The Emperor of Mars
Allen Steele
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The Emperor of Mars (Near Space)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Published June 2010
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Carl Duzett
“The Emperor of Mars” is the third of five Hugo-nominated novelettes that I read last year as part of the voter's packet. It's about a guy who reads a lot of science fiction and then goes insane. (Unlike me, who has gone insane and begun to read science fiction.)

That's not a joke. (Other than the part in parentheses. Probably.) This Martian colonist reads old scifi stories about Mars and begins to think it's real, eventually believing himself to be the Emperor of Mars. It was weird to read a sci...more
I listed to the Starship Sofa podcast audio version of this work. It was a very enjoyable tale of someone on a realistic version of a future Mars who finds mental refuge in older, less realistic visions of Mars.

It might even contend for the 5-star rating, but I grade on a curve when there are a lot of references to other works of science fiction. Too many of these works have won or been nominated for awards recently; it feels like a cheap way to appeal to fans. I don't think that was Steele's mo...more
Zeke Chase
Rating: 5.8 / 10

When I first discovered Allen Steele, it was through one of his standalone novels, “Oceanspace”. From there I moved onto “Chronospace” and I believe by that point the first “Coyote” was out, and in waiting for the second “Coyote”, I discovered “A King of Infinite Space” at my local library and devoured that almost immediately.

Let me back up. If you're not as well versed in Allen Steele as I am, all that name dropping above will seem meaningless. What you need to know about Steele...more
This is a decent little novelette. At the surface, it's about a grunt worker on a Mars colony who starts to lose his mind after a personal tragedy. Really, though, this is a story about science fiction itself, and the power of literature overall. It's a love letter to the healing quality of removing ourselves from the everyday world and embracing fantasy. In that way, it has a similar ethos to "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," but in a much more compact, much less elegantly written,...more
Jeff, a contract worker on Mars, is told that his parents, his fiance and his unborn child have died. He cannot return home for another eighteen months. He descends into a special form of insanity.

While he has written several good novels, Steele is at his best in the shorter forms, and this novelette is no exception. In fact it won the Hugo Award in its category in 2011. This story is both charming and interesting.
Norman Cook
A troubled worker at a Mars base finds solace in the science fiction stories about Mars of the 20th Century. An interesting examination of mental illness and how the literature of imagination could help restore someone’s sanity.
A novelette worthy of its award. A psychological film tightly packed in 3 (or 4?) chapters.
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Before becoming a science fiction writer, Allen Steele was a journalist for newspapers and magazines in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Missouri, and his home state of Tennessee. But science fiction was his first love, so he eventually ditched journalism and began producing that which had made him decide to become a writer in the first place.

Since then, Steele has published eighteen novels and nearl...more
More about Allen Steele...
Coyote (Coyote Trilogy, #1) Coyote Rising (Coyote Trilogy, #2) Coyote Frontier (Coyote Trilogy, #3) Spindrift (Coyote Universe, #4) Coyote Horizon (Coyote Chronicles, #1)

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