Monday, October 8, 2007

Born Under Mars by John Brunner (1967)

Born Under Mars, by John Brunner (1967)

At left: Paperback (New York: Ace Books, 1977), 157 p., $1.50. Cover art by Michael Herring. Here's the blurb from the back cover:

Ray Mallin returned from the stars to find that his home planet Mars had fallen into shocking decay and apathy. Once Mars had been the great hope of the Solar System. Once men came from Earth to test their strength and adaptiveness on a harsh new world - now the progress of mankind had passed Mars by, and she had become a second-class planet, her Mars-born humans only dead-end mutations. But Ray Mallin had little time to worry about the problems of his home planet, for as soon as he landed he was abducted by agents of Earth's newer and more advanced colony planets, agents who would stop at nothing to gain information they thought he had. Though brutally tortured, and surrounded by treachery, intrigue and danger, he managed to escape. How long would it be before he realized that he was the key to a secret that would change the future of the human race!”

First appearing in two parts in Amazing Stories (Vol. 40, No. 9, December 1966, and Vol. 40, No. 10, February 1967), Born Under Mars was published by Ace Books in 1967 and reprinted in 1973 and 1977.

In reviewing Brunner in 2006, John McCarthy of Albedo: Ireland’s Magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror remarked in passing: “Born Under Mars seems like a low-budget rip-off of Dune, until one discovers that it predated Herbert's classic.”

A more refined tribute is at The University of Liverpool, which houses The John Brunner Archive. The collection “encompasses Brunner's extensive output of science fiction, including corrected typescripts of published and unpublished works, book and film proposals, film scripts and screenplays. Brunner's non-fiction work, including poems, song lyrics, articles, speeches and crossword puzzles, plus a collection of awards that features his 1969 Hugo Award for Stand on Zanzibar, are also contained in the archive.” An extensive Finding Aid is available.

John Kilian Houston Brunner died in 1995. His obituary appeared in September 25, 1995, issue of The Daily Telegraph (London).

No comments: