The Big Book of Mars by Marc Hartzman
Trade Paperback – Quirk – Jul 2020 – 251 pages
Mars has been a source of fascination and speculation ever since the Ancient Sumerians observed its blood-red hue and named it for their god of war and plague. But it wasn’t until 1877, when “canals” were observed on the surface of the Red Planet, suggesting the presence of water, that scientists, novelists, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs became obsessed with the question of whether there’s life on Mars. In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells suggested that we wouldn’t need to make contact with Martians – they’d come for us – while, many years later, Nikola Tesla claimed that he did make contact.
Since then, Mars has fully invaded pop culture. It has its own day of the week (Tuesday, or martis in Latin), candy bar, and iconic Looney Tunes character. It has been the subject of novels and movies, from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles to Mars Attacks! to The Martian. And it has sparked a space-race feud between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who both hope to send a manned mission to Mars in the near future.