Imagining Mars: A Literary History

Overview

For centuries, the planet Mars has captivated astronomers and inspired writers of all genres. Whether imagined as the symbol of the bloody god of war, the cradle of an alien species, or a possible new home for human civilization, our closest planetary neighbor has played a central role in how we think about ourselves in the universe. From Galileo to Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Crossley traces the history of our fascination with the red planet as it has evolved in literature both fictional and scientific. ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$29.44
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$40.00 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $19.98   
  • New (6) from $25.87   
  • Used (7) from $19.98   
Imagining Mars: A Literary History

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$31.99
BN.com price

Overview

For centuries, the planet Mars has captivated astronomers and inspired writers of all genres. Whether imagined as the symbol of the bloody god of war, the cradle of an alien species, or a possible new home for human civilization, our closest planetary neighbor has played a central role in how we think about ourselves in the universe. From Galileo to Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Crossley traces the history of our fascination with the red planet as it has evolved in literature both fictional and scientific. Crossley focuses specifically on the interplay between scientific discovery and literary invention, exploring how writers throughout the ages have tried to assimilate or resist new planetary knowledge. Covering texts from the 1600s to the present, from the obscure to the classic, Crossley shows how writing about Mars has reflected the desires and social controversies of each era. This astute and elegant study is perfect for science fiction fans and readers of popular science.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The difference between a planet and a world is imagination," says Crossley (Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future) in this entertaining new work. The 1877 discovery of Mars' moons and surface lines sparked a century of fascination that inspired scientific discovery and literature, despite the 1941 determination that the planet had too little oxygen or water for life. Crossley is equally comfortable discussing the scientific efforts of Percival Lowell and the stories of H.G. Wells, Robert Heinlein, Kim Stanley Robinson, and other sci-fi scribes. Crossley reviews Mars in history and literature, from "a dying world that served as a grim and cautionary text" to "the canvas on which writers could depict their wildest fantasies, their darkest fears" to "a laboratory and a playground of the mind." He draws substantial excerpts from texts to illustrate his thesis and chronologically explores the literature about Mars alongside the history of discovery, from those first "canali" to the "Bush agenda for a grand mission to Mars by 2020." Scholarly but accessible, with a generous number of illustrations and photographs, Imagining Mars is a fun and interesting read for sci-fi fans and armchair astronomers. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Crossley (English, emeritus, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston) has written previously primarily on sf writer Olaf Stapledon. Here, he delivers to his readers a thorough history of how writers, scientific and literary, have reacted to and imagined the red planet from the 17th century onward, focusing especially on the period from 1877 to the present. Crossley writes for the most part about literary reactions to the scientific study of Mars, mainly exploring novels, although there is some mention of short stories and poetry. He has included some brief literary criticism, but he is chiefly conveying literary history, at which he is brilliantly successful. His comprehensive analysis of the effects of scientific discovery and understanding on literature concerning Mars is strong.Verdict This work, at once a literary survey and a history of scientific understanding, exceeds expectations. Sf buffs, literary scholars, and fans of popular science will very much appreciate it. The inclusion of illustrations and photographs provides even further value.—Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Coll. Lib., Erie, PA
From the Publisher
"Robert Crossley's magnificent survey ‘Imagining Mars: A Literary History’ reminds us why the Red Planet has been the dominant orb, after Earth itself, in the science-fiction imagination."—Tom Shippey, The Wall Street Journal

"Robert Crossley examines the interplay between speculative fiction and scientific knowledge about Mars throughout history, from the age of the earliest telescopes to NASA's recent orbiters and rovers."—George M. Eberhart, College and Research Library News

"…this is the definitive literary history of a planet that has long been prospected by the human imagination, whatever the possibilities of actual settlement there."—Patrick Parinder, The British Society for Literature and Science Web Reviews

“Imagining Mars is nothing less than a magnum opus of literary criticism on the subject. It will resonate primarily with readers and scholars of sf and popular science, but it is written in accessible language and will appeal to anybody interested in the cultural history of the west. …Crossley clearly cares about this material on a personal and professional level, and it shows in the writing. Over ten years in the making, the book is a fitting climax to a long career of impeccable scholarship.”—D. Harlan Wilson, Extrapolation

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819569271
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 1/3/2011
  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT CROSSLEY is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. He is the author of Talking Across the World (1987) and Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future (1994), and editor of An Olaf Stapledon Reader (1997).
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface Chapter 1: The Meaning of Mars Chapter 2: Dreamworlds of the Telescope Chapter 3: Inventing a New Mars Chapter 4: Percival Lowell's Mars Chapter 5: Mars and Utopia Chapter 6: H. G. Wells and the Great Disillusionment Chapter 7: Mars and the Paranormal
• Chapter 8: Masculinist Fantasies Chapter 9: Quite in the Best Tradition Chapter 10: On the Threshold of the Space Age Chapter 11: Retrograde Visions Chapter 12: Mars Remade Chapter 13: Being There Chapter 14: Becoming Martian Chapter 15: Afterword: Mars Under Construction Notes Index
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)