The Guns of Mars Paperback – Apr 10 2010
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About the Author
Martin T. Ingham is the author of various Science Fiction & Fantasy works, including West of the Warlock, The Guns of Mars, and The Rogue Investigations. His work has appeared in numerous print anthologies and online venues. Influenced by the greats of speculative fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, etc...), he utilizes wit and wisdom to create stories for today's readers with his own unique voice. When he isn't writing, Martin likes to dabble in numismatics, horology, antique auto restoration, and he likes to play with guns. He currently resides in his hometown of Robbinston, Maine, with his four children, Sylvia, Wyatt, Kathryn, and Lois. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
On the simplest level, THE GUNS OF MARS is a rootin' tootin', shoot 'em up grand example of this oldest of sci-fi genres. But, scrape even a single cell off the outer layer of Martin Ingham's intriguing story of the colonization and terra-forming of Mars, our nearest planetary neighbour, and you'll discover a profound forward thinking essay on political revolution, the potential conflicts between science and government as we now know it, the economic and engineering trials of establishing a planetary colony, the ethical dilemmas related to the utilization of modern scientific technology and the ongoing propensity of even the best intentioned politicians to opt for politically expedient solutions to problematic moral issues. And, if you think about it, that's a lot of ground for a novel to cover in a modest 249 pages!
Although Morgan Asher was gifted with a very active fantasy imagination, he never dreamed that he might travel to the red planet. Despite his misgivings, when Lorna Forsyth, his new wife, is offered the opportunity to achieve her most fondly held life's ambition, Asher opts to leave Earth behind and accompany her as a member of the recently established pioneering community on Mars. But it isn't long before Asher discovers the sinister presence of the Scientific Fundamentalists, a right-wing group from Earth known as Scifes whose loudly professed loyalty is the human race as a whole and whose publicly stated objective is the technological and biological advancement of people, however possible!
Just as a certain petty tyrant from Munich was able to paint an attractive propaganda portrait that persuaded millions of good people to buy into the devastating policies of the National Socialist Party, the Scifes present equally cogent arguments. "Liberty be damned. It's a stupid, outdated concept. A million minds with a million different opinions, all with the right to be wrong. Such chaotic thinking leads to nothing but stagnation and cultural death." But Martin Asher isn't buying honeyed arguments that he believes lead in the direction of repressive eugenic manipulation and brainwashing. Like so many patriots before him, he's prepared to die for his beliefs.
Ingham's title, THE GUNS OF MARS, refers to Asher's small gun collection, a personal memento from Earth that Asher chose to take to Mars. The issue of Asher's ownership of the guns quickly escalates into a Martian debate on the second amendment to the US constitution, the right to bear arms, which becomes in turn a metaphor for all of the personal freedoms, fought for and won in the past, that North Americans so complacently take for granted. (And, by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the very informative sidebar on the physics of firing a gunpowder based weapon in Mars' quite different atmosphere and gravity).
THE GUNS OF MARS isn't subtle. But that's OK with me. Along with Martin Ingham, it's my firm belief that future planetary colonization is a given. As a corollary to that assumption, it seems equally clear that the issues of government and personal rights in such a setting must also be carefully considered. If we don't do that, then the likelihood is that a group such as the Scientific Fundamentalists will enter the void and create our reality for us. Imaginative and exciting stories like THE GUNS OF MARS can serve as the basis for that discussion.
This story, however, takes place in this universe at a future date. Morgan Asher travels to a Martian colony with his wife and discovers a plot to take over the entire Martian colony. Morgan must find a way to stop the traitors, but doesn't know who he can trust.
A trademark of this author is that his plot lines move fairly quickly and so the reader is never left to wade through long sections of dry background material. This book is a page-turner! I was very curious to see what would happen next and so ended up finishing the book in a very short time.
I sympathized with Morgan Asher. He is portrayed as a reasonable, albeit world-weary man who's already been subjected to a great many trials and who just wants to settle down for a while. But he's also not one to stand idly by while something evil or unjust is going on, so he is driven to take action. He's a resourceful man who's fiercely loyal to his friends and family and so is able to find it within himself to do whatever it takes to set things right.
This makes for an enjoyable reading experience. When I finished the story I felt a little sad that I didn't have a sequel to pick up so I could find out what Morgan would be doing next!
Keep your eye on this author. Hopefully we'll be seeing more by him sometime soon.
Maybe I'm reading things into this, but it seems a lot like a political thriller as much as science fiction. You have science worshippers who want to control everyone's lives through government and technology. The United States is portrayed in a very positive and optimistic light, while Europe is shown to be a strictly controlled regime ruled by a coalition government called "The Consensorate" (interesting name). I don't know if the author intended it, but it seems like Glenn Beck listeners would enjoy this book a lot.
Besides the political stuff, the author adds in a lot of futuristic technology along with enough real science to make you believe this could really happen. There are some good action scenes to spice things up, and the characters are well written so you know what they're all about. It is very compelling!
This is definitely one of the better novels I've read recently, and I highly recommend it.
To experience the drama & passion & ubiquitous assumptions of this book is to wonder what will be the fate of the human experiment.
As Stephen Hawkins has stated "humanity MUST migrate from Earth IF we are to survive as a species."
Martin has used allegory and continued on the same course of Alex Toffler in his book "Future Shock"