Saturday, March 1, 2014

Help me identify this old SF story

My internist eschewed SF a long time ago but--of course!--read it enthusiastically as a pre-adult. And now he's getting interested again.

He's been thinking about a story he read as a kid, in one of the magazines of the day (I'm guessing 50s), something like Analog or Astounding (he thinks it began with an A). But he doesn't remember the title or author.

He's asked me to help him identify it. So I'm asking you. 

Here's the plot as he remembers it:

A ship crash-lands on a planet. The damage is so bad that it will take a long time--generations--to repair. The inadvertent colonists immediately set about the task. The problem? Each generation lives shorter lives than the last. And the rate of reduction in lifespan accelerates. He remembers lots of tension: will they get the ship aloft before they become extinct?
Do you recognise any part of this? If so, please drop a comment, or tweet, or email me. This doctor has gone above and beyond for me and mine; I'd like to return the favour.
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