Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Remains of an Ancient Civilization Discovered on Mars by NASA's Planet Surveyor

Outlines of a House, Church and Graveyard, Helmet and Statue of a Giant Frog.

 

Ruins of House found on Mars

Photographs released by NASA's Australian Deep Space Monitoring facility, reveal the presence of an ancient settlement on Mars.

Looking much like Roman ruins, the settlement on Cydonia Plains comes complete with outbuildings, a statue of a giant frog, and a discarded helmet.

Mars is the "Red Planet" for a very good reason: its surface is made of a thick layer of oxidized iron dust and rocks of the same color. Maybe another name for Mars could be "Rusty." But the ruddy surface does not tell the whole story of the composition of this world.

The Red Planet has of course been the frequent setting for fictional civilizations.

Semper Mars (1998) by Ian Douglas depicts the Cydonia region of Mars as home to ancient alien ruins where mummified early humans are found in 2040. This is fiction imitating life, or very possibly the reverse

The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story fixup by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. The book lies somewhere in between a short story collection and an episodic novel, containing stories Bradbury originally published in the late 1940s in science fiction magazines. The stories were loosely woven together with a series of short, interstitial vignettes for publication.

Ironically, Bradbury foretold the finding of an ancient, dead civilization on Mars.

"Ylla" (February 1999/2030)

First published as "I'll Not Ask for Wine" in Maclean's, January 1, 1950.

The following chapter, "Ylla", moves the story to Mars, describing the Martians as having brown skin, yellow eyes, and russet hair. Ylla, a Martian woman trapped in an unromantic marriage, dreams of the coming astronauts through telepathy. Her husband, though he pretends to deny the reality of the dreams, becomes bitterly jealous, sensing his wife's inchoate romantic feelings for one of the astronauts. After taking his gun under the pretense of hunting, he kills astronauts Nathaniel York and "Bert" as soon as they arrive.

"The Summer Night" (August 1999/2030)

First published as "The Spring Night" in The Arkham Sampler, Winter 1948.

This short vignette tells of Martians throughout Mars who, like Ylla, begin subconsciously picking up stray thoughts from the humans aboard the Second Expedition's ship. As the ship approaches their planet, the Martians begin to adopt aspects of human culture such as playing and singing American songs, without any idea where the inspirations are coming from.

"The Earth Men" (August 1999/2030)

First published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1948.

Crosses on Mars

This story tells of the "Second Expedition" to Mars. The expedition is a group of four men. The astronauts arrive to find the Martians to be strangely unresponsive to their presence. The one exception to this is a group of Martians in a building who greet them with a parade. Several of the Martians in the building claim to be from Earth or from other planets of the solar system, and the captain slowly realizes that the Martian gift for telepathy allows others to view the hallucinations of the insane, and that they have been placed in an insane asylum. The Martians they have encountered all believed that their unusual appearance was a projected hallucination. Because the "hallucinations" are so detailed and the captain refuses to admit he is not from Earth, Mr. Xxx, a psychiatrist, declares him incurable and kills him. When the "imaginary" crew does not disappear as well, Mr. Xxx shoots and kills them too. Finally, as the "imaginary" rocket remains in existence, Mr. Xxx concludes that he too must be crazy and shoots himself. The ship of the Second Expedition is sold as scrap at a junkyard.

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

janedoe writes:

April fools in May? Is this story your web bait?

 
 
 

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