Sunday, September 30, 2007

“Killer B's: An Exploration into Martian 'B' Scifi"

"Killer B's: An Exploration into Martian 'B' Scifi,” by Ryder W. Miller (2001)

Written by an environmental reporter with a strong interest in space exploration, this essay was posted on in 2001. Among other points, Miller concludes that Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950), is “the best of the best.”

One glitch in Millers’ bibliography: Arthur C. Clarke’s book is titled The Sands of Mars (1951), not The Red Sands of Mars, as the 1982 paperback pictured above indicates.

Also, Elizabeth Hand’s Last Summer at Mars Hill (1998), a collection of eleven short stories and one poem, seems like an odd work for Miller to include in his bibliography, as the Nebula Award-winning title novella is actually about a spiritualist community in Mars Hill, Maine. The novella cleverly incorporates several books into the story line (a copy of Paul Bowles' autobiography, with a damaged cover; A Lover of Its Mysteries, a sacred book, with an aged cover) and has a passing reference to flying saucers, but it does not seem to be about the Red Planet -– unless the reader thinks that the Light Children are Martians.

"Killer B's" is based upon Miller's article “Reflections on the 100 Year Anniversary of The War of the Worlds: A Frontier and Literary History of Mars." Both are worth reading.

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