Thursday, 11 June 2015
The Martian Canals
Gulliver Jones sails on a Martian river but before that had mentioned "...a labyrinth of canals..."
-Edwin L Arnold, Gulliver Of Mars (New York, undated), p. 27.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and SM Stirling all have canals on Mars. Both Heinlein and Stirling even have a Grand Canal.
On CS Lewis' Malacandra/Mars, large inhabited river valleys appear as canali to Terrestrial astronomers. Lewis wrote that he probably knew, when writing Out Of The Silent Planet, that the "canals" were not real but included them as part of the mythology.
In James Blish's works, the canals are variously:
impact marks radiating from craters;
the work of extinct Canal Masons;
a Diagram of Power;
an after-effect of the force used by the Martians to destroy the asteroidal planet.
Why do I list works by seven other authors on Poul Anderson Appreciation? Because I wonder whether "canals" are referenced in any of Anderson's fictional versions of Mars? Although many of the names mentioned above are better known than Anderson's, his several works dealing with Mars or Martians are major contributions to the fiction of Mars.