (© 2014)

Translation revised by: Martina Munzittu, Richard J. Galloway, and Julia Gibbs

Cover: © 2014 Alberto Casu and Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

Important note to the reader: This book is written in British English.

I closed the airlock door with a quiet thud and I locked it, knowing it might have been for the last time. Outside it was still dark, just before dawn. The instant the sun peeked out over the horizon its pale light would hit the plains, creating long shadows.

I stood for a moment looking at the stars through the glass, while the valves let out some air to equalise the pressure with the outside. My suit, which at first almost adhered to my body, was now expanding, giving me a clumsy look.

The pressure balance was reached and the exit door opened. Even though the suit was heated, I perceived a huge difference in temperature. It could rise well above ten degrees Celsius on a summer’s day, but it could drop to minus ninety at night. And the hours before dawn were always the coldest.

I switched on the torch and went out, moving with caution. I hoped nobody had seen me leave. Robert was lost in dreamland and had certainly no intention of getting up at dawn, but Hassan, in spite of all that had happened, carried on with the mission, especially now that he was in charge.

He kept repeating that in a few months more personnel and materials would arrive. I was not convinced. Yet another major failure was looming and, at the moment of need, those in Houston would come out with another excuse.

Despite the heavy load I was carrying, I walked with ease. With gravity a little more than one third of Earth, everything was lighter, and thanks to my experience over the years I was accustomed to moving with skill on a rough terrain, even when wearing that uncomfortable suit.

I opened the hatchback of a rover and loaded my provisions; then I climbed into the front of the vehicle and activated the pressurisation. The life support pumps pushed the gasses inside, creating the correct mixture for breathing. When the green light came up on the dashboard, indicating the process was complete, I removed my helmet and suit. I laid them in the back, settled myself in the driving seat and fastened the seatbelt. As soon as the engine started, an alarm would go off inside the station, alerting them to the unexpected activation of one of the two rovers.

There was still time to go back. I just had to don my suit again, return to my quarters and climb back into bed. Nobody would notice. But, even if my act might appear senseless, to me it seemed the most reasonable thing to do. There was nothing more for me in the station, beside pure survival. Perhaps not even that certainty.

I studied the data gathered the evening before on the on-board computer screen. It wasn’t much, but it was all I had. I took a deep breath, and then turned on the engine and put my foot down. I was moving towards another certainty: that of my death. But I had started doing that a long time earlier, when I accepted the invitation to join the mission.

Twenty-nine minutes to the point of no return.

The synthesised voice of the on-board computer sounds again inside the rover. In about half an hour I will pass the point of no return. The oxygen tank, together with the carbon dioxide filters, provides breathable air for one person for a maximum of fifty hours, and I’m about to pass the twenty-fifth, this means that I won’t have enough to come back to Station Alpha.

Not that I care, at this stage.

I try to figure out how to stop the alarm from beeping every minute, and wonder why rovers aren’t equipped with an oxygen production system like the one in the station. The chemical plant extracts this gas from the carbon dioxide-rich air of Mars, releasing carbon monoxide outside as waste gas. Why am I thinking this nonsense? Such an apparatus would occupy too much space, reducing that available inside the vehicle and making it even slower; it would also require excessive energy.

The main feature of these rovers is their agility, to the detriment of the operating range. On the one hand, fifty hours seemed a sufficient amount of time for any sortie we had to make in that first stage of our mission. But actually, they reduced our chances of extending the area of the planet we could explore. For people like us, with an average age of thirty-five, who had to spend the rest of their lives on Mars and who had nothing else with which to occupy their time, it was a huge limitation.

It’s true that Mars’s diameter is about half of the Earth’s, but the lack of oceans makes the explorable surface comparable to the sum of all lands above sea level of our planet. Hence plenty of places to visit, and even if at first sight they may seem monotonous with all that dark red, they hide countless wonders. And we chose to be the first colonisers of this new world to observe them in person.

In over one thousand days in the Lunae Planum, we scoured most of the area surrounding the station within a radius of a little more than three hundred kilometres. It’s quite impractical to go any further with a vehicle that can hardly reach twenty-five kilometres per hour, but most of time travels much slower, especially considering that each sortie requires at least two persons, for safety reasons. Since there wasn’t any particular hurry, NASA provided us with the minimum equipment needed to carry out a series of scientific investigations, which requires long periods of time and has brought rather inconclusive results. Beside the geological studies, our main mission is to find proof of a past life on the

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