Old Mars

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Old Mars is an anthology on a mission back into the past. Just over one-hundred years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs started the Barsoom series — the first in a wave of pulp novels and short stories exploring the Red Planet, its geography, and multiple races. This book challenges modern authors to journey to the unscientific Mars of romantic canals and dangerous deserts, and then tell stories of daring-do acceptable to our modern sensibilities.

At this point, you’re either fascinated or you’ve switched off. Younger readers who were never caught up in the science fantasies of the pulp magazines and novels will probably find the idea of a retro anthology unexciting. Those of us old enough to have read some of the source material will want to see whether the themes can still resonate.

Personally, I think the stories somewhat uneven. Some, like “Written in Dust” by Melinda Snodgrass, are strong, unashamedly modern stories. Others, like “In the Tombs of the Martian Kings” by Mike Resnick, beautifully reinvent the pulp style. In the middle there’s a residue of stories that fall uncomfortably between the two stools, being too accurately pulp to genuinely appeal to modern readers. On balance the good outweigh the not so good.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 512 pages
Publisher Bantam Books
Publish Date 2013-Oct-08
ISBN 9780345537270
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue March 2014
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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