This disposition would recomplicate over the ensuing decades into a more general theme of Mars as a "fresh start" for those dissatisfied with life on Earth. The early sf pulps were resonant with echoes of The War of the Worlds. Outside the pulps one work stands out from all others as a key contribution to the mythology of Mars: C S Lewis 's sf novel Out of the Silent Planet , in which Mars is a world whose life-system is organized according to Christian ethical principles rather than the logic of Darwinian natural selection.
The signal attributes of Lowellian Mars echo through many of the stories of this period — even Lewis retained the canals — but increasing knowledge of real conditions on the planet and John W Campbell Jr's editorial insistence on more careful speculative logic suppressed the "traditional" image of Mars in the pulps' primary sf market, Astounding Science-Fiction.
Its exotic qualities were played down and replaced by the kind of "realism" encapsulated by P Schuyler Miller 's "The Cave" January Astounding , an ironic story in which Martian lifeforms kill an Earthman who violates the truce which they all must observe in order to survive the long Martian night.
Martian exotica flourished nevertheless, particularly in the work of Leigh Brackett , whose "Martian Quest" February Astounding was in Astounding but who went on to do the bulk of her work for Planet Stories. Ray Bradbury subsequently brought the romantic image of Mars to a kind of impressionistic perfection in The Martian Chronicles coll of linked stories ; rev vt The Silver Locusts ; the latter and many subsequent editions have variant contents. In these stories Mars is dead but still haunted by the ghosts of an extinct civilization, visited by Earthmen who become doubly haunted by virtue of the echoes of their own Earthly past which follow them.
Bradbury called Mars a "mirror", and he resurrects the use of Mars as a vehicle for critical comment on terrestrial issues. The stories are heavy with nostalgia and extraordinarily seductive. In the s the romance of exotic Mars was mostly left behind as the dominant theme became the problems of Colonization of a planet with barely enough water and barely enough oxygen — though the great difficulty of Space Flight to this destination tended to be optimistically understated, as in Wernher von Braun's nonfiction Das Marsprojekt Weltraumfahrt ; ; trans Henry J White as The Mars Project Notable stories in this newly realistic vein were Lodestar: The new realism, however, did not completely supplant the old romanticism: Heinlein 's Red Planet includes Lowellian canals, a variety of native lifeforms, and an ancient civilization alongside its human colony.
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New themes also germinated in the colonial soil which would become staples of Mars myth thereafter, including the rebellion of the Mars colony against Earthly domination, human physiological adaptation to Martian conditions, and strife between proponents of Terraforming and those who prefer Mars in its natural state the "red-green" schism that would preoccupy the Mars fiction of the s. Indigenous lifeforms are frequently featured in these novels, but few are hostile though Gordon 's Martians keep his stranded astronaut as a kind of pet ; an exception is in Kenneth F Gantz 's Not in Solitude An uninhabited Mars becomes a grim Prison colony in the relentlessly dystopian Farewell, Earth's Bliss ; rev by D G Compton , while twenty-sixth-century Mars is a run-down, second-class colony squeezed by rivalry between Earth and Earth's extra-solar settlements in John Brunner 's Born Under Mars The mythology of Mars moved into a new phase in the early s as the scenarios of earlier days began to reappear in a somewhat surrealized form.
Heinlein 's Stranger in a Strange Land ; text restored revives the "man from Mars" motif with the story of a human raised by Martians who returns to Earth to build a religious philosophy out of the elements of their cultural heritage.
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Walter Tevis offers a bleak variation in The Man Who Fell to Earth ; his alien visitor — from a planet never explicitly said to be Mars, though internal evidence makes the identification nearly certain — comes seeking a refuge for the few survivors of his home planet's nuclear Holocaust , but finds human society so corrupt and repellent that he ends in despair of its future as well. The s and early s represented a low ebb in Mars fiction; specifically addressing the reasons for this, Old Mars anth edited by Gardner Dozois and George R R Martin assembles original stories set in Planetary Romance versions of Mars, arguably given their date of composition comprising a series of Parallel World tales.
But at the time, the discouragement of Mariner had sunk in, and Viking in would only confirm with disheartening detail an image of Mars inhospitable to life, with conditions so harsh that even a human colony seemed increasingly out of reach. Lin Carter produced pastiches of Brackett — The Man Who Loved Mars and The Valley where Time Stood Still — but they are blatant fakes; Brackett herself along with many other writers had moved on to new worlds beyond the solar system. Some grappled with the bleak new Mars in works of comparably desolate mood: A few writers nevertheless kept the dream of native Martian life alive: In the mids, however, interest in Mars expeditions and Colonization began a surprising revival.
A group of scientists and aerospace engineers calling themselves the "Mars Underground" formed to reexamine the challenges of the project, NASA held a conference on Mars in the first such since Viking , and some writers began to see near-future Colonization as a viable subject again, as in Lewis Shiner 's grittily realistic Frontera , though his Mars colony is a slummy place without much hope or vigour.
A City on the Edge of Forever , claiming evidence of mysterious alien structures including the famous "Face" visible in the Viking photograph 35A Mars was again the topic of excited speculation, but not everyone was entirely convinced. Terry Bisson gives the epic journey to Mars a mercilessly satirical treatment in Voyage to the Red Planet , and Stephen Baxter implies considerable pessimism about the political feasibility of such a mission in Voyage , which he felt it necessary to set in an Alternate History where the priorities of America and NASA are subtly redirected. These works treat the difficulties facing trips to and colonies on Mars seriously, and never underplay the dangers of the cold, dry, nearly airless world, but they also reveal the beginnings of an aesthetic appreciation for the landscapes photographed by Viking.
Greg Bear focuses on the social and political opportunities of a Mars colony — the traditional "fresh start" — in Moving Mars , in which the theme of rebellion returns to the fore and is only resolved by a feat of wild speculative physics. Kevin J Anderson 's Climbing Olympus revisits the idea of physiologically altering humans via Genetic Engineering for life in the Martian environment, and develops an interesting twist on the Terraforming debate, as the earliest — and most radically altered — colonists resist the efforts of later arrivals to overhaul the climate.
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The idea that Mars might be a promising world for Terraforming invigorated some of the best Mars fiction of the early s. The possibility that Terraforming might help resuscitate, at least for a brief while, a neo-romantic Mars is eloquently expressed in Ian McDonald 's fabulous Desolation Road and its even more whimsical, magic-realist sequel Ares Express In Paul J McAuley 's Red Dust , a baroque Chinese-dominated civilization of the twenty-sixth century has brought Mars to near-Earthlike conditions, only to allow it to begin slipping back toward its natural state.
Kim Stanley Robinson picked up the theme earlier than most with "Exploring Fossil Canyon" in Universe 12 , anth , ed Terry Carr and a follow-up novella, Green Mars September Asimov's ; chap dos , which look forward ironically to the days when conservationists are champions of the old red world against the nascent fertile one. A version of their case provides one of several strands of argument about Terraforming in Robinson 's ambitious Red Mars , which begins a trilogy on the planet and is followed by Green Mars — no connection to the novella — and Blue Mars This project has been acclaimed as a key work in the realistic school, the culmination to date of the Martian Terraforming theme, and more than any other work re-established Mars as a central concern of sf.
A 21st-Century Utopia , which despite its title vigorously defends the "red" viewpoint.source link
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The rise to prominence of Martian Terraforming stories had been prefigured by the work of the poet and cultural critic Frederick Turner , whose novel A Double Shadow , written in the immediate wake of the Viking landings, imagines twenty-fourth-century Martian colonists living underground while the often violent reshaping of the planet proceeds above. Genesis , an epic poem of 10, lines, presents the transformation of Mars in the form of neo-classical myth, with a focus on the passionate and sometimes deadly struggle between terraformers and radical ecotheists.
Between them, Robinson and Turner created a vision of Mars as compelling as that of Burroughs or Bradbury. As the Mars Pathfinder and Global Surveyor missions of galvanized public attention around the world, tales of Terraforming gave way again to those of near-future missions and settlement. William K Hartmann , a participating scientist on the Global Surveyor project, offers a realistic and sometimes lyrical picture of the early days of Colonization in Mars Underground , and Mars Crossing by Geoffrey A Landis , another working scientist, likewise lavishes attention on realistic technology and depictions of Martian vistas in a story of a stranded expedition.
The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must argues for the moral necessity of Martian exploration as well as a cheaper, non-governmental mission model; his novel, First Landing is little more than a fictionalized version of his views.
Zubrin founded the Mars Society in and has continued as its president to the present. In recent years Mars has retained its allure, and its treatment in sf has ramified in several directions. Far-future Posthumans take on the roles of the Greek gods, overseeing the re-enactment of the Trojan war from their home on Mars' Olympus Mons, in Dan Simmons 's Ilium and Olympos , while Kage Baker 's "The Empress of Mars" July Asimov's ; exp follows a delightfully eccentric cast of characters on a twenty-fourth-century Mars under development by the British Arean Company.
Invasions by technologically sophisticated Martians now seem completely obsolete, useful only for satirical purposes, as in Frederik Pohl 's The Day the Martians Came fixup , but the peril of Invasion by microbial Martian life drives the action in Paul J McAuley 's The Secret of Life and becomes the stuff of black humour in Rick Moody 's spectacularly uneven comic novel The Four Fingers of Death Others have found in Mars a chance to spin yarns of nostalgic simplicity: In Red Thunder , John Varley , possessed by the shade of Heinlein , rollicks through the tale of a backyard space programme that races a Chinese mission to Mars.
A sequel, Red Lightning , involves the creation of a Mars independent from corrupt Earth, while another, Rolling Thunder , has little to do with Mars. Click to view More Science fiction -- History and criticism. Mars Planet -- In literature. Mars Planet -- Exploration. Hendrix, George Slusser and Eric S. Summary "These 17 essays explore the study of Mars. Topics covered include the role of scientific discovery in the development of science fiction as a genre and the ways in which science fiction and popular discourse have influenced science; the extent of life in the solar system; and the presence of Mars in the work of popular writers" --Provided by publisher.
Visions of Mars
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