Fall 2013 Department News

LPL Orbits Ray Bradbury's Mars

Orbiting Ray Bradbury's Mars:  Biographical, Anthropological, Literary, Scientific and Other Perspectives
Edited by Gloria McMillan
McFarland Publishers, 2013.

by Gloria McMillan

It was my great honor to work with such a diverse group of writers on this groundbreaking collection.  For the first time, a team of writers—several based at the Lunar and Planetary Lab and at the Kuiper Circle—has taken on a major American science fiction writer, from a full range of intellectual perspectives. Of course, our essayists include literary scholars, those who take an anthropological perspective, as well as film critics.  One essayist is a Native American cultural studies professor who grew up reading The Martian Chronicles on and off the reservation, engaging with its allegory of settlers and native Martians. Two film critics tackle the media's adaptations of Bradbury's Martian texts.  But beyond these comparatively expected voices on the legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, we also have essays by space scientists and one aerospace engineer.

The names most familiar to those at the Lunar and Planetary Lab will be Peter Smith (Foreword) and the Planetary Science Institute's Bill Hartmann, who did cover art.  We also have an essay from Kitt Peak's Chuck Dugan (NOAO Project Astro coordinator) who is in The Kuiper Circle. Two NASA scientists, Chris McKay and Carol Stoker,  who worked on the Phoenix Mars Lander project with Peter Smith, wrote about "naming of names" on Mars—both their own activities and Bradbury's fictional "take" on giving Martian features new names. David Acklam, an aerospace engineer who is the Chair of the LPL Education and Public Outreach Kuiper Circle sub-comittee, wrote an essay based upon the realities of a human "invasion" of Mars, how Ray Bradbury predicted many of the challenges.

We hope you will find this as exciting as we did in writing this book.  We will have a book launch event at LPL as part of the Tucson Festival of Books next March.  But meanwhile...I have two links for those of you wishing to buy our collection:

Gloria McMillan, Ph.D., is a UA Associate (Research) and a member of the LPL Education and Public Outreach Kuiper Circle sub-comittee.