First on Mars Cover

He went all the way to Mars to ride his hip space-trike.

Attention, Earthlings! This is Captain Blastoff, coming to you from a gallery in the future, talking about the great popular art form of the past: Cheap Science Fiction Paperback Book Covers!

This transmission I present: First on Mars (No Man Friday), Ace, 1957 by Rex Gordon (Stanley Bennett Hough) UK (1917 – ) aka S. B. Hough

The writer liked to create “firsts.” He also wrote First to the Stars and First Through Time.

I like biking, so I bought this book mostly because of the interesting pedal contraption on this great cover. Sure, I love rockets, saucers and time machines, but how often can you buy a piece of art with a great space tricycle??

The cover artist is uncredited and unsigned, unfortunately, but he/she must’ve read the story as there are a lot of details that are shown that are really in the story. I’m all for artistic license but it always impresses me when you can tell the artist cared enough to accurately represent the author’s concepts.

The story starts out a real nuts and bolts, hard science story, explaining in detail how Gordon Holder was the last survivor of a  rocket ship crew that crashed on our red neighbor and how he used science to survive there. But then it gets even more unusual as philosophical aliens, who communicate by generating colored light patterns, are introduced, moving the whole scenario into Eckhart Tolle territory.

This has been Captain Blastoff, ending transmission.

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