Monday, October 29, 2007

The Martian Viking by Tim Sullivan (1991)

The Martian Viking, by Tim Sullivan (1991)

At left: Paperback original (New York: Avon Books, 1991), 242 p., $3.50. Cover by Ron Walotsky. Here's the blurb from the back cover:

Earth’s new order has declared non-productivity a crime -– dooming Johnsmith Biberkopf to life imprisonment in a Martian penal colony. Sentenced to an eternity of never-ending toil and despair, he seeks escape in the hallucinogenic power of 'onees' -– a government-banned substance that will lead Biberkopf through the portals of a strange and timeless dimension where ancient Viking ships sail the cosmos ... and illusions become uniquely, terrifyingly real.”

While Sullivan has written quite a bit of science fiction and has been involved in several film projects, The Martian Viking has received little attention. A customer review at concludes that
“It's like Sullivan tried to blend Total Recall with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and pulled off a halfway decent job.” Christine Hawkins' bibliography notes that the “style of this novel is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick,” whose Martian novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), also centers on a hallucinogen.

Perhaps more well-known than Sullivan's book is NASA's Viking program, which successfully landed two spacecraft on Mars in 1976.

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