We Are the Martians: A New Red World

Ken Hollings continues the series that revels in the Mars of imagination, history and science.

Feminists, Christians, peace loving druids, vegetarian fruitarian dwarves, Bolsheviks and big science terraformers have all offered up their versions of Martian utopia.

Both the astronomer Flammarion and the Russian mystic and Cosmist Nikolai Fyodorov dreamed of the dead resurrected on Mars. At the height of the Cold War, mysterious messages from Mars turn out to come from God, as mankind is shocked into a new beginning in the loopy film Red Planet Mars. But the Bolsheviks had got to Mars long before that, before the revolution even in 1908 with Alexander Bogdanov's Red Star. A prophet of the Bolshevik Revolution, Bogdanov gives us a historically advanced socialist state visited by a veteran revolutionary. In fact this socialist utopia will drive him mad! Russia and then the Soviet Union ached for a future among the stars where apple blossom time would come to Mars.

In Unveiling a Parallel, 1893, two Iowan women send a visitor by plane to see how women's lives could be just as equal as men's. Why they could propose marriage and have children out of wedlock!

That great mapper of Mars canals, Percival Lowell, impressed on people the desperate tale of Martian co-operation as they raced to save their species. In America the story of terraforming emerged from science fiction to cast a powerful spell on scientists and writers. Jim lovelock, creator of the Gaia theory impishly suggesting we nuke Mars and cover it in hair spray to begin its rebirth. Then came Kim Stanley Robinson, whose vast Martian trilogy (Red, Green, Blue Mars) gives us a near utopia, won only after decades of political strife, terraforming and a final, irrevocable break with Earth.

Producer: Mark Burman.

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43 minutes