Science fiction used to always try to meet contemporary scientific conceptions. Many past Sci-Fi works had speculated about martian civilizations until the Mariner 4 spaceflight dispelled these speculations.

I'm curious what was the last Sci-Fi work featuring sentient martians (local life forms, not human colonists) contemporary with its main setting?


To be clear: I'm only interested in literature works of Sci-fi genre, not sequels, preferably hard sci-fi, or at least sci-fi works with more or less realistic plot such as Stranger in a Strange Land - the latest sci-fi novel featuring sentient martians I can remember. So fantasy and alternative history genres as well as movies/games etc. are all off-topic.

To be even more clear: I'm trying to find (if it possible) the borderline in Mars-related science fiction, the moment when Sci-Fi writers reconciled to the fact Mars has no sentient life. I believe that this moment is within 1960s, somewhen after 1964 (the Mariner 4 mission results). However the last subject instance in Sci-Fi may have been slightly earlier.

I apologize to all answerers and commenters for my misleading question. I see now that I was wrong when I allowed all-time stories. I should set upper limit for publication date. Actually I'm not interested in any story published since 1965 because it wouldn't take into account the current scientific conception according to which Mars has no life.

So I'm only looking for Sci-Fi works published before 1965 (including 1965 - extra year is for preparing to publication).

  • Are alternate universes allowed? Nov 27, 2015 at 9:39
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    Interesting question, but how can there ever be a final answer? The answer will change every time someone writes another story like that. By the way, what if the sentient extraterrestrial life forms on Mars are colonists from outside the solar system? Does that count?
    – user14111
    Nov 27, 2015 at 9:50
  • 4
    "In 2015 there were some sentient Martians. They went on an adventure and learned some lessons and lived happily ever after." ... There you go, that's the latest one, until someone writes another. Nov 27, 2015 at 11:18
  • @user14111 See updated question. If you can find serious sci fi work published after 1970s, I'll likely set certain timeframe.
    – hindmost
    Nov 27, 2015 at 13:04
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    You want to ask for x - when authors switched over. However, you phrase the question as y - the "last published" literature which is wrong for 2 reasons. 1) By putting a cutoff date as 1965 you have already decided that this is when authors stopped writing sentient martians. If you already know when it was - you already have the answer to questions x and y! 2) y is only a proxy of x; as has been seen by the recent media hullabaloo over water on Mars. I really don't understand your question at all. Some science fiction writers have never believed in life on Mars and some still do.
    – Adam Yoshi
    Nov 27, 2015 at 22:52

1 Answer 1

  • Russian children's book "Modern Writers - for children", volume 2 (2012), has a SciFi children's story by Vladimir Blagov called "Martian Cats" which features sentient Mars inhabitants.

  • American Galactic, by Laura Madeline Wiseman (2014) is poetry book which features sentient Martians.

  • The question was changed, invalidating your answer. :(
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 27, 2015 at 19:47

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