Monday, October 20, 2008

Ace Double Novel: The Alternate Martians by A. Bertram Chandler

The Alternate Martians, a novel by A. Bertram Chandler (1965)

At left: Paperback original (New York: Ace Books, 1965), 129 p., #M-129, 45¢. Cover art by Jerome Podwil. An Ace double novel, bound with Chandler’s Empress of Outer Space. Here’s the blurb from inside the front cover:

When Mariner IV radioed back the vision of Mars as a planet pocked with craters and unlikely to harbor life of any advanced sort, some newspapers wondered how science-fiction writers would take this. But, characteristic of their limitless imaginations, they always come up with an answer.

A. Bertram Chandler presents a particularly challenging response. If Mars is indeed barren, what are we to say of the wonderfully lifelike Mars worlds of H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Otis Adelbert Kline, and so many others. They are too real to be lost! They must exist somewhere! And so Chandler sends his space expedition to that barren and lifeless Mars to find
The Alternate Martians.

It's a science-fiction adventure, packed with action, and filled with some unexpected Red Planet surprises!

Blue Tyson, in summarizing the novel, noted: “Here, apparently a sequel to The Coils of Time of sorts, the idea is that in another coil, the Mars of Brackett or Burroughs or Bradbury might exist in some form, as it is just another time being remembered incorrectly by those writers. With some modification to a ship and time machinery, they manage to investigate. The only problem is they do get somewhere Barsoom-like, complete with a Carter, Tarkas, and a Thoris analogue, but they are enslaved by H. G. Wells Martians!"

In a review of The Alternate Martians, Rich Horton concluded: “As I said, loopy stuff. But in its limited way, kind of fun. Chandler never cared a whit, as far as I can tell, for stuff making sense, or for consistency, or, well, for anything but the next colorful incident. I find that exasperating, on the whole -- others may not care as much.”

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