Want to escape? Here are five books set on Mars. Bon voyage!
Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record by Percy Greg – The book is notable as containing what is probably the first alien language in any work of fiction to be described with linguistic and grammatical terminology. It also contains what is possibly the first instance in the English language of the word “Astronaut”, which features as the name of the narrator’s spacecraft. In 2010 a crater on Mars was named Greg in recognition of his contribution to the lore of Mars. – Public Domain Review. You can also read the full book for free by following that link.
Doctor Omega by Arnould Galopin – In a quiet Normandy village, amateur violinist Denis Borel meets a mysterious white-haired scientist known only as Doctor Omega, who is building an amazing spacecraft, the Cosmos. Doctor Omega invites Borel to accompany him on his maiden voyage – to Mars! – Goodreads
3. To Mars via the Moon by Mark Wicks – Available in paperback and for Kindle here.
4. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – Available in paperback and for Kindle here. On this new world, Carter has great strength and nearly superhuman agility, which make him a valued member of the Tharks, a nomadic tribe of Green Martians. But when the Tharks capture Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium, and a member of the humanoid red Martians, Carter begins to question his role on Mars. He is determined to return Dejah Thoris to her people, but in time it becomes clear that Carter must lead a horde of Tharks. With Carter’s loyalty tested to its limit, this victory or defeat will determine the fate of Dejah Thoris as well as the whole of Mars itself. – blurb
5. Out of the Silent Planet byC. S. Lewis – Available in paperback, hardback, audio and for Kindle here. The first book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force. – blurb
A dystopian coming-of-age tale that doubles as a paean to the author’s home town. Review by Catherine Taylor – Financial Times
2. Radiance – by Catherynne M Valente
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe. – Macmillan Publishers
The Black Swamp is as inhospitable as it sounds, which carry off several of the children and leave the parents too weak to work – Independent
4. How to Measure a Cow – by Margaret Forster
Margaret Forster’s tale of a woman on the run is quietly compelling – The Sunday Times
5. Small Town Talk – by Barney Hoskyns
How a reclusive Bob Dylan led a rock’n’roll takeover of rural Woodstock in the 1960s – The Sunday Times
6. States of Mind – edited by Anna Faherty
“Why do most of us feel that we are something more than molecules?”, asks Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, in his engaging introduction to this compelling collection drawn from literature, science, philosophy and art ranging back 500 years and tackling the thorny question of what consciousness actually is. “We are made of the same raw materials as bacteria, as earth, as rock, as the great dark nebulae of dust that swim between the stars, as the stars themselves”, writes Haddon, introducing extracts that explore how the sense of being made of something immaterial, too, has long haunted humans. – The Guardian
7. The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict – by Austin Reed
I speak from experience when I say that embarking on a biographical work about Arthur Conan Doyle is a challenge. The principal challenge is how to make your book original. Every biographical work on Doyle will contain material that has appeared elsewhere. What makes new books stand out is how they present what we already know, what new items are presented and how the author interprets what they present. – Doyleockian
9. The Man I Became – by Peter Verhelst
The premise of the book is as bold as it is intriguing: The Man I Became is narrated in the first-person by a gorilla. The inevitably confusion and flood of questions that arise with this statement are mostly all addressed through the 120 pages of the novella, but Verhelst also uses this quasi-absurdist plot to grapple with contemporary social issues. Written in a sparse, succinct literary style that fits snugly in the Peirene canon of stylish but provocative translated fiction, The Man I Became is a book that jolts its reader and forces you to think. – Bookish Ramblings
10. In Flagrante Two – by Chris Killip
Made in the northeast of England between 1973 and 1985, the book showed marginalized communities on the edge of change; seacoal gatherers, fishermen and other working class communities are shown struggling in environments that are expressively harsh. There is the wildness of the Northumberland coastline, driving blizzards brought from Siberia across the ferocious waves of the North Sea, the chimneys and cranes of the region’s industrial landmarks, and the rubble of neighborhoods destroyed in the name of urban development. It’s an unrelentingly gritty backdrop. – Photo-Eye