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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
Louise is a geologist, and she is the only living person on Mars. The other colonists are dead, struck down by a strange virus. After two months of Louise maintaining the station by herself, a rocket arrives, carrying six men in cryogenic tanks. She has six weeks to create a vaccine before the tanks stop working. Earth's scientists are helping her, but they have problems of their own, facing a catastrophic rise in sea levels that are decimating cities. The first two attempts fail. Looking at the men every day, she allows herself to fantasize a little, dreaming how it would feel to love one of them…or all of them. In week five, she has a new batch, and a last chance to save them…and herself.
In Alone, Sky MacKinnon presents a moving novella of a person alone on a planet that will kill her if she cannot save the six men sent to help her. Louise’s every waking moment is focused on creating different vaccines, hoping that one of them will work, with time running out. As the story evolves, she becomes more emotionally attached to and possessive about the men, not willing to contemplate what she will do if the final vaccine doesn’t work. Alone has a flowing, easy to read narrative, and I would have loved to see Sky MacKinnon develop Louise into a more complete character beyond the superficial feelings of being the only person on Mars. This lack of depth lets the story down a little, but Alone is nevertheless a very entertaining read.