A Martian is a native inhabitant of the planet Mars. Since there is no solid evidence of life there at present, all Martians known as of 2013 are fictional creatures. In science fiction, the term Martian could also refer to a human colonist born and raised on the planet Mars.
History of the concept
Historically, life on Mars has often been hypothesized. The idea of intelligent Martians was popularized by Percival Lowell and in fiction, especially by Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter (Barsoom) series, H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Despite the observation by Alfred Wallace that Mars's atmosphere was too thin to support an Earth-like ecology, various depictions of a Martian civilization were popular throughout the 20th century. The first pictures of Mars returned by space probes dashed hopes of contacting Martians, although claims of past Martian civilizations have continued into the 21st century (see Cydonia for one such claim).
Martians in fiction
Martians, other than human beings transplanted to Mars (as in the film Red Planet), became rare in fiction after the visit of the space probe Mariner 4 to Mars, except in exercises of deliberate nostalgia, most frequently in genres such as comics and animation rather than word-based works. Otherwise, such sentient Martian species or civilisations are rationalised through use of the alternate history trope as a background
- Aleriel, or A Voyage to Other Worlds. (1883) by W. S. Lach-Szyrma, said to be the first use of the noun Martian. Aleriel lands his ether-car on Mars and: ″buried it in the snows, so that it might not be disturbed by any Martian who might come across it″.
- The War of the Worlds (1898) by H. G. Wells. The Martians are an ancient, advanced race with a tentacled, cephalopod-like appearance, who are invading Earth as their own planet is cooling down.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a series of books (1912) depicting his character John Carter on Mars starting with A Princess of Mars. In his novels, he refers to Mars as Barsoom. The exploits of John Carter were later adapted into the live-action film John Carter.
- Aelita (1923): Aelita, Queen of Mars, novel written by Russian writer Alexey Tolstoy. The Martians live in a class-based society; their workers rise up against the ruling class, but the revolution fails.
- Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, a vast future history published in 1930 and spanning billions of years, includes a long and carefully worked-out account of several Martian invasions of Earth over a period of tens of thousands of years.
- C. S. Lewis wrote, in Out of the Silent Planet (1938), about three humans visiting Mars and meeting three different kinds of native intelligent creatures (sorns, (or séroni), hrossa, and pfifltriggi) there, as well as hunting hnakra and meeting the Oyarsa, or eldil in charge of this planet, called Malacandra in the Old Solar language. These Martians are dying out, but resign themselves to their fate.
- Raymond Z. Gallun's Seeds of the Dusk, published in 1938, shows the influence of both Wells and Stapledon, but with a special original twist. In this case, the invasion is successful, and it is the Itorloo, distant descendants of mankind, who are exterminated by a plague microbe artificially produced by the invaders.
- In four stories by Eric Frank Russell published in the early 1940s and collected in the classic Men, Martians and Machines, humans together with very likable Martians are shipmates who go out together into interstellar space and guard each other's backs while encountering various other aliens.
- Ray Bradbury's novel The Martian Chronicles (1950) depicts Martians as a refined and artistic race of golden-skinned beings who closely resemble humans. They are almost completely wiped out by the diseases brought to Mars by human invaders. At the end of the book the human inhabitants of Mars realize that they are the new Martians.
- Fredric Brown wrote Martians, Go Home (1955), a spoof of Wells's Martian invasion concept.
- Larry Niven featured humanoid Martians with a primitive material culture inhabiting an environment of red dust and salpetric acid, most notably in Protector (1973), which also includes their genocide.
- Robert A. Heinlein repeatedly used Martians (usually, human beings born and bred on Mars) as characters in his novels and short stories, including Red Planet (1949), Double Star (1956), and Stranger in a Strange Land (1961).
- In D. F. Jones's 1977 novel Colossus and the Crab, Martian life predated life on Earth, but faced a process of devolution as conditions on the planet worsened.
- The October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds was the cause of much confusion when it was aired, with some people believing an actual Martian invasion was taking place.
- Looney Tunes included the cartoon character Marvin the Martian (1948), a comic foil to Warner Bros. mainstays Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in several animated shorts. He attempts to blow up the earth, as it "obscures his view of Venus". Later, he appears as the Martian Commander in Duck Dodgers in the 24½ century.
- Red Planet Mars (1952) – Scientist Peter Graves contacts Martians by radio; they respond by preaching Christianity, and thus communism is defeated.
- The Twilight Zone – "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" has Martians attempting to colonize Earth. A humanoid Martian appears with three arms. However, the colonization is prevented by Venusians.
- Invaders from Mars (1953) – A film, remade in 1986.
- Quatermass and the Pit (1958–1959) – A British television serial in which a crashed spacecraft is discovered in London, which reveals that humanity on Earth is the result of experiments by a Martian civilisation, now long dead. It was remade as a film in 1967.
- My Favorite Martian (1963–1966) – A television comedy series and film.
- Doctor Who includes a race native to the planet Mars known as the Ice Warriors, whose planet is dying out. The show also features a Martian virus based within the planet's water.
- Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–1968) – The Martians at war with Earth are the Mysterons — an invisible race of superbeings hell-bent on revenge after an unprovoked attack on their Martian city by Captain Black, a Spectrum agent investigating strange alien signals.
- Spaced Invaders (1990) – A sci-fi comedy in which dim-witted Martians attempt to invade a small Illinois town during a re-broadcast of Orson Welles's 1938 War of the Worlds.
- Total Recall (1990) – A science fiction action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, where the plot concerns an apparently unsophisticated construction worker who turns out to be a freedom fighter from Mars and has been relocated to Earth. He later learns of an alien artifact proving life had previously existed on Mars.
- Philip K. Dick used the planet as a setting for many of his novels. In Martian Time-Slip, a human colony is trying to cope with arduous environmental conditions and there is also an aboriginal race of "Bleekmen" who are treated with casual racism. In The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, there are no indigenous inhabitants; so given the arduous ecological context, human colonists are dependent on drugs like "Can-D" and "Chew-Z."
- Mars Attacks! (1996) – A satirical film directed by Tim Burton, based on the equally satirical Topps trading card series Mars Attacks (1962).
- Mission to Mars (2000) – Martian(s) are shown as tall, feminine and very peaceful humanoids who abandoned their planet after a large meteor struck.
- Ghosts of Mars (2001) – Humans battle Martians for life on Mars.
- In the Invader Zim episode "Battle Of The Planets" (2001) Zim discovers that the Martian race became extinct after transforming the planet Mars into a giant space ship.
- Mars Needs Moms (2011) The male Martians have been banished from the planet by the females.
- In the DC Comics universe, the Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz) (1955) is a superhero and a member of the Justice League, believed to be the last of the peaceful Green Martians. Other DC creations include Miss Martian and the White Martians, the enemy of the Green Martians.
- In the Adventures of Superman story "Black Magic on Mars" from issue #62 (January 1950), Martians led by the dictator Martler, an admirer of Hitler, appear.
- In the future world of Marvel Comics' Killraven (1973), the Martian Masters who orchestrated the invasion in The War of the Worlds returned to Earth a century later and conquered it; they were overthrown by rebels led by the psychic human Jonathan Raven, alias Killraven.
- In the Metal Slug series, the Mars People are common enemies and plot devices very similar to the ones described by H.G. Wells.
- In the turned-based tactics game X-COM: UFO Defense, the alien invaders use Mars as a base of operations in which to launch UFO attacks on Earth.
- In the video game Stalin vs. Martians (2009), one plays the leader of the Soviet Union taking charge of defending the earth from invading Martians.
- Doom 3 features Martians as an ancient extinct race of people.
- The 1962 trading card series Mars Attacks (no exclamation point, unlike the 1996 film based on it) depicts an invasion of Earth by hideous, skeletal Martians.
- The Misfits have various songs related to Martians, e.g. "Teenagers from Mars" and "I Turned Into a Martian".
- Rebecca Bloomer's novel 'Unearthed' (2011), the first in a series, depicts a futuristic human colony on Mars. A distinction is made between those born on Earth who immigrated to Mars and the local Martians who were born there and have never known any other home.
- In Futurama, Mars is inhabited by Martians who are based on Native Americans.