Mars has been a site for Planetary Romances for centuries.

Schiaparelli, Lowell & the Canals of Mars

Giovanni SchiaparelliDuring Mars’s “Great Opposition” of 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835 – 1910) observed a dense network of linear structures on the surface of Mars which he called “canali”, meaning “channels”. This term was mistranslated into English as “canals.”

Rather than true channels in a form familiar to us, we must imagine depressions in the soil that are not very deep, extended in a straight direction for thousands of miles, over a width of 100, 200 kilometers and maybe more. I have already pointed out that, in the absence of rain on Mars, these channels are probably the main mechanism by which the water (and with it organic life) can spread on the dry surface of the planet.

Giovanni Schiaparelli, La vita sul pianeta Marte (Life on Mars, 1893)



Percival LowellThe Abode of Life

Life on Planet Mars

Satirical Mars

Across the ZodiacOut of the Silent Planet 1st Ed


Percy Greg’s Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record (1880)



Edwin Lester Arnold‘s Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905).


Pulp Mars

A Princess of MarsThe Gods of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books beginning with A Princess of Mars (1917).

Secret of SinharatPeople of the Talisman

Mars – the Red Planet!

Alexander Bogdanov’s Red Star (1908) and Engineer Menni (1913).

Red StarAelita

Alexei Tolstoy‘s Aelita was published in 1923. Aelita was filmed by Yakov Protazanov a year later.

Aelita poster

Nostaligic Mars

Ray Bradbury and Philip K Dick used a nostalgic Mars as a backdrop to some of their most famous stories.

The Martian ChroniclesMartian Time-Slip Ballantine

Post Viking

Red Mars Harper CollinsGreen Mars Harper Collins

Blue Mars Harper CollinsThe Martians Harper Collins

Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars Trilogy, Red Mars (1993), Green Mars (1996) and Blue Mars (1999)

The Return to Mythic Mars

Take Back Plenty MasterworkRed Dust

A postmodern version of Barsoom appears in Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill‘s Steampunk comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999), and in Jean-Marc Lofficier‘s novel Edgar Allan Poe on Mars: The Further Memoirs of Gullivar Jones (2007).

Mars in the Cinema

Marvin the Martian made his cartoon debut in 1948’s Haredevil Hare.

Marvin the Martian

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Total RecallMission to Mars

Futurama Martians

Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars Trilogy

  • Arnold, Edwin Lester (1905) Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation
  • Bogdanov, Alexander (1908) Red Star
  • —— (1913) Engineer Menni
  • Burrough, Edgar Rice () A Princess of Mars
  • Greg, Percy (1880) Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record
  • Kim Stanley (1993) Red Mars
  • —— (1994) Green Mars
  • —— (1996) Blue Mars
  • —— (1999) The Martians
  • Lofficier, Jean-Marc (2007) Edgar Allan Poe on Mars: The Further Memoirs of Gullivar Jones
  • Lupoff, Richard A. (1965) Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure
  • Moore, Alan & Kevin O’Neill (1999) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • Wells, H. G. () The War of the Worlds

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