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:
"What's It Like Out There?" by Edmond Hamilton
"Crucifixus Etiam" by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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?