Monday, October 4, 2010

Mars – The Red Planet: 1990 novel by Mick Farren

Mars – The Red Planet (1990), a Cyberpunk novel by English author, journalist, singer, and counterculture figure Mick Farren.

Pictured: Paperback original (New York: Ballantine Books / Del Rey, 1990) #35809, 315 p., $3.95. Cover art by David Schleinkofer. Here is the promotional piece from the back cover:

Moscow does not believe in fears.

When superstar TV journalist Lech Hammond heard rumors that the Martian Soviets had uncovered an alien artifact, he shipped out to Mars to investigate. But the KGB had the discovery under wraps, and with a serial killer on the loose and wild men rampaging near their secret base, they had closed ranks tighter than ever.

Hammond and his news crew were determined to break the story to the people of Earth. They never suspected that death stalked them and madness awaited them -- or that, in a horrible way, the story had already been broken…

According to the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature (2004), Mars – The Red Planet is “an atypical experiment in hard sf.”

In 1990, Raymond’s Reviews #19 concluded: “I dislike paying money for books like this and I'm sorry I bought this one. Ironically, it showed up in the mail a day later in my very first freebie- list package. Now I've got two copies to mulch. Sigh...”

In 2005, Farren posted a hilarious message on his blog, Doc 40:
In 1990 I published a novel titled Mars, The Red Planet. And in it, I made one of the worst errors of my science fiction career. I assumed that the Soviet Union (as in "Red" geddit?) would survive well into the twenty first century, whereas it collapsed pretty much before the book even hit the stores. All in all, through, it was a cute read, and the Mars Society voted it "Best Noirish Mars Book": ("You want more when your finished with this one.") I wish someone would republished the sucker along with so much of my neglected back catalogue.

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