Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mars: a Trillion Year Spree

Trillion Year Spree: the History of Science Fiction, by Brian W. Aldiss (1986)

An updated version of his classic Billion Year Spree (1973), Aldiss’ Trillion Year Spree is a respected history of science fiction. While not illustrated, the book mentions or analyzes quite a few Mars-related works, including:

Lieut. Gulliver Jones: His Vacation, by Edwin L. Arnold (1905)

The Martian Way,” by Isaac Asimov (1952)

The Sword of Rhiannon, by Leigh Brackett (1953)

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury (1950)

A Princess of Mars, and other books in the Barsoom series, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917, and later)

All We Marsmen (1963), Martian Time-Slip (1964) and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), by Philip K. Dick.

Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record, by Percy Greg (1880)

A Honeymoon in Space, by George Griffith (1900)

Red Planet (1949), Double Star (1956), Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), and The Number of the Beast (1980), by Robert A. Heinlein.

The Swordsman of Mars, by Otis Adelbert Kline (1933)

Two Planets, by Kurd Lasswitz (1897)

"Shambleau," by C. L. Moore (1933)

A Mirror for Observers, by Edgar Pangborn (1954)

Man Plus, by Frederik Pohl (1976)

The Space Machine, by Christopher Priest (1976)

Icehenge, by Kim Stanley Robinson (1985)

Last and First Men, by Olaf Stapledon (1930)

"The Persistence of Vision," by John Varley (1978)

The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut (1959)

The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells (1898)

Planet Plane / Stowaway to Mars, by John Wyndham (1936 / 1972)

A detailed review of Trillion Year Spree appeared in Science Fiction Studies in 1988. More recently, the book was reviewed on the blog Immediacy: Immediate Thoughts about the Ephemeral Environment.

For a different perspective on Aldiss, see the 2004 interview, “Brian Aldiss has been on a Trillion-Year Spree within Science Fiction for Half a Century,” on Also, note that Aldiss co-authored a work of Martian science fiction: White Mars, Or the Mind Set Free: a 21st-Century Utopia (1999).

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