Before Star Wars and Star Trek, there was Spacecraft Mariner 4. Red Planet Day (November 28) commemorates the launch of Mariner 4, which passed within 6,000 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965. For the first time, we were able to see close-up photos of the Red Planet! While scientists didn’t find any little green aliens on our closest neighboring planet, Writer’s Relief has found some great novels featuring Mars and outer space.
Novels About Mars And Outer Space:
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
First published in 1891, H.G. Wells’s classic tale still thrills readers today. Four Martian spaceships flee their planet and land on Earth, hoping to conquer it and enslave the humans. In 1938, a radio show dramatizing the story caused widespread panic among listeners who believed Martians really had invaded Earth.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
This masterful collection of short stories highlights humanity’s desperate attempts to colonize Mars—a place of shattered hopes and dreams and the dust of empty cities, with strange native beings that project hallucinations upon the Earthlings, and a killer disease called the Great Loneliness.
The Martian by Andy Weir
An American astronaut, Mark Watney, is stranded on Mars in the year 2035 after a massive dust storm. Left behind and presumed dead by his crew, Watney must figure out how to survive on the inhospitable planet until the next Ares mission, several years in the future. Originally self-published, The Martian was adapted into a film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon in 2015.
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel and soon to be a TV series, this trilogy is about a group of one hundred colonists whose goal is to transform Mars into a more familiar, Earthlike planet; but there are some who resist change—and they’ll fight to the death to protect the Red Planet.
Provenance by Ann Leckie
A power-hungry young woman sets out to recover priceless lost artifacts that could give her the recognition she craves. But first she must free the thief who stole them from a prison planet—a place from which no one has ever returned.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Valentine Michael Smith, a human being raised on Mars, has recently returned to Earth for the first time, and he’s struggling to understand human nature. The novel explores his interactions with a culture that is so alien to him.
Question: What is your favorite space-themed book? Let us know in the comments!
Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra from C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy have been highly formative for me and still stand out as some of my favorite space-themed novels. While not necessarily accurate regarding the science of space travel or the ecosystems of the planets described, the books nonetheless had a profound impact on me as a writer.
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