What I remember so far:

  1. Medium-sized novel
  2. Probably written before 90s (at least not later than 1998)
  3. Male? author
  4. All events happen on Mars (though it may be Venus or even something else)
  5. There are two groups of humans:
    • government/military/newly arriving colonists
    • already present colonists/guerillas fighting(or at least actively hindering activities of) the first group, whom they call gringoes or something similarly disparaging
  6. For some reason, despite their mutual animosity, both groups have to cooperate (probably against some third power)
  7. In the end they find (and probably destroy/disable) alien(native Martian?) base.
  8. While investigating the base they find strangely looking/operating alien handheld weapons (one is basically a freeze gun, another shoots shards/lattices of something)
  • The first 5 points mostly match Pournelle's Birth of Fire which had a late 80s reprinting, bit the last points don't fit.
    – DavidW
    Aug 15, 2020 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


I've managed to remember the author - Sterling E. Lanier

And the book is Menace Under Marswood (1983)

Mars in the 23rd century has been terraformed, and is being settled by Earth colonists. The outcast "Ruckers"---former settlers who have revolted--are oppsing this immigration.

Marswood is set in a near future where Earth has colonized Mars and the United Nations is serving as the Solar System’s supra-government. Slater is a UN peace forces soldier who gets assigned on a secret mission deep into the Martian wilderness, in a combination manhunt for a dangerous criminal mastermind and investigation into hints that Earthmen may not be alone on Mars.

  • 1
    I like this book - I also recommend 'Hiero's Journey' by Lanier :) Aug 16, 2020 at 10:28
  • I thought Hiero's Journey a bit silly. Aug 17, 2020 at 1:23
  • Great book. Still waiting for a sequel. Aug 17, 2020 at 19:06

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