Going to Mars Word-by-Word: the Landis Way

The next stop in our Going to Mars Word-by-Word tour is Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Published by Tor Books in 2000, this is the first novel by an experienced and award-winning short story author. It won a nomination for a Nebula and won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2001.  Hop aboard for a gritty, near-future science fiction tale of the exploration of Mars the Landis way.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT By 2028, two missions have been sent to Mars. Both the Brazilian and the American expeditions met with catastrophe and death on the Red Planet. A NASA-private venture hopes the third mission to Mars will be the first to return. Their plan relies on a return vessel sent to Mars years earlier, capable of manufacturing fuel for the return trip from the Martian atmosphere. The mixed-gender, multi-national crew of six lands on Mars successfully but their celebrations are short-lived. A catastrophic failure kills one of the crew and causes irreparable damage to the return ship. And there is no hope of a rescue mission coming from Earth. As a last-ditch effort to survive, they set out to cross 4,000 miles of Mars to the north pole […]

Mars, Word by Word: A Princess of Mars

What do you get when you mix a Civil War hero with barbaric Green Martians, ferocious beasts, and a breathtakingly-beautiful Red Martian Princess? A novel of interplanetary romance and an action-packed adventure called A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB). Our first stop on our journey to Mars, Word by Word. Written in 1911, this story had several working titles: “My First Adventure on Mars,” “The Green Martians,” and “Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess.” Re-titled “Under the Moons of Mars” it was published under the byline Norman Bean as a monthly serial from February to July 1912 in All Story Magazine. Norman, aka ERB, was paid the extravagant sum of $400. When I sat down to read A Princess of Mars, I made a conscious decision to overlook certain things. Societal views of the roles of men and women were quite different in 1911 from what we think of today. Some word choices that were perfectly acceptable then, have considerably different usage today. To present-day readers, turn-of-the-century writing traditions of asides, addressing the reader, and explicit foreshadowing seem archaic and heavy-handed. ERB, a writer of his time, used all of those traditions. He also used the device that the […]

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send the Humans Over!

A seven month, 354-million-mile journey is worth celebrating with a mash-up. Congratulations to NASA for the successful landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars. It’s a phenomenal accomplishment. Over the next months to years, the rover Curiosity will investigate Mars’ habitability, study its climate and geology, and collect data for a manned mission to Mars. Red Rover, Red Rover, Send the Humans Over! Curiosity’s First Low-Resolution Color Panorama Follow the further adventures of Curiosity on NASA’s website. Sending men to Mars is vaguely in NASA’s future plans, but Elon Musk, internet entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX, believes man can be on Mars in 12-15 years.   A human settlement on Mars by 2023 Read more about Mars One, an international effort to put men on Mars. Granted, there have been many dreams of sending men to Mars. This article from Wired, Humans on Mars: the Craziest, Weirdest, and Most Plausible Plans in History, touches on a few. This is just the beginning. Mars is the next frontier. It begs to be explored. Would I go if I could? My enthusiasm says ‘Heck, Yeah!’ In reality, I probably wouldn’t be one of the first. I’m not usually that adventurous. But I […]