Mars: The Dead Planet?

The last day or so has been one funky roller coaster for me.  I deleted and undeleted the Mars website a few times, certain it wouldn’t work and then desperately trying to find some loophole back into it.  It’s definitely on hiatus for now as I try to rework the idea.

Obviously, the first question is what went wrong?  What doomed it before I got through even the first page of the first chapter?

First, there’s the historical aspect of it.  The story was supposed to be set in 1898, a time period that I know almost nothing about.  The only thing I know about the 1890s is that it saw the publication of Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The War of the Worlds.  That’s it.

The second problem was Mars itself.  This is where science kind of ruined the fun for the rest of us.  Before the Mariner spacecraft, a writer could bullshit his way through a story about Mars.  After Mariner, however, the idea of an intelligent species on Mars fell through the floor.  Believe me, I tried to come up with a reasonable Martian to fit the planet known to science today, but life as we know it needs liquid water, which can’t exist on Mars (it‘ll try to freeze and evaporate at the same time).  The water issue set aside, my concept of the Martian was such that it would view Earth as a toxic planet unsuitable for it to live on.  In that case, they’d have no reason to come and invade.

Now that I’ve recognized the problems, how can I remedy them?  Regarding the historical problem, I think I need to switch to one that I’m a little more familiar with, or at least one that I can research fairly easily.  I think switching to 1914 might be better, just before World War 1.  The alternatives are World War 2 or the American Civil War.  Harry Turtledove already did an alien invasion in World War 2, and I honestly doubt that the United States could fend off aliens while the North and South beat each other.

And speaking of Turtledove, I think I’m going to follow his lead and replace Mars with a planet of my own much like he did in the novel A World of Difference, substituting Mars with an Earth-like planet called Minerva.  Normally, I’d be against that, but I really do want to have the aliens coming from our own solar system.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can solve the problem and make the pieces fall together because I still feel a hint of excitement doing this project.

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