Mars and Science Fiction

There is something about mars that catches the attention of science fiction writers. Perhaps it is because in so many ways it is like earth. Pictures from the surface of the planet almost feel like pictures of a desert on earth. Because of this nearly every genre of science fiction from short stories to video games and comic books has used Mars as a setting or had characters from mars.
Some of the most famous uses of Mars are in classic science fiction. There are a few reasons for this. Telescope technology had allowed us to begin to glimpses the planet but not enough to know what it was really like. This type of ambiguity is the heart of science fiction.
Perhaps the most famous of these books is "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury. This series of short stories tells the story of men coming to mars, meeting Martians, building a civilization and eventually leaving mars. But it is only the tip of the iceburg. Heinlein wrote "Stranger in a Strange Land" about a man raised by Martians returning to earth and Isaac Asimov wrote "The Martian Way". In fact nearly every great science fiction writer of that Era had at least one story with Martians.
Once television and movies appeared there were even more stories. Invasions from mars were almost common in stories like War of the Worlds but eventually as we grew to understand the planet a little better it became about exploration, though these stories often didn't work out well, or seeing mars as a new frontier almost always exploited by corporations like in "Total Recall" which mixed ancient mars technology, paranoia and an evil corporation all together into one story.
Comic books had their own share of mars stories and characters. Perhaps the most famous of those was the Martian Manhunter. This character has become a major character and one that came about in large part because of the fascination of mars in the popular culture.
In more recent years video games have also began to use mars as a setting. Often using the same ideas in the other genres. "Red Faction: Guerilla" have you on a mars that has began to be terraformed fighting for Mars freedom. This is reminiscent of the battles for mars in both Total Recall and Babylon 5, including the use of ancient Martian technology.
No matter what media science fiction comes in it remains fascinated by the planet mars and if we are perseverant and willing to take a few risks perhaps someday we can fulfill some of the dreams of these science fiction authors. We can walk and even live on the surface of mars and I believe we will because we are a species who has constantly conquered new environments and we aren't likely to stop now.

mars, 2580 by ~shardanas on deviantART