Gorge R.R. Martin just published a lengthy essay in The Guardian, but it’s not on “Game of Thrones” or the survival chances of Jon Snow next season.
It’s about his love for Mars.
The essay is timed to promote a new book, “Old Mars,” a collection of 15 stories by sci-fi authors, edited by Martin and Gardner Dozois, which will be released October 8.
In the essay published Thursday, the author, who just celebrated his 67th birthday, divulges how the red planet was one of his favourite childhood obsessions (in between comics featuring Batman and Superman), and how it inspired his future works.
Growing up, I think I went to Mars more often than I went to New York City, though Manhattan was only 45 minutes and 15 cents away by bus.
Mars, though … I knew Mars inside and out.
My first visits to Mars were in the company of Tom Corbett, Astro and Roger Manning, the crew of the Polaris in the classic series of juvenile (today we would call them YA) space operas derived from Robert A Heinlein’s Space Cadet by way of the television series Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. I learned about ferocious Martian sandmice from Andre Norton and her doppelganger Andrew North. In the drytowns, I faced “Shambleau” with CL Moore and Northwest Smith. Then came Leigh Brackett and Erik John Stark, another of the great space-opera heroes. Later, a little older, I encountered The Martian Chronicles, and a very different take on Old Mars from the pen of Ray Bradbury, elegiac rather than adventurous, but just as magical, just as memorable. Roger Zelazny’s haunting, poetic “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” was probably the last great story of The Mars That Was. First published in the November 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the Zelazny story became an instant classic.
Martin has plans to write several more “Game of Thrones” books, with the next one, “The Winds of Winter,” rumoured to be released in 2016. But in his essay, he seems to miss more typical science fiction fare.
My first efforts were prose superhero stories for the comic-book fanzines of the 60s, but I soon moved on to sword-and-sorcery tales and mysteries and SF, and started dreaming about making a career as a writer. One day, I expected, I would be writing my own Mars stories.
It was not to be. For even as Zelazny was penning his tales of Old Mars and Old Venus, the space race was heating up.
You can read Martin’s full essay on Mars over at The Guardian, here.
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