It Began with a Dream of a Log Cabin on Planet Mars
I came to inside a log cabin, about 400 sq ft, single room, maybe six bunk-beds at the west end, where the miners slept, and with a tin woodstove in the center of it all, rusted and cold.
Outside was all Mars, wind and sand, and three concrete platforms where, in years past, the miners and geologists packed their core samples.
How long had this camp been abandoned? The beds were stripped of their linens--mattresses mildewed but not rotten.
Why the Hell was I on Mars?
There was red, rotary telephone mounted on the north wall, by the window, and lacking a disc for dialling. I picked up the handset and listened... static and fuzz... finally, the Operator came on, saying, "The phone connection to Earth is no longer viable..."
Or words to that effect.
I've written it all before, and I'm sure it changes every time I re-tell it, as Memory Itself changes. It was the basis of several pieces of speculative fiction by my pseudonym, W. Bill Czolgosz, but, as a drama, it was difficult to connect all the pieces required to add believability to this tale of an Alternate Society in an Alternate Timeline on an Alternate Planet, where men like Bill could retire to bed in, say, Chicago, and wake up in the Western Basin, near Cydonia, on Mars...
So I sat and worked with it for a decade, off and on...