A short novel by Robert Sheckley published in 1956 with the nickname and pseudonym of 'Ned Lang'. The story it's a short space adventure that, despite the brevity of its contents, reach anyway to send a message to the readers that it's at the same time ethical and ironic in the perfect style of an author I would like to consider as one of the greatest in his genre. We are on board on the space freighter Queen Dierdre, 'a great, squat, pockmarked vessel of the Earth-Mars run'. His engineer, Mr. Watkins, during the travel, notice that the spaceship has got some malfunctions into its circuits and that there're actually no possibilities of repair them. In the meanwhile the spaceship is going to cross the orbit of Mars and apparently the only solution to survive it is to curve back into the Solar System and for the first time make a ship going past Mars, but this kind of maneuver it's too difficult to do and they're probably going to not be saved if they will try it. Definitely, the only conclusion for all the astronauts, including Captain Somers, it is to ask the computer on board which would be the better solution, but with any evidences machines couldn't find a solution where there're actually not. Short but fascinating. Written more than ten years before '2001: A Space Odissey', possibly anticipates in short some of the themes wil later be argumented by Arthur C. Clarke and, of course, many other authors in sci-fi fiction and literature.