As the steady beat of news items on broadcast and print media, as well as on the Internet, have been quite intent on informing us -- Mars is close -- very close, the closest in tens of thousands of years -- at 5:51 a.m. today the distance is a mere 34, 646,418 miles.
I have always had an affinity for Mars.
As a child (as I have recounted at various times in entries in this journal) I was drawn by the allure of possible real future space travel (as depicted variously in the general purpose magazines of the 1940's and '50's --Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post -- but most especially, it seems to me, in the pages of Colliers) and by science fiction tales, listened to on the radio, read in comic books (such as Mystery in Space comic -- I've just read that issue #1 - April-May, 1951, is worth $3,200 dollars in near-mint condition -- and if that magazine didn't begin publishing until 1951, I am now mystified as to what science fiction comic I was reading when I was in the hospital for a tonsillectomy three years earlier) and read in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Ah, Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Mars series -- The Warlord of Mars may be the best known title from that series -- I had been thinking it was the second one in the series but now that I've been hunting URLs I realize that it was actually the third installment in the adventures of John Carter (A Princess of Mars was the first, followed by The Gods of Mars... eventually there were ten books in the series, although not all of them placed John Carter in the starring role he had in the early books). [Note: all of Burroughs Mars books, plus his Venus books and three of his Tarzan books are available online here; the first four Mars books are also available here as part of Project Gutenberg.]
And, of course, perhaps the most famous Mars story: War of the Worlds -- The H.G.Wells novel -- The Orson Welles radio broadcast that terrified thousands and thousands of people -- The 1953 movie version (staring Gene Barry) -- the late 1980's tv show version (starring nobody in particular) -- (but wasn't there a 1970's or early 80's movie remake? I can't find it but I really thought there was one)-- and apparently yet another remake (currently "in production" and due out next year?).
How about a couple more Mars web pages: Mars Society webpage and NASA and Mars.
And, just to wrap things up, follow this link to see a nice big picture of mars. A great picture!