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Research at St Andrews

BBC Radio 4: We are the Martians - A New Red World

Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Participation in radio programme

Emily Finer - Participant

Ken Hollings continues the series that revels in the many Mars' of imagination, history & science. Feminists, Christians, peace loving druids, vegetarian fruitarian dwarves, Bolsheviks & big science terra-formers have all offered up their versions of Martian utopia. Both the astronomer Flammarion and the Russian mystic & Cosmist Nikolai Fyodorov dreamed of the dead resurrected on Mars. At the height of the Cold War mysterious messages from Mars turn out to come from God, as mankind is shocked into a new beginning in the loopy film Red Planet Mars. But the Bolsheviks had got to Mars long before that, before the revolution even in 1908 with Alexander Bogdanov's Red Star. A prophet of the Bolshevik Revolution, Bogdanov gives us a historically advanced socialist state visited by a veteran revolutionary-in fact this socialist utopia will drive him mad! Russia and then the Soviet Union ached for a future among the stars where apple blossom time would come to Mars. In Unveiling a Parallel, 1893, two Iowan women send a visitor by plane to see how women's lives were just as equal as men's. Why they could propose marriage & have children out of wedlock! That great mapper of Mars imaginary canals, Percival Lowell, impressed on people the desperate tale of Martian co-operation as they raced to save their species. Now there is a new confidence in America and elsewhere that we will soon reach Mars. But is it really the frontier of capitalist renewal and enterprise ? Not according to writer Kim Stanley Robinson, whose vast Martian trilogy (Red, Green, Blue Mars) gives us a near utopia, only won after centuries of political strife, terraforming and a final, irrevocable break with Earth where the forces of nature and humanity are finally in balance. Producer: Mark Burman.
7 Mar 2017

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