The Martian Chronicles – Chapter Sixteen

The Wilderness (May 2003/2034) It first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1952.

Two women, Janice Smith and Leonora Holmes, prepare to leave on a rocket to Mars, to find husbands or lovers waiting for them there. Janice muses on the terrors of space, drinks in last memories of the Earth she will soon be leaving, and compares her situation to that of the pioneer women of the 19th century American frontier.

This story only appears in the 1974 ion of The Martian Chronicles by The Heritage Press, the 1979 Bantam Books illustrated trade ion, and the 1997 ion of The Martian Chronicles. In its original form, the story was dated 2003, and this date is consistent with the other stories. As it seems in the 1997 ion, the date (together with all the other dates) has been shifted ahead 31 years, to May 2034.