Outpost Mars

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The Marine had been dispatched apparently from Earth in response to a distress call from Union Aerospace Corporation's research facility on Mars. The base was under attack by an unknown force and his mission was to acquire intelligence and neutralize the threat. Once his insertion was complete ordered to rendezvou with the other Marines at Junction for further instructions. He was told to expect heavy resistance.

Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. This article is a stub. Please help the Doom Wiki by expanding it. No gee-whiz, just take the technology for granted. The year is snuck in almost subliminally. Why so far into the future?


In rockets had almost no operational history. The V-2 rockets from Germany to England and a few missile tests at White Sands in the New Mexico desert gave little indication that large-scale regular rocket travel to Mars could be possible in Judd's lifetimes or in those of their youngest readers. Realistic science fiction was paradoxically conservative. No rocket even crashes on Mars until , although the development off of that base is rapid. As befits a non-gee-whiz technology their rockets are given scant description. The trucks drive directly under the exhaust nozzle — remember, it has just been firing rocket blasts and must be red hot and yet crews immediately scramble into its maw to remove the reaction motor.

The authorities would shut down testing after explosions no onlooker ever got hurt, although that was sheer luck but enchanted crowds would return in masse a few weeks later for the next demonstration.

In the Golden Age, rockets were advanced planes; nobody thought twice about proximity. An elevator takes at least three loads of people off the rocket; that plus the cargo offloaded also hints that it is huge. Yet the big industrial colonies named get only six, three, and two men, the brothel is supplied with one new prostitute.


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Sun Lake gets a full ten new colonists, including a family with two children, allowing Judd to remind us they must adapt to the low Martian gravity. Both the gravity and the new colonists disappear from the plot; the rocket is a macguffin, necessary only to provide an artificial deadline — the missing drug must be found before it takes off again.

Although rockets land four times a year, Judd needs a character who can thrill at an arrival. A year-boy, who, moreover, had arrived on Mars a mere year before, accompanies the Sun Lake doctor on what is apparently his first ever sighting of a rocket. That they can for a moment think this is plausible reinforces the frontier town aura, from a 19th century time when kids would not have made multi-hour journeys to other camps.

Her plight makes the reader wonder how other Martian births are handled and where all the rest of the children are. Yet only one other child is seen and she quietly disappears after a few brief mentions. Merril soared to instant fame in the field because she, unlike her male colleagues, wrote about mothers and babies in ways intrinsic to her stories; though a true collaboration, her base contribution is obvious.

In the finished piece, though, events concentrate on adults and adult relationships while occasionally tugging on sentimental heartstrings concerning babies. The mix congeals like swirled ice cream, with layers always visible, in the same way that the constant descriptions of technological adaptations to Martian conditions vie with the need to base them on familiar notions of the possible. Forget DNA testing and communications satellites, both of which would instantly undermine the plot, Sun Lake has no screens. No computers, no television no entertainment of any kind , and apparently no mirrors or other glass.

Line of sight radio transmission and retransmission is the only way to communicate between colonies.

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It gets worse. They simply show up, as if on a stagecoach. A reporter is able to cancel a damning story on Sun Lake before anyone on Earth can read it because it apparently needs to physically transmitted on paper by the rocket.

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Mars has women; it needs radio. True to the tenets of s science fiction, the society portrayed in the novel is sheer whitebread middle-class Americana. The default assumption makes every inhabitant on Mars white, with no hints that any other race or ethnicity is present except for one character named Juarez.

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No matter. Earth is a cesspool that the Mars-lovers have put behind them. You got born into a hate-thy-neighbor, envy-they-neighbor, murder-thy-neighbor culture. The odds were you were hungry, always hungry. Overpopulation is the reason for the hunger. It was a good thing, thought Dr. God only knew what he would think justified by an extra eye or an extra set of tentacles. Women are marginally better regarded, though like Merril in pregnancy they are dominated by biology.

A woman is a member of the Sun Lake council, others are pilots or nurses. The strongest men are brought to their knees by a women in labor or the helpless infant she produces. The dynamic between the sexes, about as advanced as a Hepburn-Tracy movie, towers over other contemporary depictions of Martian culture. Clarke has a pert year-old girl as a love interest in an otherwise all-male cast.

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Though Heinlein would later win praise for a few strong female characters, Red Planet might be the most chauvinistic book of its time. No woman is shown holding a job or position of any description; they are instead weak, helpless, or shrill impediments to the manly men who protect them, even though the men are still boys.

The slightness of the improvement in Outpost Mars is shown in two death scenes.

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One woman dies courageously, by crawling outdoors from her sickbed to expire while pointing out the route of a set of the mysterious footprints; one man dies courageously, by jumping a man with a gun and choking him to death while being filled full of holes. Mars is not exactly a utopia. The message Judd sends is less communalistic than hierarchical: we few who think differently can act on our superior beliefs and flee the hordes for better worlds.

American frontier mythology is lousy with such characters; so is science fiction. As the s progress the insistence of writers in the field that American culture is sick and doomed takes on greater and greater urgency. Judd is ahead of this curve. The adult themes in Outpost Mars made for good literature in the early s.

Astonishingly, this grown-up albeit chaste book was reprinted in under the title Sin in Space. A blonde bombshell stares out at the reader while lifting her blouse; a helmeted astronaut leers sideways at her. What reward did a reader get for seeking sin in space? Someone added scenes for spiciness, failing to an almost ludicrous extent.

The reporter flashes money at a prostitute, buying her time for an interview, learning that the guys on Mars are nicer than the ones back home in Altoona. At the end he slips her another fifty for her regular services. Not a word of description is provided.

Outpost Mars

Whether that is a kindness depends on what you think of the other insertion, a what-happens-next after the kiss. But the fierce flood that ran between them was man grown, women strong.

There was only one body. There was only one mind.

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In the time that followed Tony was himself and her, he touched her flesh and in her flesh responded, he invaded and welcomed; it was he who invited and he who entered; it was she who clung and she who thrust; not he in his body and she in hers but the two of them … together … in each.