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Old 06-04-2024, 11:25 AM   #31846
fantasyfan
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LOST MARS
The Golden Age of the Red Planet
Edited by Mike Ashley

This volume is one of the British Library series of Science Fiction Classics. The editor Mike Ashley writes that it “. . . brings together a selection of the more diverse science fiction that has been set on Mars in those years from the 1880s to the 1960s.” There is an excellent 26 page introduction which provides a historical context for the ten stories which follow. Each story has its own preliminary material discussing the author and tale.

The first three stories are early attempts to create Martian civilisations. They do foreshadow later developments in the genre.”The Crystal Egg” (1897) by H. G. Wells is the best written with an implied sense of danger. “Letters From Mars” (1887) by W. S. Lach-Szyrma was popular in its day and one wonders if it had any influence on Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis in its didactic Victorian approach. Ashley has chosen “In the Antarctic Regions of Mars” from the lengthy work. Finally, “The Great Sacrifice” (1903) by George C. Wallis introduces the theme of an advanced beneficent civilisation protecting Earth. One can find this idea more powerfully developed in Chad Oliver’s powerful but grim novella “Blood’s a Rover”, itself in Groff Conklin’s “Golden Age” era anthology, Operation Future (1955).

The seven stories that follow are excellent. “The Forgotten Man of Space” by P. Schuyler Miller is very fine and quite moving with several layers of meaning flowing from the title. Stanley G. Weinbaum’s “A Martian Odyssey” is an acknowledged classic. “Ylla” (original title “I’ll Not Look For Wine”) is a good example of Bradbury’s ability to undercut his stories with a sense of horror. “Measureless To Man” by Marion Zimmer Bradley deals with humanity’s attempt to enter an ancient Martian City with quite unexpected results. E. C. Tubb in “Without Bugles” presents an unromantic gritty tale of what early Martian exploration might be like. “Crucifixus Etiam” is a powerful quasi-religious story which conveys in Mike Ashley’s words a “ . . . soul-searching feeling of sacrifice . . . .” a quality in much of the other work of Walter M. Miller, Jr. Finally, in “The Time-Tombs” J. G. Ballard’s main character—a member of a tomb raiding gang— discovers an ancient Martian crypt. But within is a beautiful figure lying in state. Does he tell his companions?

We know now that Mars is not going to be the planet of Canals and ancient Ruins of lost civilizations. But I will conclude with the words of Mike Ashley.

“The realization that Mars might not host life has not diminished our desire to reach the planet . . . . Mars will continue to exert its fascination as much as it has for the last century, and the stories selected here are a reflection of that desire to explore those hopes and dreams.”
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Old 06-04-2024, 11:35 AM   #31847
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I don't care if Mars doesn't have canals, as long as it has Marvin.
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Old 06-04-2024, 01:16 PM   #31848
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I don't care if Mars doesn't have canals, as long as it has Marvin.
I wonder if they will take a Grim-and-Gritty take on Marvin the Martian?
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Old 06-05-2024, 05:56 AM   #31849
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Just finished The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa.
Also Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux which was a bit a of a disappointment.
Current reading Beautyland by Marie Helene Bertino.
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Old 06-05-2024, 06:16 AM   #31850
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Also Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux which was a bit a of a disappointment.
I got tired of Paul Theroux a long time ago.
Why not read, "Burmese Days", George Orwell?
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Old 06-08-2024, 11:01 AM   #31851
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Now I am reading Travels with Charley (John Steinbeck).
I loved this; one of my favorite books by Steinbeck. I know it's not entirely accurate, but I didn't care.

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Next up: Divine Might by Natalie Haynes. Her take on the Greek Goddesses.
I found this disappointing; it wasn't nearly as good as Pandora's Jar. Too many and too lengthy pop culture references; she tried way too hard to make something "relevant" that didn't need the upsell.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:02 PM   #31852
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I quite enjoyed Travels with Charley. A favourite Stenbeck.

Currently listening to a bunch of MilSF, which is dragging me down. Need to change out to anything else...
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:54 PM   #31853
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Just finished To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck.

I liked this book very much.
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Old 06-11-2024, 06:05 PM   #31854
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I quite enjoyed Travels with Charley. A favourite Stenbeck.
I enjoyed this one very much. I haven't read much of his work, and I don't recall having Steinbeck as assigned reading in school except for The Red Pony.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:23 PM   #31855
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Now I am reading Travels with Charley (John Steinbeck).
I've read Travels With Charley several times. It sparked my love of road trips. He attended church services on Sundays on his travels. So I've also gone to church on road trips, although I wouldn't otherwise dream of darkening a church door. I no longer do the weeks or months long road trips, but I still love travel books. I did go on a five day trip down the Oregon coast last month so I guess that counts.
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Old 06-22-2024, 01:43 PM   #31856
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Now I'm reading Cerberus: A Wolf in the Fold by Jack L. Chalker. His second in The Four Lords series.
Not as good as the first book but it adds a lot of information to the overall storyline. Original ideas. I was confused at times. Rated C [3 stars].

Next is Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.
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Old 06-23-2024, 04:50 PM   #31857
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I am almost finished with The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russell Shorto. I borrowed kindle edition from my public library. I bought the hardcover in 2004 and never read it and recently could not find it. Must have tossed it in a purge a while back.
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Old 06-23-2024, 08:18 PM   #31858
alansplace
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Wink Lost Birds

Just finished Ann Hillerman's newest, Lost Birds: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel. Like her others in that series, I really liked it.
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Old 06-29-2024, 05:09 AM   #31859
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I finished the Dark Legacy of Shannara Trilogy, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I have moved to a couple of Reacher novels that I purchased at amazon deals for 1.99. I always enjoy those. I’ve got to quit pushing Rules of Civility off though.
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Old 06-30-2024, 04:54 AM   #31860
pdurrant
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And it was great fun, although, as with many series, it's becoming more about the characters than the mysteries.

Next up: Divine Might by Natalie Haynes. Her take on the Greek Goddesses.
I seem to have been a bit remiss in updating during June!

Divine Might was more a catalogue of goddesses than stories about goddesses, although there were some anecdotes along the way. Not as good for me as A Thousand Ships.

Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny, the first two books in his Amber series. Very good, as expected.

The Book of Love by Kelly Link. It was quite a fun book involving magic in various forms. I'm not sure it was a good purchase.
Still Life by Sarah Winman. A rather standard 'events in the life of' sort of book. Not an author I intend reading again.

Chess with a Dragon by David Gerrold was another impulse purchase, but was worth-while. Even though I think the novella could have done with a little tweaking.

Sign of the Unicorn by Roger Zelazny, the third Amber book was very good.

Tai-Pan by James Clavell looks at the founding of Hong Kong as a british colony, and was excellent.

A Fatal Flying Affair and Rotten to the Core by T. E. Kinsey are the 7th and 8th in his Lady Hardcastle series, and were the expected cozy murder mysteries.

Which brings me up to date!
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