Friday, 5 June 2015


SM Stirling, In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings (New York, 2008).

"Martians called their planet Zho'da..." (p. 26).

Did they? We must take SM Stirling's word for it! I know Martians who call their planet Barsoom and others, speaking Solar, not Martian, who call it Malacandra. But there are many races of Martians... CS Lewis casually informs us that HG Wells' Martians are very different from the real Martians. Of course they are!

Zho'dans have several similarities to Barsoomians:

"...traveling silks and furs..." (p. 27);
an ancient civilization;
monarchical government;
human form.

(A longer list than I realized when I started to write it.)

How would Terrestrials seem to Martians? We should be able to deduce this but, of course, we need an imaginative writer, in this case SM Stirling, to tell us:

"'...they ooze. They're positively slick with water and mucus most of the time. You can feel it on their breath.'" (p. 24)

Earth is wet, Mars is dry... We should have been able to deduce that for ourselves.

How many Martian races does Poul Anderson present?

The War Of Two Worlds
"Duel on Syrtis" and its sequel
The Technic History
Are Martians mentioned in the Psychotechnic History? (I cannot remember off hand.) (Later: They are. See here.)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

You should have included in your list Poul Anderson's short story "The Martian Crown Jewels," featuring a race described as vaguely stork like in appearance. And it's also an SF Sherlock Holmes pastiche, wherein the Great Detective was incarnated as Syaloch the Martian.


Paul Shackley said...

I knew that I had missed something.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Oops! I fear I did that again, with the comment I left about your blog piece discussing the various forms of chess to be found in SF or the works of Poul Anderson.