The Hole Man

The Hole Man

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"The Hole Man" is a short story by American writer Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

. It won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story
Hugo Award for Best Short Story
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

 in 1975.

In this story, a team of explorers and scientists on Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 encounter an alien base, in which there is a still-functional communication device. One scientist believes that at the center of the device is a tiny black hole
Black hole
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

, but his superior does not believe him. During a heated argument with his superior, the scientist turns off the containment field, releasing the black hole. The hole drops right through his superior, killing him as it falls towards the center of the planet. At the end of the story, the release of the black hole is revealed to possibly endanger the explorers as it consumes Mars.