Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Conquest Of Mars: A SciFi Oldie And Goodie Enough.

Garrett Servis is not well known for his contribution to science fiction. The glory goes to his contemporary, H.G. Wells. But in 1898 Servis published Edison's Conquest of Mars a groundbreaking sequel to The War of the Worlds by Wells.

Servis's novel is available now through Apogee Books. The book tells the story of Earth's counterattack against the Martians. Fortunately for the Earthlings Thomas Edison invents an electric space drive and disintegrator gun. Armed with their new weapons and flying their new ships, an international fleet exacts Earth's revenge on Mars for the unprovoked attack chronicled by Wells.

The writing is somewhat stilted and some of the ideas come off as mildly offensive to modern sensibilities. But overall the book is a decent read.

The novel is touted by the publisher as an overlooked classic in science fiction that introduced a host of firsts to the genre: space battles, alien abductions, disintegrator beams, cigar-shaped spaceships, and aliens building the pyramids. It's also praised for its scientific accuracy and predictions.

Servis contributes another staple of science fiction. The easy victory by the good guys because they attack the single vulnerability of the bad guys: think the central computer in Independence Day, the power station of the Death Star and centrally-controlled robots in Star Wars, for example.

Oh yeah, and it's a sequel. Where would science fiction be without sequels?

Read more here.


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