The successful landing of the Mars scientific laboratory, Curiosity, has reawakened our fascination with our neighboring planet. Mars has long sparked the imagination of writers and has been the setting for many science fiction adventures. I have pulled together a list of some of those books that we have here in Special Collections.
One of the best known collections of stories about Mars is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was an American author who died earlier this year. The New York Times obituary reads, “(b)y many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” The Martian Chronicles was first published in 1950. Our copy was published in 1974 by The Limited Editions Club. Only two thousand copies were made. Our copy is signed by Bradbury and the illustrator.
The Ship that Sailed to Mars by William Timlin is considered by many to be a fantasy classic. Timlin was born in England and later moved to South Africa and was an architect by trade. This story grew out of bedtime adventures that he told to his son.
Red Star is a Russian science fiction novel written by Alexander Bogdanov about a socialist utopia on Mars. It was first published in 1908. Our copy is an English translation that was published in 1984, that also includes Bogdanov’s novel, Engineer Menni, and his poem, A Martian Stranded on Earth, both about Mars and Martians.
To Mars Via the Moon was written by Mark Wicks, an amateur astronomer and member of the British Astronomical Association. It was published in 1911. Wicks wanted to write a scientifically accurate story for a general audience that speculated on what might occur on a space flight to another planet and what might be discovered there. In his preface to this novel he states that he has made every effort “to ensure that this scientific information shall be thoroughly accurate, so that in this respect the book may be referred to with as much confidence as any ordinary textbook.”
The History of the World in Epitome (For use in Martian infant schools.) by Bertrand Russell was published by Gaberbocchus Press in 1962 to celebrate Bertrand Russell’s ninetieth birthday.
Senior Library Technician