Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"City of the Dead," a 1950 novelette written by G. M. Martin

Thanks to the folks at the Internet Archive, you can read or download "City of the Dead,” a novelette written by G. M. Martin that was originally published in the Vol. 24, No. 1, January 1950 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Set on the Red Planet, the plot revolves around a renegade scientist who leads a small expedition to a lost Martian city, where the inhabitants of an advanced civilization are said to be frozen in time for perhaps ten centuries. Here are the opening lines:

Paper of Research Prepared by
Professor John Granger
Weston Scientific Foundation
New York, N. Y.
August 11, 2024

Having recently returned from that barren section of Mars, called the Plain of Parna, I wish to report that the City of Launn actually exists. Scientists of this foundation have long believed that at one time the Plain of Parna, now desolate wasteland was inhabitated and irrigated to produce vast riches to support a city far ahead, in every cultural sense, of any earth settlement...

Interesting story. I love the premise and was captivated by about the first third of the novelette. The lack of descriptive prose and some ridiculous dialog really undermines the strength of the storyline. And, if you can believe this, one of the adult male characters is named “PeeWee.” A great DIY opportunity for a 21st-century writer who believes in plagiarism authenticity!

[via Tinkoo Valia of Variety SF]

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