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Apropos of nothing -well, maybe my brain starting to come out of the fog imposed by too much work, not enough sleep, and a few too many carbohydrates this weekend- it occurred to me that there are only a handful of SF stories that depict the exploration and conquest of Mars as the difficult, dirty and very likely lethal undertaking it'll probably be when we finally get around to it. The three stories that come to mind are all fairly old, too:

  1. "What's It Like Out There?" by Edmond Hamilton

  2. "Crucifixus Etiam" by Walter M. Miller Jr.

  3. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

There are newer stories that show a Mars that's decayed into a galactic-scale slum world (Dan Simmons' Hyperion, for example, and James Daniel Ross' Radiation Angels stories) but none that are quite as bleak as Hamilton and Miller's Mars. Anyone know any others?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
"Mechanicus" in the Warhammer 40K novels.
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
I really need to read some more of those.
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
"Birth of Fire" by Jerry Pournelle.

Hard SF, with the added bonus of nitwits who object to adding water because it'll change the environment.

I know Doc. He's not psychic... but he's the only person I've met that I'm certain is smarter than I am.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
I didn't get the impression that Kevin Senecal and his compatriots were living quite as squalidly as Hamilton's Third Expedition men or Miller's Project workers, but it's been a while since I read that Laser Books edition to death.

And yes, Dr. P is indeed scary smart; possessed of encyclopedic knowledge to boot.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Admittedly the people doing the work are making the policies. I never thought about it before, but that does seem to be the only way to get things done sensibly; consider NASA before the MBAs moved in.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Um... in the book? Birth of Fire? The colonists were living far better than in Crucifixus Etiam (DAYUM, Miller was a genius!) because the people doing the work were the ones setting the priorites. Consequently they did not have such problems as (to pick a totally hypothetical example) the main computer being located between the air filter and the toilet.
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay. Didn't follow your chain of thought there.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
I wasn't overly impressed with it. Never finished the trilogy, and until you reminded me, completely forgot about it.
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
Red Mars - Kim Stanly Robinson
Thought the series began like lightning ... ended like drizzle. Friend of mine commented - if you're going to write a trilogy don't kill off the 3 most interesting characters in the first book.

Apr. 20th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Part of the novel I'm presently writing takes place in a Mars colony.
Apr. 20th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
OH! And The Martian Way by Issac Azimov.

Their method of dealing with the water shortage was awesome!
Apr. 21st, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
And imitated by many writers since. It's pretty much the obvious answer, really.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )



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