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Old Mars [Format Kindle]

George R.R. Martin , Gardner Dozois , Michael Moorcock , Joe R. Lansdale , James S.A. Corey

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Descriptions du produit



Allen Steele made his first sale to Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine in 1988, soon following it up with a long string of other sales to Asimov’s, as well as to markets such as Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Age. In 1990, he published his critically acclaimed first novel, Orbital Decay, which subsequently won the Locus Poll as Best First Novel of the year, and soon Steele was being compared to Golden Age Heinlein by no less an authority than Gregory Benford. His other books include the novels Clarke County, Space; Lunar Descent; Labyrinth of Night; The Weight; The Tranquility Alternative; A King of Infinite Space; OceanSpace; ChronoSpace; Coyote; Coyote Rising; Spindrift; Galaxy Blues, Coyote Horizon; and Coyote Destiny. His short work has been gathered in three collections, Rude Astronauts, Sex and Violence in Zero-G, and The Last Science Fiction Writer. His most recent books are a new novel in the Coyote sequence, Hex, and a YA novel, Apollo’s Outcasts. He has won three Hugo Awards, in 1996 for his novella “The Death of Captain Future,” in 1998 for his novella “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” and, most recently, in 2011 for his novelette “The Emperor of Mars.” Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he has worked for a variety of newspapers and magazines, covering science and business assignments, and is now a full-­time writer living in Whately, Massachusetts, with his wife, Linda.

Here he takes us to a Mars very different from the Mars of his Hugo-­winning novelette, the Old Mars of ancient dreams, and deep into the Martian Badlands, on a mission that could plunge two races, and two worlds, into all-­out war.

Martian Blood


The most dangerous man on Mars was Omar al-­Baz, and the first time I saw him, he was throwing up at the Rio Zephyria spaceport.

This happens more frequently than you might think. People coming here for the first time often don’t realize just how thin the air really is. The cold surprises them, too, but I’m told the atmospheric pressure is about the same as you’d find in the Himalayas. So they come trooping down the ramp of the shuttle that transported them from Deimos Station, and if the ride down didn’t make them puke, then the shortness of breath, headaches, and nausea that comes with altitude sickness will.

I didn’t know for sure that the middle-­aged gent who’d doubled over and vomited was Dr. al-­Baz, but I suspected that he was; I hadn’t seen any other Middle Eastern men on his flight. There was nothing I could do for him, though, so I waited patiently on the other side of the chain-­link security fence while one of the flight attendants came down the ramp to help him. Dr. al-­Baz waved her away; he didn’t need any assistance, thank you. He straightened up, pulled a handkerchief from his overcoat pocket, and wiped his mouth, then picked up the handle of the rolling bag he’d dropped when his stomach revolted. Nice to know that he wasn’t entirely helpless.

He was one of the last passengers to step through the gate. He paused on the other side of the fence, looked around, and spotted the cardboard sign I was holding. A brief smile of relief, then he walked over to me.

“I’m Omar al-­Baz,” he said, holding out his hand. “You must be Mr. Ramsey.”

“Yes, I’m your guide. Call me Jim.” Not wanting to shake a hand that just wiped a mouth, which had just spilled yuck all over nice clean concrete, I reached forward to relieve him of his bag.

“I can carry this myself, thank you,” he said, not letting me take his bag from him. “But if you could help me with the rest of my luggage, I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure. No problem.” He hadn’t hired me to be his porter, and if he’d been the jerk variety of tourist some of my former clients had been, I would’ve made him carry his own stuff. But I was already beginning to like the guy: early fifties, skinny but with the beginnings of a potbelly, coarse black hair going grey at the temples. He wore round spectacles and had a bushy mustache beneath a hooked, aquiline nose, and looked a little like an Arab Groucho Marx. Omar al-­Baz couldn’t have been anything but what he was, an Egyptian-­American professor from the University of Arizona.

I led him toward the terminal, stepping around the tourists and business travelers who had also disembarked from the 3 p.m. shuttle. “Are you by yourself, or did someone come with you?”

“Unfortunately, I come alone. The university provided grant money sufficient for only one fare, even though I requested that I bring a grad student as an assistant.” He frowned. “This may hinder my work, but I hope that what I intend to do will be simple enough that I may accomplish it on my own.”

I had only the vaguest idea of why he’d hired me to be his guide, but the noise and bustle of the terminal were too much for a conversation. Passenger bags were beginning to come down the conveyor belt, but Dr. al-­Baz didn’t join the crowd waiting to pick up suitcases and duffel bags. Instead, he went straight to the PanMars cargo window, where he presented a handful of receipts to the clerk. I began to regret my offer to help carry his bags when a cart was pushed through a side door. Stacked upon it were a half dozen aluminum cases; even in Martian gravity, none small enough to be carried two at a time.

“You gotta be kidding,” I murmured.

“My apologies, but for the work I need to do, I had to bring specialized equipment.” He signed a form, then turned to me again. “Now . . . do you have a means of taking all this to my hotel, or will I have to get a cab?”

I looked over the stack of cases and decided that there weren’t so many that I couldn’t fit them all in the back of my jeep. So we pushed the cart out to where I’d parked beside the front entrance and managed to get everything tied down with elastic cords I carried with me. Dr. al-­Baz climbed into the passenger seat and put his suitcase on the floor between his feet.

“Hotel first?” I asked as I took my place behind the wheel.

“Yes, please . . . and then I wouldn’t mind getting a drink.” He caught the questioning look in my eye and gave me a knowing smile. “No, I am not a devout follower of the Prophet.”

“Glad to hear it.” I was liking him better all the time; I don’t trust people who won’t have a beer with me. I started up the jeep and pulled away from the curb. “So . . . you said in your e-­mail you’d like to visit an aboriginal settlement. Is that still what you want to do?”

“Yes, I do.” He hesitated. “But now that we’ve met, I think it’s only fair to tell you that this is not all that I mean to do. The trip here involves more than just meeting the natives.”

“How so? What else do you want?”

He peered at me over the top of his glasses. “The blood of a Martian.”

When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was The War of the Worlds—­the 1953 version, made about twelve years before the first probes went to Mars. Even back then, people knew that Mars had an Earth-­like environment; spectroscopes had revealed the presence of an oxygen-­nitrogen atmosphere, and strong telescopes made visible the seas and canals. But no one knew for sure whether the planet was inhabited until Ares I landed there in 1977, so George Pal had a lot of latitude when he and his film crew tried to imagine what a Martian would look like.

Anyway, there’s a scene in the movie where Gene Barry and Ann Robinson have made their way to L.A. after escaping the collapsed farmhouse where they’d been pinned down by the alien invaders. Barry meets with his fellow scientists at the Pacific Tech and pre­sents them with a ruined camera-­eye he managed to grab while fighting off the attackers. The camera-­eye is wrapped in Ann Robinson’s scarf, which was splattered with gore when Gene clobbered a little green monster with a broken pipe.

“And this”—he says melodramatically, showing the scarf to the other scientists—“blood of a Martian!”

I’ve always loved that part. So when Dr. al-­Baz said much the same thing, I wondered if he was being clever, copping a line from a classic movie that he figured most colonists might have seen. But there was no wink, no ironic smile. So far as I could tell, he was as serious as he could be.

I decided to let it wait until we had that drink together, so I held my tongue as I drove him into Rio Zephyria. The professor’s reservation was at the John Carter Casino Resort, located on the strip near the Mare Cimmerium beach. No surprise there: It’s the most famous hotel in Rio, so most tourists try to book rooms there. Edgar Rice Burroughs was having a literary renaissance around the time it was built, so someone decided that A Princess of Mars and its sequels would be a great theme for a casino. Since then it’s become the place most people think of when they daydream about taking a vacation trip to Mars.

Good for them, but I want to throw a rock through its gold-­tinted windows every time I drive by. It’s a ten-­story monument to every stupid thing humans have done since coming here. And if I feel that way, as someone who was born and raised on Mars, then you can well imagine what the shatan think of it . . . when they come close enough to see it, that is.

It was hard to gauge Dr. al-­Baz’s reaction when we pulled up in front of the hotel lobby. I was beginning to learn that his normal expression was stoical. But as a bellhop was unloading his stuff and putting it on a cart, the professor spotted the casino entrance. The doorman was dark-­skinned and a little more than two meters in height; he wore the burnoose robes of an aborigine, with a saber in the scabbard on his belt.

Dr. al-­Baz stared at him. “That’s not a Martian, is he?”

“Not unless he used to play center for the Blue Devils.” Dr. al-­Baz raised an eyebrow, and I smiled. “That’s Tito Jones, star of the Duke basketball team . . . or at least until he came here.” I shook my head. “Poor guy. He didn’t know why the casino hired him to be their celebrity greeter until they put him in that outfit.”

Dr. al-­Baz had already lost interest. “I was hoping he might be a Martian,” he said softly. “It would have made things easier.”

“They wouldn’t be caught dead here . . . or anywhere near the colonies, for that matter.” I turned to follow the bellhop through the revolving door. “And by the way . . . we don’t call them ‘Martians.’ ‘Aborigines’ is the preferred term.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. And what do the Mar . . . the aborigines call themselves?”

“They call themselves shatan . . . which means ‘people’ in their language.” Before he could ask the obvious next question, I added, “Their word for us is nashatan, or ‘not-­people,’ but that’s only when they’re being polite. They call us a lot of things, most of them pretty nasty.”

The professor nodded and was quiet for a little while.

The University of Arizona might not have sprung for a grad student’s marsliner ticket, but they made up for it by reserving a two-­room suite. After the bellhop unloaded his cart and left, Dr. al-­Baz explained that he’d need the main room—­a large parlor complete with a bar—­for the temporary lab he intended to set up. He didn’t unpack right away, though; he was ready for that drink I’d promised him. So we left everything in the room and caught the elevator back downstairs.

The hotel bar is located in the casino, but I didn’t want to drink in a place where the bartender is decked out like a Barsoomian warlord and the waitresses are dolled up as princesses of Helium. The John Carter is the only place on Mars where anyone looks like that; no one in their right mind would wear so few clothes outside, not even in the middle of summer. So we returned to the jeep and I got away from the strip, heading into the old part of town that the tourists seldom visit.

There’s a good watering hole about three blocks from my apartment. It was still late afternoon, so the place wasn’t crowded yet. The bar was quiet and dark, perfect for conversation. The owner knew me; he brought over a pitcher of ale as soon as the professor and I sat down at a table in the back.

“Take it easy with this,” I told Dr. al-­Baz as I poured beer into a tallneck and pushed it across the table to him. “Until you get acclimated, it might hit you pretty hard.”

“I’ll take your advice.” The professor took a tentative sip and smiled. “Good. Better than I was expecting, in fact. Local?”

“Hellas City Amber. You think we’d have beer shipped all the way from Earth?” There were more important things we needed to discuss, so I changed the subject. “What’s this about wanting blood? When you got in touch with me, all you said was that you wanted me to take you to an aboriginal settlement.”

Dr. al-­Baz didn’t say anything for a moment or so. He toyed with the stem of his glass, rolling it back and forth between his fingers. “If I’d told you the entire truth,” he finally admitted, “I was afraid you might not agree to take me. And you come very highly recommended. As I understand, you’re not only native-­born, but your parents were among the first settlers.”

“I’m surprised you know that. You must have talked to a former client.”

“Do you remember Ian Horner? Anthropologist from Cambridge University?” I did indeed, although not kindly; Dr. Horner had hired me to be his guide, but if you’d believed everything he said, he knew more about Mars than I did. I nodded, keeping my opinion to myself. “He’s a friend of mine,” Dr. al-­Baz continued, “or at least someone with whom I’ve been in contact on a professional basis.”

“So you’re another anthropologist.”

Revue de presse

“Strong, fun and evocative.”
“A fantastic anthology . . . Pulp magic lives in these pages.”Bookhound

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2393 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 512 pages
  • Editeur : Bantam (8 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  23 commentaires
24 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Old Mars 10 octobre 2013
Par Beth H - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Old Mars is an anthology of short science fiction stories based about Mars. All of the stories are very enjoyable and some of them we quite riveting. Giving us a quick view into each author's style of writing and wetting our appetites, hopefully, for more to come. Below is an extremely brief synopsis of each short story contained in Old Mars

Introduction by George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin gives a detailed but intriguing history on the exploration of Mars, fact and fiction, as well as the hypothesis of some of the great science fiction writers.

Martian Blood by Allen M. Steele

Mr. Jim Ramsey is Mars born and raised. Hired as a guide by University of Arizona's Dr. Omar al-Baz, Ramsey is asked to take him to meet the aborigines (Martians). Jim Ramsey escorts Dr. al-Baz to the tribe where he requests a sample of their blood to see if Martians and humans have similar origins.

The Ugly Duckling by Matthew Hughes

Fred Mather's is an archaeologist, but hides his credentials so he can join New Acres Mining Corp. New Acres is strip mining Mars' abandoned cities much to the dismay of the archaeological community. Fred Mather's discovers a block with lines/patterns that divulges Martian history by imprinting the actual events on his mind.

The Wreck of Mars Adventure by David D. Levine

Captain William Kidd is set for execution when King William III gives his a pardon, if he promises to take the first ever expedition to Mars with Dr. Sexton, physiologist. Crashing in the midst of a Martian city, Kidd must discover a way to return home with the easily distracted Sexton safely aboard.

Sword of Zar-Tu-Kan by S. M. Stirling

Sally Yamashita is over seeing the transition of Tom Beckworth to life on Mars when he is kidnapped by Martians. Sally and her unusual dog like creature must rescue Tom from the nefarious plans of his kidnappers.

Shoals by Mary Rosenblum

A boy named Maartin Xai has a unique perspective. He can see beings living in the dust devils of Mars. The people of the settlement think him retarded from a head injury that killed his mother but when greedy miners come to take the Martian Pearls, Maartin's ability to see the secret inhabitants might save them all.

In the Tomb of the Martian Kings by Mike Resnick

Professor Quedipai, AKA Cutie Pie, hires Scorpio and his companion pet Merlin as protectors. Quedipai believes he has discovered the lost tomb of the Martian Kings. This is an accounting of the danger racked journey.

Out of Scarlight By Liz Williams

Our narrator is hired to find a missing dancer named Hafyre, a dancer that our narrator has had a romantic tryst. Hafyre was last seen leaving with a sorcerer. The adventure leads the narrator into the wildness where a run in with Nightwall Dair in sues.

The Dead Sea - Bottom Scroll by Howard Waldrop

The stories narrator decides to use the most famous travel log of Martian Oud to recreate the journey between Tharsis and Solis Lacus.

A Man without Honor by James S. A. Corey

Captain Alexander Lawton (of Mars) writes to King George Louis, ruler of Britain, France and Ireland a detail letter why he is indirectly responsible for the death of Governor Smith.

Written in Dust by Melinda Snodgrass

Matilda Michaelson-McKenzie is caught in a battle between her 2 fathers and grandfather. Fearful she is falling ill from the condition known as Mars Reverie Syndrome she is distraught when she is told she can't leave Mars. Mars Reverie Syndrome is known to drive humans mad. When one of her father falls into a coma Tilda makes a shocking discovery about the voices in her head.

The Last Canal by Michael Moorcock

Mac Stone was sold into indentured slavery as a child, he and Yily are the only 2 people ever to escape Tanks Town. Now he is on the run for his life with bionic wombats chasing his every move. Approached by a inter-galaxy time travel, Mac must decide if he will take on a dangerous mission to save Mars. It seems the time travelers accidentally left a Star Bomb in the secret water system of Mars. Mac must uncover and disarm the bomb before its too late.

The Sunstone by Phyllis Eisenstein

Dave Miller is returning to Mars with his Ph. D. Ready to join the business his father Dr. Benjamin Miller as an archaeologist and tour guide. Dave discovers his father missing so he tracks down Rekari, Benjamin's business partner and martian friend. Rekari said that David's father has left him a Sunstone, a stone only Martian's ever possess. The Sunstone Dave receives starts a journey that will lead to a discovery of a life time.

King of the Cheap Romance by Joe R. Lansdale

Angela King and her father are racing back to a remote village on Mars with a cure for Martian fever when their glider is attacked by a Martian bat, crashing them on the frozen tundra. Loosing her father in the crash, young Angela must battle ice sharks and grief as she tries to save the village.

Mariner by Chris Roberson

Jason Carmody was sucked through a vortex when he was sailing around the earth. The vortex dumped him out on Mars. A Mars that oppresses religion, enslaves and sends to prison those who challenge the current religious belief.

The Queen of Night's Aria by Ian McDonald

Count Jack Fitzgerald, Masestro, and his personal assistance Faisal head to the front lines of war on Mars to preform. This story gives the account of the consequences of this trip.

This ARC copy of Old Mars was given to me by Random House Publishing Group - Bantam in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication October 8, 2013.

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
ISBN-10: 0345537270
ISBN-13: 978-0345537270
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Recommendation: Teen +
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Not the John Carter homage I expected . . . but probably better for it 17 octobre 2013
Par Bob Milne - Publié sur
Old Mars is a deliberately retro style pulp sci-fi anthology, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois. This is a collection that gleefully turns its back on things like Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and the rest of the Mars rovers to revisit a time when the canals of Mars were full of the promise of alien civilization.

The Ugly Duckling by Matthew Hughes was a fascinating story about a covert sort of archaeological expedition to Mars, complete with a little social commentary about obliterating the past in the pursuit of progress.

Sword of Zar-Tu-Kan by S. M. Stirling is one of those stories that barely slipped past the read-it-or-skip-it test, but despite being a bit too cute for my taste, still managed to entertain. Shoals by Mary Rosenblum, on the other hand, blew past the test with flying colors, but failed to sustain my enthusiasm.

Out of Scarlight by Liz Williams and A Man without Honor by James S. A. Corey were both solid stories that kept me reading through the crucial mid-point of the anthology, while The Last Canal was not at all what I expected from Michael Moorcock - less pulp heroism and more sci-fi adventure - but still tuned out to be a favorite of mine.

The Sunstone by Phyllis Eisenstein was another solid tale with an archaeological element, while King of the Cheap Romance by Joe R. Lansdale turned out to be the high point of the entire collection. Mariner by Chris Roberson executed a bit awkwardly on its religious commentary, and would have fared better had it not come after Lansdale, but The Queen of Night's Aria by Ian McDonald redeemed it with a story strong enough to anchor the end of the anthology.

Definitely heavier on the read-its than the skip-its, Old Mars wasn't quite the John Carter sort of homage I expected . . . but probably the better for it.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Original Mars of Sci-Fi 16 octobre 2013
Par Peter Harris - Publié sur
Old Mars is a collection of newly written fiction that harkens back to the greats including Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, and Phillip K. Dick and will transport you back to a time when Mars was the hot topic of pulp sci-fi. In others words, this offers fresh writing on an old Mars archetype and although I enjoyed some stories more than others, none were duds. Overall I'm pleased and impressed with how these new stories distinctly reincarnate the character of a retro Mars.

Full of suspense and subtle psychology, this substantial collection of stories pays homage to a Mars that exists no more. Next up for me is The Best of Philip K. Dick; two people I work with recommended it.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 I miss these stories 8 octobre 2013
Par W. Mackela - Publié sur
This book of short stories brings back fond memories of stories that I read as a teen. These are based on a Mars that is no more, a Mars that has life, water in the polar ice caps and canals to transport the water to the Martian cities. A Mars that has stories to tell. Heinlein, Bradbury, Burroughs, and many other authors told those tales. But these are all new stories not older recycled stories by the aforementioned authors. These are fantasy because hard science says that the Mars in these pages doesn't exist, but most of these stories would have fit in the Science Fiction category back in the sixties.

With most short story collections, there are stories that you really like, some that just OK and maybe one or two that you don't connect with. This very substantial book had only one story that I skipped, not because it wasn't well written, but because it was more of a fantasy than I felt like reading at the time. I may go back later a read it when I'm more in the mood. Most of the stories were very good and a lot of fun to read.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. I recommend this book to anyone who reads Science Fiction short stories.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Mostly-Unremarkable Desert Planet Stories 20 janvier 2014
Par J. Whelan - Publié sur
The intended theme of this 15-tale anthology (which the entries don't always match) is Martian fantasy in the style of E.R. Burroughs, Leigh Bracket, C.L. Moore or Ray Bradbury -- the sort of thing that was popular before the Mariner missions revealed Mars to be a lifeless rock. This is probably no better or worse than most new-fiction anthologies: a mixed bag, with more misses than hits.

For me, the highlights of the collection were "In the Tombs of the Martian Kings" by Mike Resnick, and "The Queen of Night's Aria" by Ian McDonald. Both are rather cynical tales compared to (say) old-school pulp fantasies of Burroughs. Still both were lively and well-written, and managed (despite their cynicism) to capture a spirit of wonder. However, I found the ending to "...Night's Aria" to be somewhat disturbing, and I am not entirely sure I mean that as praise.

Other stories make a respectable attempt to capture the old spirit, but end up suffering from simple mediocrity: These include (in roughly my order of preference): "A Man without Honor" by James S.A. Corey, "Mariner" by Chris Roberson, "The Lost Canal", by Michael Moorcock, and "The Swords of Zar-Tu-Kan" by S.M. Stirling.

Still others seem more intent on thumbing their noses at Burroughs than paying homage to him, as if to say "We're too good for this sort of thing." These include "Martian Blood" by Alan M. Steele (garbage); and perhaps "Out of Scarlight" by Liz Williams (almost unreadable, to me anyway). "King of the Cheap Romance" by Joe R. Lansdale manages to do a bit of both -- it is a lively adventure tale, but shoots itself in the foot with its self-conscious irony (including the too-clever title).

"Wreck of the Mars Adventure" by David D. Levine, is about Captain Kidd voyaging to Mars using 18th century tech, and is more about the (scientifically ludicrous) journey than about the planet. Lively but pointless.

There are a handful of inwardly-focused tales where various earthlings get in touch with their inner Martian. These include "The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls" by Howard Waldrop (more mood-piece than story, but as such not bad); "The Sunstone" by Phyllis Eisenstein; "Shoals" by Mary Rosenblum (about a boy who can see invisible Martians); "The Ugly Duckling" by Mathew Hughes (almost a horror tale, but I suspect am I shuddering at the author rather than with him); and "Written In Dust" by Melinda Snodgrass (or - why selling your soul to weird alien gods is a good idea).
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