5 outstanding books about Mars that should not be missed
Aelita, Alexey Tolstoy
First Edition: 1923
Aelita is a true classic of Soviet science fiction, one of the first Russian novels about Mars. In this book on the Red Planet there is a highly developed civilization, the signals from which are received on Earth. A couple of Soviet travelers, an adventurer and engineer, set off for Mars, and they become the catalyst for a revolutionary explosion. Unlike Burroughs, whose John Carter mystically came to Mars, Tolstoy turned to science. And his heroes, according to the precepts of Tsiolkovsky, traveled on a rocket.
However, Aelita should be called adventure and social rather than science fiction. Alexey Tolstoy created a touching and beautiful love story between a Soviet engineer and a Martian princess. And along the way, the author raised philosophical questions and topics that excited him, such as the fight against tyranny. In 1924, Aelita was honored with a film adaptation, which became one of the best films of the silent film era. And the book, although today looks somewhat naive, has passed the test of time with honor and can rightfully be called one of the most outstanding science fiction novels about Mars, written at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
First Edition: 1950
The author of the famous dystopia “451 degrees Fahrenheit” became famous precisely thanks to the “Martian Chronicles”. It is amazing that Bradbury began writing about Mars back in the forties of the last century. And for the first time “Martian Chronicles” was published in 1950, but the topics that Bradbury explores remain relevant and interesting to this day.
“Martian Chronicles” is a collection of short stories about Mars and the various stages of its development by mankind. With his inherent mastery, the author describes the first man’s flights to a neighboring planet, the beginning of its colonization, meeting with local aborigines, conflicts between nations, the imminent threat of global war ... Bradbury not only tells interesting stories where he compares life on Earth and on the Red Planet, but also reflects on the essentials - what is man and what is his place in the universe.
Bradbury devoted not only the Martian Chronicles themselves to the red planet, but also a number of stories that are not part of their canon, but no less touching and interesting.
Martian Time Shift, Philip Dick
First Edition: 1962
The author of such famous books as “Ubik” and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Also devoted one of the books to the Red Planet. The description of the lives of people on Mars in his book evokes associations with the “Martian Chronicles” by Bradbury. Aborigines eventually abandoned their settlements and run wild. Meanwhile, people, on the contrary, are eager to populate Mars with all their might. The earth has become too uncomfortable a place to live, in comparison with which the Martian open spaces are seen by earthlings as a real paradise.
Philip Dick twisted the plot around the autistic boy Manfred, who knows how to look into the future. This wants to take advantage of a businessman eager to find out the UN plans for sales of Martian lands. But why did he get that the future that Manfred sees is not a figment of his fantasies? Philip Dick has always masterfully studied the issues of reality and its perception, and the Martian Time Shift was another proof of this.
The Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
First Edition: 1992
If the “Martian Chronicles” by Bradbury is still bright, emotional and romanticized fantasy, then the “Martian Trilogy” by Robinson is a solid science fiction, striving for ultimate reliability.
Kim Stanley Robinson unfolds a large-scale picture of the colonization of Mars, starting from the flight of the first colonists. Adaptation and life on the Red Planet are described in such detail that often “Red Mars” is jokingly called a real “manual for the colonists”. The author tried extremely convincingly from the point of view of modern knowledge to describe the scientific, economic and social problems that humanity may face when exploring Mars, and how to solve them. The second volume of the trilogy, “Green Mars”, tells about the era of terraforming of the gradually becoming less and less red planet and the struggle of its people for independence. Finally, in the “Blue Mars” we are witnessing how the rising Martian civilization leads humanity in the further development of the solar system.
The Martian, Andy Weyer
First Edition: 2011
Andy Weyer instantly became a science fiction star, writing a tense and relatively reliable robinsonade about survival on Mars. The protagonist of the novel and the film based on his motives was the astronaut Mark Watney, who was left alone on the Red Planet. The crewmates, who had to urgently leave Mars, considered him dead during the storm. But Mark survived and now he is waiting for a desperate struggle for survival, while on Earth they are trying to find a way to save the astronaut, who is alone stuck on another planet.
The Martian is a life-affirming, ironic and intense romance with a very charming hero, to whom the book owes much of its success. Another important advantage of the book is that, although at times Weyer allows himself fantastic liberties, in general his novel is very realistic. Moreover, thanks to science, Mark manages not to fall in an unequal struggle with the dangers of the Red Planet. Moreover, chemistry, physics, biology, astrodynamics and astronautics are described by Weyer very vividly and accessible even to a reader who is far from science.