Mars Probes, edited by Peter Crowther (DAW, 2002)

In this all-new anthology of science fiction stories inspired by Mars, some of today’s best authors take a stab at the Red Planet. Included are works by Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, Scott Edelman, Alastair Reynolds, Ray Bradbury, Allen Steele, and more. While the stories are all entertaining, a few do stand out, such as Allen Steele’s “A Walk Across Mars,” in which the true story of the first Mars mission is finally revealed. The character twist that arrives near the end is so simple, yet so unexpected, as to floor the reader. Mike Resnick and M. Shayne Bell deliver a hilarious parody of the John Carter books in “Flower Children of Mars,” and Alastair Reynold’s “The Real Story” looks at another variation on whatever happened to the first man on Mars. This is an enjoyable anthology, doing justice to the topic at hand.

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