I guest-posted at SFFWorld today with a suggested canon of the most important and influential science fiction and science fantasy about Mars and Martians. Excerpt:

It’s not Mars that changes, but rather us, in Frederick Pohl’s seminal Man Plus (1976). To survive on Mars we have to “upgrade” and become monsters, something barely recognizable as human, because as Mariner 4 and its progeny established, Mars is utterly inhospitable to life as we know it. The big and obvious question: how Martian can we get and still be human?

D.G. Compton appreciated the inhospitable nature of Mars early, in Farewell, Earth’s Bliss (1966). Convicts are exiled to a penal colony on the red planet, where they have essentially been sentenced to life in utter isolation. Character-rich and light on action, Compton’s novel is among the first to really look inward from the vantage point of an utterly alien fourth planet.

Graphic by Les Edwards

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