Lost Mars: Stories From the Golden Age of the Red Planet

Publication Info: Edited by Mike Ashley. Published April 5, 2018, paperback. Kindle edition also available.Lost Mars

I discovered this little gem while browsing the new book shelves at the main branch of the Denver Public Library.¬† Born in the 50’s, my childhood reading included fantastic fiction about amazing discoveries and about colonizing nearby planets. I used to devour the Danny Dunn books by Jay Williams, as well as the Miss Pickerell books by Ellen MacGregor and the Mr. Bass books by Eleanor Cameron. As a teen I grew up on Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

But then I left the classics behind, moving on to more modern sci-fi and fantasy. This volume gave me the opportunity to learn about some of the very earliest sci-fi writers and their stories about Mars. Lost Mars: Stories From the Golden Age of the Red Planet covers short stories about Mars from the late 1800’s to the early 1960’s. Some of the authors were familiar to me, but most were not. I found the stories to be deep, reflective and intelligent for the time in which they were written. Note the phrase “for the time in which they were written”. Yes several are misogynistic, written in good old dead white guy style, but while that would rankle in a story written today, these tales laid a solid foundation for generations of writers to come– writers who continue to expand our horizons with their far-reaching imaginations.

Recommended for sci-fi enthusiasts.

Carmen Miranda’s Ghost

During the height of her career in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Carmen Miranda was a very popular Brazilian performer. She died in 1955 but her spirit lives on in this charming collection of short stories compiled by editor/author Don Sakers.

Carmen MirandaCarmen Miranda signed page

Carmen Miranda’s Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three was published in 1990 and features authors sci-fi fans have loved for years, like Anne McCaffrey and C.J. Cherryh. It also has stories from previously unknown writers. Each tale includes Carmen Miranda in some way.

I’ve known Don Sakers for longer than either of us would like to admit. I met him through a mutual friend in my teens and we ended up as co-workers, supporting each other’s creative efforts for many years. My copy of this book is signed by the editor. (The note is a reference to my years as an amateur songwriter).

Murray Leinster

My husband, Neal, and I read very different books. I love the hot off the press titles and he loves digging through used book sales for older treasures. Occasionally, it makes for interesting conversation as we try to both find common ground in our love of reading.

He very rarely reads science fiction but this anthology caught his attention a couple  weeks ago.Murray Leinster

This anthology was published in 1969 and features some of the best sci-fi writers of the day. He asked me if I’d ever heard of Murray Leinster. The name wasn’t familiar to me, so off to Google I went. It turns out that Murray Leinster (the pen name of William F. Jenkins) was a very prolific and versatile author. He wrote not only sci-fi but also westerns, mysteries and even romance novels and short stories. Leinster was one of the first writers to envision the Internet in a story he wrote in 1946 called “A Logic Named Joe”.

In any case, the point of all this is it got me thinking. There are so many authors and books that vanish into the mist of time within less than a generation. The Brown Booknook is a supplement to The Brown Bookloft. It is less formal in approach and broader in scope. The Brown Booknook is simply all about the love of reading.