Mars in Literature and Popular Culture
Influential Writers About Mars
Ray Bradbury (b.1920)
Noted author of the Martian Chronicles, tells stories about human exploration
and colonization of the red planet and its vanishing population of Martians which had
a powerful impact on science
fiction and world imagination.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (b.1875 d.1950)
Author of the John Carter of Mars
series of books, as well
as others which take place on the planet. Mixing fantasy and science fiction,
Burroughs increased interest in the planet, building on popular but fanciful
extrapolations by overeager astronomers, most prominently Percival Lowell.
Arthur C. Clarke (b.1917)
British born Sri Lankan author and scientist who has been a long-time
advocate of Mars exploration. His book Sands of Mars is seen as one of
the first realistic novels about the planet.
Robert A. Heinlein (b.1907 d.1988)
Graduate of the Naval Academy and noted author of several important
and well-done science fiction work about Mars, from classic juvenile works
to classic adult ones. Notable works include Stranger in a Strange Land,
Podykayne of Mars, and Red Planet.
C. S. Lewis (b. 1898 d. 1963)
A scholar of medieval and Renaissance literature, a
much loved children's writer, and an eloquent Christian apologist, Lewis used a
Martian setting for Out of the Silent Planet (1938), the first volume of his
science fiction trilogy. His version of Mars is of a peaceful planet untouched
by sin, where three races coexist in harmony.
C. L. Moore (b. 1911)
Catherine Moore's long short story Shambleau(1933) is
notable for its combination of elements from the horror story and the Wild West.
Her Mars is a frontier society where Shambleau, half vampire, half Medusa preys
on transients and adventurers. Moor made her living by writing for the pulps.
Kim Stanley Robinson (b.1952)
Science fiction author whose recent series of books on Mars has
met with great success and stands as perhaps the most realistic
look at the colonization of Mars in literature.
Alexei Tolstoy (b. 1882 d. 1945)
A Russian writer and distant cousin of Leo. One
of Alexei Tolstoy's two science fiction novels is Aelita(1922); experimental in
technique, and frequently censored, it tells the story of Soviet astronauts who
start a revolution among the oppressed Martians. The silent film version (1924)
is an early example of science fiction cinema.
H.G. Wells (b.1866 d.1946)
Along with Mary Shelley and Jules Verne, he is one of the forebears of modern science fiction.
His work War of the Worlds, where desperate, technologically
advanced Martians attack Earth, created the standard alien invasion story
redone with variations for the next 100 years. His work was based on the
popular non-fiction works by Percival Lowell. In turn, his work was adapted
some 40 years later by Orson Wells.