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Literature / Red Planet

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Red Planet is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein first published in 1949.


This novel provides examples of:

  • Animated Adaptation: An animated three-episode miniseries based on the book aired on Fox in 1994.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Averted when one of the good guys proposes taking a vent grille off of a wall to get to the room on the other side. His friend points out that there will certainly be a similar grille on the other side, fastened by screws they won't be able to reach.
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  • Artificial Outdoors Display: A common feature of rooms in the underground Martian cities, complete with an artificial Sun in the "sky" which mimics the position of the real Sun outside.
  • Bring News Back: Having found about about the Evil Plan, the students have to take a risky journey across the frozen Martian canals to warn the colonists.
  • Cool Pet: Willis, who is the low intelligence (compared to most people but more intelligent than a dog) pet of the protagonist Jim Marlowe. Later we find out that Willis is a female Martian who will grow up to be male; and will become equal to or greater in intelligence than humans.
  • Corrupt Politician: Resident Agent General Beecher wants to sell Willis to the London Zoo, and to save money aims to prevent the colonists from their yearly migration from the harsh Martian winter. Unfortunately he discusses his Evil Plan in front of Willis, unaware that the alien can repeat any conversation with perfect clarity. Turns out the Martians are rather annoyed as well, as you would if someone tried to sell a child into captivity.
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  • Cut the Juice: When the rebel colonists hold up in the school, Beecher cuts the power, figuring they'll be forced to surrender without light and heat.
  • Evil Plan: The company administration back on Earth plans to stop the yearly winter migration to save money, by using both the summer and winter colonies to house settlers. Nobody tells the colonists this, as the plan is to stall the migration until it's too late for them to do anything about it.
  • Non-Linear Character: The Martian Old Ones are so old they have trouble knowing "when" they are. At one point, a regular Martian guide shows an Old One a globe of current Mars to help the Old One locate himself temporally.
  • No More for Me: A low-key example; when the boys get back to the station after their first major encounter with the native Martians—with Jim, Frank, and Willis the Martian "bouncer" all quite improbably being carried by their new Martian friends—the driver of the mail scooter turns to the station master and says "We should have left that stuff alone, George. I'm seeing things."
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  • Not in Front of the Parrot: Willis the Bouncer is confiscated by the new headmaster Howe, who is unaware that the Martian 'pet' has sentience and can repeat any sound with perfect clarity. Willis overhears a discussion between the headmaster and the colonial administrator, who in a money-saving measure is planning to stop the colonists from migrating away from the harsh Martian winters. Willis repeats this conversation to the protagonists, setting off the plot as they set off to warn the colonists of the Evil Plan.
  • Sentry Gun: The rebel colonists are trapped in a building, but when a couple of them are gunned down trying to surrender, the others realise that no-one is actually watching the door except some automatic Ray Guns triggered by photosensor, so they're able to escape.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Martians use their Psychic Powers to make Howe and Beecher disappear right in front of everyone. Then they demand that all humans leave the planet immediately or face extermination. Fortunately Doctor MacRae is able to talk them out of it.
  • World War III: A long time ago, there was a World War III. No details are given except that the "eastern allies" (whether the "eastern allies" are meant as an euphemism for "Soviet Bloc" or allies of the Western Bloc, is not clarified) stockpiled nukes in the Egyptian pyramids and that the pyramids got destroyed in the course of the war.

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