Sunday, 7 June 2015

Mars And Martians

Mars and Martians are a big subject. In fact, they need not even be a single subject. Mars can be uninhabited. Alternatively, if Martians are imagined to exist, then they can be encountered elsewhere, e.g., on Earth in Wells' The War Of The Worlds. Heinlein's Red Planet is set on an inhabited Mars whereas his A Stranger In A Strange Land features a Martian-raised man back on Earth.

When recently I listed Larry Niven as an author of a composite Mars, I forgot to mention that Martians also appear in his Known Space future history where water poisons them - and they continue to exist in the Map of Mars on the Ringworld long after a human protector has exterminated them in the Solar System.

I have mentioned Poul Anderson's several races of Martians but Anderson also presents a Mars that was uninhabited until colonized by human beings. See:

AI, Desert Planets And Jihads
Visions Of Mars

A desert planet where water is precious and where human bodies must be entirely covered to protect them from the environment - SM Stirling's Mars sounds like Herbert's Dune, except that Dune is hot whereas Mars is cold.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I don't know if you have noticed it, but S.M. Stirling's IN THE COURTS OF THE CRIMSON KINGS has what I consider an interesting "Asimovian" touch. Each chapter of the book is prefaced with extracts from the 1998 edition of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, giving us some information on some of what we see in those chapters. Isaac Asimov does the same thing in his original three, and best, FOUNDATION books. Each chapter begins with extracts from the ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA, giving us some information about what we see in those chapters.

Frank Herbert did something similar with DUNE, altho there he did not use a futuristic, fictional encyclopedia. Rather, he gives us quotes from the writings of the Princess Irulan and other contemporaries of Paul Muad-dib Atreides.

Poul Anderson, by contrast, seldom used this method. Which I rather regret. I do recall him sometimes prefacing parts of his works with quotes from the Bible or the works of Kipling.