Tales of Future Past v2

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Life on Mars

Life on Other Worlds > Life on the Planets

Here is how Gernsback saw his Martians in the '20s; a bit squatter and child-like, but much more willing to use his cool atomic rifle for a bit of wanton destruction.

Rather than being a work of pure fancy like most of the others on these pages, the Martian was actually based on some sort of logic, though very much of the schoolboy exercise book variety.

Here is how Gernsback described the Martians in 1924:

Gravitational pull being so much smaller, the Martian, if he exists, is probably very much taller than the human being, possibly 13 to 20 feet tall. Having attained a much more advanced civilization, performing all works by machines and hardly ever attempting manual labor, the Martians arms have shrunk until they are little more than mere bones with skin covering them. The body weighing much less on Mars and the Martian probably only moving about in mechanical contrivances, his legs have become almost useless and are therefore similarly attenuated. They also have but tiny muscles covered with skin.  But in order to support such a tall body (the gravitation being low) the Martian must have large feet.

Now the scant Martian atmosphere makes it very difficult to smell. Scents are propagated very slowly in the scant atmosphere. For that reason the Martian must go to the smell rather than the smell come to him. We should therefore find an elephantine nose to compensate the Martian's shortcomings in this respect, just as an elephant's head had to grow a long trunk in order to make it easier for him to get his water and just as a giraffe's has a long neck  to reach the food he likes.

In a thin atmosphere loud sounds become very weak. We should expect therefore equipped with large bat-like ears to catch more sound.

We may expect to find the Martian with projecting eyes if our deductions are correct and the temperature of Mars being nearly always freezing even at the Equator and always going going below zero at higher latitude, the Martians will probably be covered with thick fur or feathers in order to keep him warm.

The two horn like projections on his forehead are antennae and constitute the Martian's telepathic organs.

Ah, the good old days when Mars was a smaller, dryer Earth with a thin atmosphere and could be reasonably regarded as being marginally habitable. A vast change from the near-vacuum of a world with no free water, monstrous dust storms, and deadly UV radiation that we know it to be.

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