Saturday, March 13, 2010

First on Mars, a 1957 novel by Rex Gordon

First on Mars (1957), a science fiction novel by Rex Gordon (pseudonym of Stanley Bennett Hough).

Originally published as No Man Friday in 1956 in the United Kingdom.

Pictured: Paperback (New York: Ace Books, 1957), #D-233, 192 p., 35¢. Here's the promotional piece from the back cover:

One man alone on an alien world. He crash-landed on Mars fifteen years ahead of any other Earth expedition. He was without communications, without supplies, and with nothing but the wreck of an experimental rocket for resources. What is more it was the planet Mars as astronomers know it really to be -- not just a fictional fantasy background for glamorous adventure. It was barren, cold, more grimly inhospitable than the top of Mount Everest. And if it had inhabitants, they were conspicuous by their absence. The story of how one determined man set out to survive on a world whose very air he couldn't safely breathe is an astounding science-fiction saga of the most grippingly realistic type... a novel to be remembered.

While the book’s cover trumpets Gordon Holder, the main character, as “The Robinson Crusoe of The Red Planet,” the copyright page contains the following verse:

Poor old Robinson Crusoe,
How ever could they do so?
They made him a coat
From an old nanny goat,
Poor old Robinson Crusoe

This verse is a variation of Poor Old Robinson Crusoe, the Mother Goose nursery rhyme based upon Daniel Defoe’s famous British novel, Robinson Crusoe (1719).

Interestingly, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a Paramount Pictures film. was released in 1964. Shot in California’s Death Valley, the film was based upon both Defoe’s classic novel and Gordon’s science fiction book. It starred, among others, Adam West, of Bruce Wayne fame.


Pulp Fiction Novels said...

Never heard of the Adam West movie. I will have to see if I can hunt it down. Thanks for the info.

CaerWent said...
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CaerWent said...

I still have a copy of the Ace paperback by Gordon. I just finished reading Andy Weir's "The Martian" about a man left behind for dead after an emergency evac by the rest of the 2d Mars mission he was part of. NOW I'm going to get this out and read it again. It will be fun to compare with the modern version 50 years later.