Here is how Gernsback saw his Martians in the '20s; a bit squatter and
child-like, but much more willing to use his cool atomic rifle for a
bit of wanton destruction.
Rather than being a work of pure fancy like most of the others on
these pages, the Martian was actually based on some sort of logic,
though very much of the schoolboy exercise book variety.
Here is how Gernsback described the Martians in 1924:
pull being so much smaller, the Martian, if he exists, is probably very
much taller than the human being, possibly 13 to 20 feet tall.
Having attained a much more advanced civilization, performing all
works by machines and hardly ever attempting manual labor, the
Martians arms have shrunk until they are little more than mere bones
with skin covering them. The body weighing much less on Mars and
the Martian probably only moving about in mechanical contrivances, his
legs have become almost useless and are therefore similarly
attenuated. They also have but tiny muscles covered with skin.
But in order to support such a tall body (the gravitation being low)
the Martian must have large feet.
Now the scant Martian atmosphere makes it very difficult to smell.
Scents are propagated very slowly in the scant atmosphere. For that
reason the Martian must go to the smell rather than the smell come to
him. We should therefore find an elephantine nose to compensate
the Martian's shortcomings in this respect, just as an elephant's head
had to grow a long trunk in order to make it easier for him to
get his water and just as a giraffe's has a long neck to reach
the food he likes.
a thin atmosphere loud sounds become very weak. We should expect
therefore equipped with large bat-like ears to catch more sound.
expect to find the Martian with projecting eyes if our deductions are
correct and the temperature of Mars being nearly always freezing even
at the Equator and always going going below zero at higher latitude,
the Martians will probably be covered with thick fur or feathers in
order to keep him warm.
The two horn like
projections on his forehead are antennae and constitute the Martian's
Ah, the good old days
when Mars was a smaller, dryer Earth with a thin atmosphere and could
be reasonably regarded as being marginally habitable. A vast
change from the near-vacuum of a world with
no free water,
monstrous dust storms, and deadly UV radiation that we know it to be.