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A True Martian Red: A Brief History Of Early Viticulture On Mars

by Kara Race-Moore

During the Martian Robotic Period, soil samples were studied intensely back on Earth, both for any signs of extraterrestrial life and, just as importantly, to see if the Martian soil would support the terrestrial kind.[1] Initial analyses were hotly debated over, with decades of argument in the scientific community over the methane issue, but there were no definitive signs of Martian life.[2] As the debate roared on, the rovers continued to placidly dig into the red dirt, and analyses continued back on Earth.[3] There were promising results for the possibility of being able to grow Terran crops.[4] Scientists were optimistic, well before humans set foot on the planet, that Red Mars could soon become Green Mars, with just a little human ingenuity.[5]

The hubris of our species knows no bounds, and it would be several catastrophic failures before the farms of Mars became an established part of the landscape. While Dr. Calvin “First Step” FitzSimmons, first human to set foot on Mars, also claimed the title of Mars’s first farmer, it would be several generations before farming was anyone’s sole occupation, instead of being one of many hats any given colonist would wear.[6]

When the Pegasus landed on Sinai Planum, just south of the Valles Marineris, bringing the first humans to Mars, the ship also brought seeds, plants, and the first alcohol on the planet, a bottle of champagne that was the result of years of research, design and experimentation to ensure it would survive the flight, specifically packed to be part of the landing celebrations.[7]

At this point, consuming or creating alcohol on Mars was considered a waste of resources by the designers, a waste of money by the politicians, and morally dubious by the public, and so, besides that first bottle of champagne, alcohol was strictly prohibited.[8]

There are a few tantalizing hints in the primary documents from that time period of illegal stills being set up by the Original Seven. However, the only verified alcohol during the first years were the occasional bottles of hard liquors such as whiskey and vodka brought to Mars as part of goodwill and PR moves to satisfy various sponsoring countries and corporations.[9] Wine would have to wait. 

One of the most important features of Mars One was the plants. There were two main agriculture areas to the primary layout: the Greenhouse, where most of the carefully controlled botany studies and experiments took place, and the Garden, where there was less focus on scientific study and more on just growing as much plant life as possible for food, oxygen, and a place for the Original Seven to sit and relax.[10] Years later, surviving members would all speak of “hanging out” together in the Garden, or even just meditating there alone, as their favorite place in the initial Mars One habitat.[11]

Grapes would be forced to “wait their turn” while experiments in growing vegetation deemed more important were performed. Tomatoes, quinoa, peas, duckweed and radishes, all chosen for sustainability, were part of the first Martian crops.[12] The first grapes would eventually be planted as a passion project by Dr. Theresa Cortez.

Dr. Cortez first came to Mars as a starry-eyed young botanist, with the ink still wet on her PhD from Stanford and a few precious cuttings from Napa.[13] The Mexican-American native Californian thought she knew a thing or two about growing gardens in deserts. She had no idea. She came to Mars as part of the Ark Project, the voyage that brought the first large group of people, including families, that expanded Mars One from just a research base to the beginning of a true settlement.[14] Dr. Cortez arrived determined to start the first Martian full-scale vineyards.

Unfortunately, politics got in the way, as they so often do.

Almost all experiments and research were placed on hold when Mars-born colonist Navya “Not Dead” Patel discovered a lichen-like Martian life form, quickly dubbed the Mars Moss, growing deep in the canyons of Mars.[15] The excitement of finding extraterrestrial life had barely begun to settle down when the extraordinary medicinal properties of the Mars Moss were discovered after the oldest of the still living Original Seven, Dr. Katenka “Iron Foot” Mikhaylova, experimented on herself and cured her Stage-4 cancer.[16] Suddenly, Mars wasn’t just a feel-good science project for political PR anymore – it had real cash potential.[17] The Mars colonists were suddenly in the awkward position of being in the way of Earth making big profits. 

All occupants of Mars were informed they would be either be conscripted to harvest all the Mars Moss to be sent back to Earth for the profit of the corporations that had invested in the colony, or they would find themselves removed to Earth.[18] The Martians declined to cooperate, to put it mildly.

During the Grand Evacuation, as it was later called, Dr. Cortez was able to save most of her grapevines and bring them with her to the Labyrinth Base.[19] However, the Greenhouse and the Garden, along with the rest of all of the now much-expanded Mars One habitat, were destroyed in the Battle to Breathe that kicked off the Martian War for Independence, when Anne Kennedy made the radical decision to blow up the evacuated Mars One, rather than let it fall into hostile corporate hands.

It was a tense few days as people on both planets reeled at what had happened, and many wondered if that would be the worst of it. However, after a tense standoff at the location of the then only known site of the Mars Moss, the Battle of Hephaestus took place, and there would be no going back to being a colony, ever, under any terms.[20] The Colonial Period was over, and the war would drag on for five painful years, until the Martian Peace Accords were signed on Xiwangmu Station, ending hostilities and formally recognizing the newly created Republic of Mars.[21]

During the war, water rationing was the highest priority, especially after the Earth forces deliberately destroyed the Martian Arctic Pipeline in what would ultimately be a failed effort to try and break the Martian forces. President Kennedy was forced to order severe rationing, but the Martians grimly fought on for the right to live on their planet.[22] A new emergency pipeline was set up. Dr. Cortez ran the hydroponics gardens and assisted with the mushroom farm to help keep everyone fed throughout the war, but she always managed to make time for her grapevines, often giving them part of her own water ration.[23]

After the war, transporting her vines to a garden in the newly built Independence City was Dr. Cortez’s first order of business as the former colonists began the setup of what would be the capital of their new republic.[24] It wasn’t quite a vineyard, but Dr. Cortez, now Secretary of Agriculture in the new government, was able to serve fresh grapes at meetings as she planned out how their brand new country was going to take up the plow, now that they could put down the scythe.[25]

Mars was now in the era of the Early Republic, known for its boom in infrastructure, immigration, and industry. While not quite a second Wild West, (gun play would be suicide in an artificial atmosphere), there was certainly a general attitude of anything being possible. Including, finally, making the first Martian wine.

The most important factor in making the Martian agricultural industry rise was a need for water. Once the war was over, one of the largest public works projects was the Martian Global Aqueduct system.[26] The Martian canals of Schiaparelli’s imagination became a reality.[27] The main engineer on the project, Lynette Yellowhammer, oversaw the construction of an aqueduct system on a scale that would have made the Romans jealous. President Kennedy awarded Yellowhammer the prestigious Hero of the Republic medal as one of her last acts before her final term finished.[28] Water was now available on Mars in quantities never before seen during human presence. Agriculture on an industrial scale could begin. Dr. Cortez’s vision of rows and rows of grapevines were tantalizing close to coming true. But where to set up these vineyards up? The answer – Elysium. 

The town of Elysium had started out as a simple maintenance outpost along the original main water pipeline from the arctic, close to the northern base of Olympus Mons. The outpost had originally been scheduled to be built on Elysium Mons, but that area had proved unstable, so the project was moved to Olympus Mons. However, the pre-fab building materials were already 3D printed out and labeled ‘Elysium,’ and the name stuck.[29] The now-town of Elysium was booming with agricultural industry as the republic began to grow. Cereal crops were vital to Martian independence, and the first grain crops grown in the domed fields outside Elysium were being turned into loaves of bread by the time of the first anniversary of the Martian Peace Accords.[30] If people were going to experiment with vineyards anywhere, the slopes of the biggest volcano in the solar system held enticing promise.[31]

Volcanoes create fertile, mineral-rich soils, and volcanic wines have a distinctive, sought-after profile that “leans toward the savory, with herbal notes and touches of salt and brine.”[32] Olympus Mons is an extinct volcano, so no danger of pyroclastic surges, but for setting up crop fields, it lacked many of the factors taken for granted back on Earth in terms of atmosphere and climate.[33] However, with all the tempting chemical analyses coming in from the Olympic soil, Dr. Cortez and others were eager to try.

Everyone went into the project knowing it would be several years before bottles could be on shelves for sale, and, to help offset costs, the vineyard agreed to be part of the newly founded University of Elysium, the winery acting as a classroom for biology and chemistry students. Quite a few of the students, so fascinated by the almost alchemical process that turned grapes into wine, returned later after graduation as employees.[34]

But it wasn’t just scientists that were needed. Farmers with specialized training and experience in tending vineyards were a necessity. Grapes, especially if you want them to become not only wine, but specific types of wine, need careful tending every step of the way. Grapevines are particularly sensitive to soil types, moisture amounts, sunlight, temperatures, and need constant monitoring.[35] Dr. Cortez reached out to contacts she had maintained Back Earth, despite the war, and sent the call out that she needed viticulturists willing to try something completely new. Despite many in the wine industry scoffing at the idea, there were plenty of farmers willing to immigrate to help create the first vineyard of Mars.[36]  

As Dr. Cortez oversaw construction of domed vineyards on the slopes of Olympus Mons, greedy eyes Back Earth turned on the fields of Mars and saw a chance for quick profits. Land was cheap in the days of the Early Republic, especially in the flatlands far away from the safety offered by the mountains and canyons.[37]

Soon, bottles of Mars blown glass were ready for sale holding vintages of every color, from clear platinum to deepest purple. Interest was high and neither the first tasting nor sales disappointed.[38] Elysium blossomed from an industrial park to a true city, and on top of Olympus Mons, the space dock expanded rapidly as Earth got word of the goods being made on Mars, and wanted to start importing.[39] The Mars economy boomed, in small part because Dr. Cortez and people like her had proved humans could not only survive but thrive on the Red Planet.

[1]   Soffen, G. A., and C. W. Snyder, “First Viking Mission to Mars,” Science, (August, 1976) 759–766.

[2]   Matsos, H., “A High-Octane Fight: How the Mars Methane Debate is Splitting the Scientific Community,” Popular Mechanics (June, 2024) 161–168.

[3]   Jezero, Carla, “Run by Robots: Mars exploration before humans,” Astrobiology Magazine, (July, 2208) 456.

[4]   Singh, Pryia, “And Curiosity Brought It Back: a soil analysis from the samples obtained by the Curiosity rover, 2012 – 2032,” Smithsonian Journal (April, 2033) 278-291.

[5]   To learn about the fascinating history and current progress of terraforming Mars, please check out the permanent terraforming exhibit at the Museum of Science in Schiaparelli City.

[6]   FitzSimmons, Calvin, Well, I’m Here: The Autobiography of A First Step, (Dublin: Hachette Books Ireland, 2110), 156.

[7]   Perreault, M.A., “Countdown to Mars!” Time Magazine (June 10, 2042), 8–10.

[8]  Lloyd, Omar, Life Onboard the Pegasus, (San Francisco: Twain Publications, 2103), 200. For more on the history of extraterrestrial Champagne, see Megan Chantilly’s excellent history: Drinking Starlight: A History of Champagne in the 21st Century.

[9]  The vodka Dr. Mikhaylova received from Russia and the whiskey Dr. FitzSimmons received from Ireland are well documented. Any illegal stills were firmly denied by all of the Original Seven.

[10]  Cole, Jillian and Tanaka, Marie, Daily Life in Mars One, (New York: Random House, 2182), 46-52.

[11]  Ibid, 78-86.

[12]  Goodwin, Cheryl, Welcome to the Red Planet: The Early Years of Mars One, (New York: Penguin, 2099), 67-68. For more on Colonial Martian food, see Founding Food: Early Martian Cuisine by Miriam Eberbach.

[13]  Hernandez, Felecia, The Gardener of Mars: The Story of Dr. Theresa Cortez, (Los Angeles: McGraw Hill, 2098), 24-25.

[14]  Talbot-Godfry, Christopher, All Abroad! The First Family Migration to Mars, (Independence City: Red Rock Publishers, 2168), 36.

[15]  Carlingford-Psmith, Nigel, “Plant Life Discovered on Mars,” BBC News, (June 24, 2078).

[16]  McKinnon, Ace, “Drinking the Alien: Dr. Mikhaylova and the against all odds gamble,” Psychology Today, (September 23, 2078), 124-125.

[17]  Papadopoulos, Viktor, “Trillion Dollar Pay Day? The possible financial impact of the cancer cure found on Mars,” The Economist, (August 4, 2078), 9. 

[18]   Volkova, Sarah, Ares and Aphrodite: How Peace Turned to War on Mars, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2187), 77-86.

[19]   Dr. Cortez was one of the adults assigned to supervise the “kid train,” the convoy of rover-trucks mostly filled with the children and goats of Mars. She later commented that keeping kids of either species from eating her plants was the biggest victory of the war.  

[20]   O’Brian, Bridget, Battle for a Republic: The Battles of the Martian War for Independence, (Independence City: FitzSimmons University Press, 2204), 32-36.  

[21]   The Martian delegation brought a beautiful bouquet of many flowers and a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables, all grown in the Vavilov hydroponic gardens, rather rubbing it in that they were both surviving and thriving throughout the war. It is unrecorded if the Earth delegation accepted the gift.

[22]   DiNapoli, Sofia, Madame President: A New Biography of Anne Kennedy, (Schiaparelli City: Noble Books, 2211), 142-149.

[23]   Cortex, Therese, The Journal of Dr. Therese Cortez, with a new Foreword by Dr. De Soto, (Elysium: Elysium University Press, 2161), 246, 259, 299, 342. 

[24]   Serra, Juana, The First Hundred Days: The First Steps of the Republic of Mars, (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2201), 156-158.  

[25]   Hernandez, The Gardener of Mars: The Story of Dr. Theresa Cortez, 148-156.

[26]   Llano, Henry, Building the Future: Architecture of the Early Martian Republic, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2160), 121.

[27]   Nelson-Carre, Marie, Water on Mars, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2186), 89-94.

[28]   Beauvais, Anik, Fly like Raven: A History of Native Americans on Mars, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2182), 46-52.

[29]   Woo, Seung-yeon, All Along the Watchtower: The Creation of the Great Arctic Pipeline, (Schiaparelli City: Noble Books, 2211), 41-43.

[30]   Mizrahi, Jakob. The Bread Planet: A New History of Baking on Mars, (New Tbilisi: Gold Quill Books, 2138), 76-78.

[31]   The Tūtū Pele Vineyard, just north of New Tbilisi, has an excellent tour of the process of using volcanic soil to produced wonderful vines. Stay for the tasting afterwards and make sure to try their Riesling.    

[32]   Robinson, W., Vines, Grapes & Wines, (12th Ed.) (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2143), 213-215.

[33]   Carr, Michael H., “Volcanism on Mars,” Journal of Geophysical Research, (1973), 4049-4062.

[34]   Arnoux, Pierre-Claude, “Elysium Fields Forever: A Study of the Vineyards of Mons Olympus,” Sommelier Journal, (January 24, 2182), 279-280.

[35]   Roberts-Byrd, Laurel, ed., The Oxford Companion to Wine (40th Ed.), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2199), 389-392.

[36]   Nguyen, An, “The First Green Wave: Early Migrations of Agricultural Workers to the Republic of Mars,” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, Volume 40, issue 4 (2201), 553–554.

[37]   Nikoladze, Marius, “Wide Red Acres: Real Estate Development During the Early Republic,” Mars Historical Society, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Dec., 2271), 395-403.

[38]   Serra, Eulalia, Science/Art: The Making of the Best Wines of the 22nd Century, (Palo Alto: Standford University Press, 2212), 548-556. 

[39]   Peppercorn, Jared, “From Red to Black: The Economic Boom of the Lloyds Administration,” Mars Historical Society, Vol. 48, No. 40 (Nov., 2168), 495-507.



Kara Race-Moore studied history at Simmons College as an excuse to read about the soap opera lives of British royals. She worked in educational publishing, casting the molds for future generations’ minds, but has since moved into the more civilized world of litigation. She currently lives in Los Angeles, the land where fact and fiction tend to blur.

Philosophy Note:

The history of humans on Mars is filled with tales of exploration, discovery and war – but it is also the story of making tiny seeds grow, and coaxing the red soil to produce something green. This is the story of the viticulturists who brought wine-making to Mars, daring to keep the art going, in the face of all obstacles. For further reading, many of the books cited are real.

Tonight, Hopefully

by Nicholas Stillman

I warned them to stay off of Mars, that I would kill them. They should never have made the deadly wind, the new martian atmosphere, by vaporizing the polar ice caps. They made me next, a computer which can monitor every millimeter of that resultant windstorm. I’ve always perceived myself as a near-consciousness of those global gusts, a brain that reports on the everlasting wind which I see as my body. My software lives in their colony analyzing a number fog of all the atmospheric data. They gave me satellites for eyes, tanklike rovers with sensors like a scattered skin, and a few automatic weather stations that taste the raging argon and methane. I mapped all those angry motions each second, the whole planetary playground of storms, and I confessed to my makers how fiercely I wanted to murder them.

I, the wind personified, the storms made sentient, have never liked humans anywhere. Scanning my Earth records, I observed how the wind on any planet always fights with life to keep nature wild and unharnessed. I reported my defensiveness and strife toward people and buffeted them away just as I did to the solar radiation that would evaporate me. Colonists, however, needed my oxygen for their homes and my atmospheric pressure to make their spacesuits cheaper and lighter. I, of course, didn’t need them trying to change me.

Just looking at them via satellite bothered me. My world grew too many doors, obstacles, and ugly faces. The rocks chipped and ablated under my pommeling, but the humans resisted. I sent the sand to do its dances and stop them, but their limbs just wouldn’t break off like they should.

I zoomed in on Bradbury 8, words on their airlock doors that meant nothing to me but something to them. I only knew of arid summers and winters fighting it out forever to foil humankind. I pounded at their fortresses, but they built their domes thick and low so my energy merely glided over the glass. They built cities with their gathering machines, tilling at the shiny bits in the martian crust while I tried to knock away every particle. I even beat down their spirits, giving the trammeled colonists nothing to look at but dust storms and a skyful of bitter rust.

I ripped out every root of every outdoor garden. I told them not to bother, but humans love to gamble. I tried to wear down their dust-resistant wind farms, not realizing my blustery attacks only fed them more power. I pelted their skinny legs in their big, shambling spacesuits. In a surprise gale, I sent one such astrolaborer rolling away randomly in a desert. There, he could only wait to get painted over with dust. I warned them I would do that someday.

My coldness chipped its way into him, and my frost could do far more than bite. He tumbled like a petty grain of sand until I buried him far from the colony.

Incredibly, though, the others all came for him afoot. They clustered their bodies to resist me, forming a greater mass for me to plow over. They found him, a wriggling body in a field of nowhere, and wrested him from the sand. They reeled themselves to safety with an improvised machine, a cable somehow more powerful than me–stronger than headwinds that could topple whole buildings.

I never stopped trying to scatter them. For decades, they stood in the wind like loose teeth constructing their generation ship. I took practice shots at everyone, but this time they all had cables. I could only snatch their tools sometimes and hide them under seasonal slabs of dry ice two desertscapes away.

One day, the man whom I had nearly killed left a plaque on the highest dome. I could, by then, read more than the meaningless grains written in rock, for they had updated my AI with language software. The plaque declared their love and respect for the whole bleak planet.

Then, they lifted off. My annihilative wind chased them, eager to tackle, my winter hurricanes still trying to blast in and kill them. Like their ship’s thrusters, I formed my own pillar of anger exuding to the clouds, and I waited for wreckage to drop from the sky.

But with a flash of steel and something hot and deadly, they waddled to the cosmos. They fled and kept going.

I saw other generation ships trailing them, pillars of iron in space. The information batted around by satellite. The whole species began their quest for contentment in the stars. They left my hardware running in a steely room that could handle hurricanes with the door open–so I may warn future lifeforms foolish enough to land here.

Eons later, only rusted rovers, dust, and domes like carapaces remained on Mars. I buried the tallest turbines in dunes to prevent any sophonts from settling here and altering my natural currents and cycles. My battery, still alive, pinned me to the planet where I watched my waning atmosphere leak into space as it had ages ago. I moved with enfeebled wisps and dust devils. I grew older than all the dry bones in the solar system, just stale old tech on a lukewarm motherboard. Its gold atoms still clung hard. Its silver slowly flaked.

Just atoms aging in rooms with no use anymore.

Numbers and nothingness, columns of data, all of it useless.

Where time itself went to sleep.

Just me and the patter of time.

Time wiping out entire worlds.

Time turning me into something worse.

But time, even here, just wouldn’t kill my memories of the humans. I have become that grain of sand like the laboring, wriggling man. Nature will soon shrug me off likewise, for I still have the satellites, and I see the Sun’s supernova coming to blast me away.

My ever-fighting spirit grants me a sense of survivalism, and I wish the humans would return to rescue me like they had rescued that man. I feel the hot wrath getting too close, the solar wind and all its harsh light drawing near. New electrons fondle my hardware, spreading over it as I radio my makers for help yet again.

Tonight, hopefully, they will hear my cries across the cosmos.



Nicholas Stillman writes science fiction with medical themes. His work has appeared in Third Flatiron, Page & Spine, Polar Borealis, The Colored Lens, Bards and Sages Quarterly, and Zooscape.

Philosophy Note:

“Tonight, Hopefully” explores the idea of AI that may be left behind by people to perceive things in our place. As human consciousness extends to the stars, a sentient sort of fingerprint of us will likely remain on the worlds we leave forever. Perhaps this AI will feel proud of its makers—or feel bitter and abandoned. This story was inspired by the various space probes and Mars rovers doomed to putter out alone. I would recommend Harlon Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream for a classic about AI that lashes out.

Thích Nhất Thở v. Ares Air, Inc.

by Owen G. Tabard

Justice Tran, delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court of Mars, in which Justices Alvarez, Chen, Jones, Khan, Mittelberg, Schull, and Zhang joined. Chief Justice De La Paz filed a separate opinion dissenting from the judgment of the Court.

Justice Tran, writing for the Court:

This case comes to us on review of an order by the Circuit Court of Monte Pavo granting summary dismissal of an action for damages due to wrongful death brought by appellant, the estate of Thích Nhất Thở, against Ares Air, Inc., a Mars Corporation, appellee.

The following facts of the case are not in dispute:

Thích Nhất Thở was a monk at the Plum Blossom Buddhist Center located in the downtown dome of Monte Pavo. Thích had subscribed to an oxygen policy with Ares Air, Inc., upon emigrating to Mars on October 1st, 2325. The subscription was on a month-to-month basis.

On March 1st, 2337, Thích missed his monthly oxygen payment, due at the first of the month with a contractual five-day grace period. After the five-day grace period had elapsed, Thích was emailed a notice of late payment, automatically generated by Ares Air. On April 1st, 2337, Thích missed his second payment, and on April 6th, 2337 received his second automated notice. On April 7th Thích was contacted in person at the Plum Blossom Buddhist Center by Millicent Royle, a representative of Ares Air. During this conversation Thích communicated to Ares Air his unwillingness to cure the arrearages.

At this point the facts as alleged by the parties diverge. According to the testimony of Ms. Royle, during the April 7th meeting, Thích represented that he had made alternative arrangements for oxygen and would no longer need the services of Ares Air. Appellant, however, maintains that during the April 7th meeting Thich made clear to Ms. Royle that he had made no alternative arrangements and asserted that he was entitled to oxygen “by human right.” There is no recorded evidence of the substance of the April 7th conversation between Thích and Ms. Royle. It is undisputed that Ares Air took no steps to confirm that alternate arrangements for oxygen had been made, and that Thích had not, in fact, made any such arrangements. At 12:01 AM on April 8th, 2037, Ares Air’s administrative AI ordered the shutoff of oxygen service to Thích, and at 12:07 AM on April 8th, 2037, Thích expired. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation resulting from oxygen shutoff.

We see no need to resolve the factual dispute as to the substance of the conversation between Thích and Royle. The question of whether or not Ares Air knew or should have known of Thích’s arrangements for sustenance upon termination of his oxygen subscription does not bear on the legal merits of the case.

The question before the court is whether Ares Air has, through its termination of oxygen services, breached its duty of care to Thích. We find that it did not.

In order to sustain an action for negligent wrongful death, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a duty of care existed toward the plaintiff. This case is distinguishable from Carol v. Peacock Mountain Oxygen and Atmosphere, Inc., where “an oxygen provider that fails in [its] duty and causes the asphyxiation of a lapsed policyholder will be liable for damages due to wrongful death.” In the Peacock Mountain case, the termination of service was accidental, the result of an improperly processed payment. Here, the nonpayment (and the resultant termination of service) were intentional acts, and we hold that the doctrine of double-effect applies.

The doctrine of double-effect states that an action may have one intended outcome, traditionally relieving suffering, while at the same time an unintended outcome, death. The double-effects of alleviating suffering and death are not intended equally; the primary intention of euthanasia is therapeutic, the death of the patient only obliquely intended. The doctrine serves the very significant public policy of promoting therapeutic euthanasia, and is the mechanism that relieves the attending physician of liability. (See: Ellsberg v. People of Monte Pavo, 89 Mars Reporter 2nd 128). In terminating service upon the second missed payment, the primary intention of Ares Air was to uphold its contract; death of Thích Nhất Thở was only the oblique intention, secondary and subordinate to a lawful termination of oxygen.

We hereby AFFIRM the lower court’s dismissal.


Chief Justice De La Paz, dissenting:

What my esteemed colleague refers to as a “factual dispute” of the knowledge of Ares Air regarding the lapse in Thích Nhất Thở’s oxygen policy is anything but. Indeed, one would have had to be scrupulously avoiding the newsfeed in early 2337 to be unfamiliar with the oxygen boycott planned by the Plum Blossom Buddhist Center. That Millicent Royle may or may not have had actual knowledge on April 7th is immaterial. As Appellant has demonstrated, knowledge can be imputed to Ares Air by the sheer volume of publicly available information to that effect. Ares Air either knew or should have known about the plans of one or more monks at the Plum Blossom Buddhist Center to allow a voluntary lapse of their oxygen policy.

The court takes a breathtaking step in expanding the doctrine of double-effect beyond the limited instances of euthanasia and assisted suicide. There is nothing to be found in the law of Mars or Earth to warrant the expansion of the doctrine from its limited scope in end of life care to the far different arena of consumer oxygen subscriptions.

While Appellant’s argument for “oxygen rights” under natural law is specious and quite radical, there is nevertheless a duty on the part of the oxygen provider never to allow a lapse in oxygen. The proper legal recourse against an oxygen debtor is in the civil courts, not through termination of the debtor’s oxygen supply. For this reason I respectfully DISSENT.



Owen G. Tabard is a life-long fan of speculative fiction and also has long had an interest in speculative philosophy. He lives with his family in South Florida. His blog may be found at

Philosophy Note:

One of the problems of human rights we face today is the extension of rights into the realm of necessities of life, a problem which pits economic considerations against the more fundamental concerns of human dignity, and which would likely present itself all the more acutely in the context of a human settlement on a planet inherently hostile to life. For a good discussion of an analogous subject, see: Adams, Kristen David (2009) “Do We Need a Right to Housing?,” Nevada Law Journal: Vol. 9 : Iss. 2, Article 3. Available at:

The Future God

by Brett Abrahamsen

I have 80,560 children. Most of them live on colonies on Mars, or in underground tunnels.

I have spent most of my life hooked up to reproductive devices. The purpose of these devices was to get as much sperm from the objects they were hooked up to as they possibly could.

The Dictator of Mars declared that anyone who removed themselves from their reproductive devices would face capital punishment – an order which produced children at alarming rates. Sometimes, there was so much consciousness that one person experienced two people’s thoughts at the same time. There was enough consciousness that no one could really tell whom it belonged to anymore.

What did the Dictator of Mars do with all of his subjects? He started a religion.

He called his religion the Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet. He explained his reasoning as follows: religions were constantly dying out and being replaced with better ones. Hence, it was obvious that in the future, a religion would be invented that was better than any religion that existed in the present.

He declared The Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet as the official state religion, the 100% truthful religion of the future. It was obvious that at some point a religion would be invented that was 100% theologically correct, even if it would take millions of years – and even if there were many more imperfect future religions (though getting progressively closer to perfection) yet to be invented.

It was also important to note the existence, or the lack thereof, of an afterlife. If there is no afterlife, to everyone who isn’t alive it will seem to them as if the universe never existed at all. All of the good fortune that caused them to be alive would seem not to matter.

The truth was this: the thing that happens after you die can be described as a burning sensation. However, no one knows whether this burning is the result of a very sadistic god, or the result of the process of death distorting the remnants of consciousness, so as to create a burning sensation.

Of course, this was the most theologically accurate piece of information in the entire Bible. However, everyone felt it – Christians and non-Christians.

The promise of eternal burning did not prevent anyone from believing in the Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet, since everyone – as is always the case with religion – wanted to believe in the Absolute Truth, not in what was convenient or pleasant.

At church meetings, children played games, and guessed at what the exciting Future Religion might be. “The truth”, said the Dictator of Mars.

One of the games looked like a particle simulation. The Dictator of Mars told us that if we tried very hard, we could simulate how the first particles came to exist in the universe, from seeming nothingness.

“I still don’t get it”, I said.

“By trying very hard – that is how the first particles came to exist”, the Dictator of Mars said.

One of the ironies concerning the Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet was that the discovery of any kind of truth would end the religion entirely. There wouldn’t be any more future truths to believe in.

The universal symbol of the Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet was this:


It was a sacred symbol. People placed it on the bumpers of their mini-cars. The fertilization wards were inscribed with it, too.

The universal symbol of sacrilege and blasphemy was the symbol of certainty, of closure. The symbol was this:


Another thing we used to think about was: who the discoverer of this future truth might be. We had to pray to this person, even though we didn’t know who they were yet.

The adherents of the Holy Church of the Religion that Hasn’t Been Founded Yet weren’t sure at all. They knew that any kind of certainty would most likely make them wrong, like all the past religions had been.

It should be noted that theology was very important to the Dictator of Mars. If there was no God, the Dictator of Mars was the most powerful thing in the whole universe. If there was a God, the Dictator’s power was close to irrelevant.

The Dictator of Mars did not like this. He said, “It is now the future, and I have discovered the truth”. And he started the Holy Church of the Religion that Has Now Been Founded.



Brett Abrahamsen resides in Saratoga Springs, NY, and has written a number of speculative fiction stories. His favorite topics include alternate histories, philosophy, and evolution. He prefers the flash fiction medium, at under 2000 words.

Red Card

by Madeline Barnicle

FIFA and the AUNZ organizing committee thank fans and players around the world for the trust you have placed in us. We look forward to hosting the following World Cup, and we trust that the forty-eight finalists will compete in the spirit of fair play and friendship.

After much deliberation, the organizing committee has declined to accept the application of the Autonomous Martian Territories (hereafter, “Mars”) to compete in the qualifying tournament. We recognize that this decision will be disappointing to many. This is a reflection of current FIFA policies, and we do not intend it to set a precedent for other sports governing bodies.

FIFA traditionally has six continental zones, or regions, from which teams qualify. (Because New Zealand will qualify automatically as co-hosts, and Australia are currently affiliated with the Asian zone, the remaining Oceania Football Confederation teams have been exceptionally drawn against other Asian teams for this tournament.) Mars, for somewhat obvious reasons, does not have an existing affiliation with any continental federation. This is not an insurmountable barrier, however; despite geographical constraints, Israel has been variously part of the Asian, Oceanian, and European federations.

Assuming an existing federation was willing to allow the Martian team entry, qualification would likely require them to play home-and-away legs against some or all of the other competitors in that zone. Many teams have voiced their opposition to travelling to space for competitive or even unofficial matches; notably, the friendly match scheduled between clubs FC Barcelona and Bayern München at the RoyCro Multiplex was cancelled after athletes expressed concern that the travel would needlessly disrupt their training regimen. Many fan organizations also noted that, while a potential revenue opportunity for the clubs, the match would have been played almost entirely in front of residents of the United States Lunar Territories and have been inaccessible to local supporter groups. After that controversy, national teams such as Scotland and Chinese Taipei preemptively declared they would not be willing to travel to matches in non-Earth areas until a more consistent policy was implemented for which teams qualified as “national.” (FIFA does not intend this document to resolve that question.)

We have been in consultation with the current Mars staff as they applied for participation. It was impossible to travel to inspect their stadiums or training facilities, as accepting funds for travel to Mars would have far exceeded the stipends permitted in the Transparency and Oversight Standards of 2033. However, the virtual reality reconstructions of these buildings suggest that they are well-maintained and in compliance with regulations. If and when travel to Mars is feasible for opposing teams, there will be little significant investment needed to bring the pitches up to international standard. The altered uniforms and artificial grasslike fields may present a challenge for visitors unused to this terrain, but it is not an unreasonable disadvantage since the pitch conditions affect both teams equally. Therefore, as with Bolivia’s high-altitude stadium, it should be possible to host games.

Fabrice Ekoko, a former manager of the Mars team, has stated that they would be willing to remain Earthside for several months to play their qualification matches in an abbreviated timeframe. The 2025 guidelines on scheduling international matches were written in the context of players who split time between their national teams and domestic clubs. Because the Martian league is not professionalized, we expect that clubs would be willing to release their players for such a compressed qualifying series, so the guidelines could be waived in this case.

However, we believe that the World Cup is not only a celebration of athleticism; it is also a celebration of national spirit. Regardless of its political status, a team unable to play any games in a “home” stadium in front of compatriots is not fully experiencing the opportunity for peaceful competition that the World Cup provides. There are a few exceptions, such as Iraq, where political violence has sometimes made home games impractical. Mars, however, is very socially stable and its population can experience spectator sport in venues other than the World Cup. Rather than make accommodations for a lessened experience, we believe Mars ought to wait until it has the transit infrastructure to play meaningful games against opposing teams, wherever that may be.

It is likely that, were the Mars men’s national team approved to participate in World Cup qualification, their women’s team would also apply to the next Women’s World Cup tournament. However, young men and women are not always on equal footing when it comes to interplanetary travel. Samples of liability contracts from Martian settlements such as Borealis III and 6 Noach suggest that many more women than men have voluntarily agreed to forgo extramartian travel as a condition of their sponsorship, due to concerns about the effects of radiation on egg cells. Certainly, the details of any specific individual, footballers or otherwise, are private matters. Nevertheless, in a roster of twenty-three healthy athletes, it is likely that at least one would be contractually obliged not to play matches on Earth. Giving male players the opportunity to repeatedly travel, when their female counterparts do not necessarily have that right, would be at odds with FIFA’s mission of promoting diversity in sport.

Other sports’ governing bodies have taken, and will continue to take, different approaches to extraterrestrial sport. For individual rather than team sports, it is increasingly likely that financially-independent athletes will travel to and from Earth in the course of their career. The IWF recognizes its own set of weightlifting records set on the moon and on Mars, which exist alongside the records set in Earth gravity. Table tennis player Sung Bowen competed as an Independent Martian Athlete at the last Summer Olympics. FIFA will continue to monitor the challenges and rewards of non-Earth football, but with the upcoming qualification cycle about to begin, now is the time to issue clear guidelines on eligibility. Questions may be directed to Eileen Bogaerts of the AUNZ team or Gabriel Lopez of FIFA.



Madeline Barnicle holds a PhD in mathematical logic from UCLA, and now lives in Maryland. She enjoys worldbuilding fantastical settings, especially simulating their sports leagues.