Long before the red planet became a target for unmanned expeditions and remote exploration, Mars has fascinated humanity. Science fiction authors, in particular, have a fondness for our neighboring planet and it wasn’t so long ago that humanity thought that Mars had some form of water and life. Of course, thanks to Mariner in the 1960s, a lot of the mysteries about Mars were dispelled, but there are still a wealth of imaginative books about the planet for those disappointed with the reality. The following X eBooks are from an era when the red planet was still an enigma, and anything could be possible, which makes for riveting reading.
by Roy Rockwood
Through Space to Mars is a 1910 science fiction novel aimed at the young and the young at heart. The author, Roy Rockwood, is actually a pseudonym that was used by the producer the Stratemeyer Syndicate, who were also responsible for many other popular series like Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy Boys. The story follows the adventures of two boys, Mark and Jack, who along with a few other characters, jet off to Mars in a rocket ship.
by Raymond F. Jones
The Memory of Mars, published in 1961, is a relatively recent science fiction short story compared to other books on this list. It ended up in the public domain when the original copyright was not renewed, so the ebook can be read for free. Although short, the story is quite engaging and features a protagonist who loses his wife in an accident. However, things take a strange turn when he discovers that she wasn’t quite human and the reason might be a vacation to Mars that he doesn’t remember taking.
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs is best remembered as the creator of Tarzan, but the author also had a fascination with Mars that resulted in numerous books and stories about the red planet. The novel, A Princess of Mars, was published in 1917 although it was already serialised as Under the Moons of Mars as far back as 1912. Burroughs described Mars as a harsh, desert planet that is called “Barsoom” by those that inhabit it. In this novel a Confederate veteran named John Carter ends up on Mars, where he gains superhuman strength thanks to the lower gravity. The popularity of the book resulted in Burroughs writing ten sequels, many of which that are also available as free ebooks.
by Carey Rockwell
Stand By For Mars is a 1952 book starring Tom Corbett, a character that was very popular during the 1950s thanks to the comic books, comic strips, radio and even television shows about him. Once again the author, Carey Rockwell, is actually a pseudonym as the books were written by unknown authors. Numerous books starring Tom Corbett followed, but in this original novel the focus is on students at an elite Space Academy attempting to save the passengers on board a spacecraft heading to Mars.
by Garrett P. Serviss
Edison’s Conquest of Mars is a fascinating book as it is sort of a sequel to The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Or, to put it more accurately, it follows Fighters from Mars, which is a version of The War of the Worlds that appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine and may or may not have been unauthorized. The magazine serial ran in 1898 and features Thomas Edison as the protagonist. Fans of the genre will get a kick out of the story as it features plenty of elements that were brand new at the time, but has since become staples of the genre, such as disintegrator rays, asteroid mining, and even alien abductions. With battles that rages across space and on Mars, it is interesting to see humanity turning the tables on Martian invaders and taking the battle to their planet.
by Stanley Grauman Weinbaum
A Martian Odyssey, along with its sequel Valley of Dreams, are the only stories written by Stanley G. Weinbaum that uses Mars as its setting before he died of lung cancer. His work remained very influential, however, and there is even a crater on Mars that has been named in his honor. When it was first published in 1934, A Martian Odyssey captured the imagination of science fiction readers with its depiction of Mars and the alien life-forms residing there. The story tells the tale of an American chemist named Dick Jarvis, who finds himself among the crew of a spaceship that lands on Mars. Jarvis not only encounters intelligent beings on the planet, but also befriends one of them who saves his life on numerous occasions. A Martian Odyssey remained popular enough to be voted one of the best science fiction short stories by the Science Fiction Writers of America and also inspired many other writers to be more imaginative when writing about alien life-forms.