I received this book as part of a giveaway and am very glad I did Despite being a fan of John Wyndham s work, I had not heard of Stowaway to Mars before, as it was originally published under a different name Stowaway to Mars tells the story of five men attempting the first return flight to Mars Their plans begin to go awry when they discover a stowaway on board their rocket This stowaway, Joan, becomes the source of conflict in the novel, primarily because her presence and in particular her I received this book as part of a giveaway and am very glad I did Despite being a fan of John Wyndham s work, I had not heard of Stowaway to Mars before, as it was originally published under a different name Stowaway to Mars tells the story of five men attempting the first return flight to Mars Their plans begin to go awry when they discover a stowaway on board their rocket This stowaway, Joan, becomes the source of conflict in the novel, primarily because her presence and in particular her femaleness elicits a range of reactions from the other passengers Even while zipping through space, gender roles and expectations persist amongst these extremely of their time interplanetary explorers I do not think, as other reviewers have suggested, that this book is sexist, though its characters undeniably are Instead, Stowaway works as a parable of colonialism, with its characters carrying to Mars the threat ofthan just foreign bacteria these astronauts bring their misogyny and imperialism too Stowaway s analysis and, I think, criticism of its heroes attitudes towards conquest and discovery is paired with a discussion of the relationship between humans and machines, and of the blurring of boundaries between the two Though the characters spout a lot of nonsense on this subject, Wyndham manages to tease out some interesting ideas about humanity s relationship with machinery And any irritation caused by the short sightedness of the characters various declarations is diffused by Wyndham s playful approach to the subject.But, as is often the case with Wyndham, the ending lets the book down Once the rocket finally lands on Mars, the narrative loses much of its focus A love affair appears out of truly nowhere, and Joan s character changes dramatically and incomprehensibly The story s attempts in these final chapters to explore the nature of sentience are less successful than might have been hoped.Despite these shortcomings, Stowaway to Mars remains a fantastic read and far exceeded my expectations surely Wyndham could have come up with a better name for this book It deserves something better This is excellent science fiction both thought provoking and entertaining It s always fascinating to read an SF space travel novel written before the space race, when the only ships imagined seem to be of the World War II V2 variety Why anyone would want to travel in a rocket with no discernable means of landing safely escapes me entirely, but to be a young female stowaway aboard a ship full of mysoginistic a holes takes a special kind of stupid.All that said, although this is an early work of Wyndham s, to which he chose not to attach his name, his skills are alread It s always fascinating to read an SF space travel novel written before the space race, when the only ships imagined seem to be of the World War II V2 variety Why anyone would want to travel in a rocket with no discernable means of landing safely escapes me entirely, but to be a young female stowaway aboard a ship full of mysoginistic a holes takes a special kind of stupid.All that said, although this is an early work of Wyndham s, to which he chose not to attach his name, his skills are already showing good story, very readable Wellllll, kinda pulp y, which I don t mind, but not my fave Interesting example of sci fi from this era This author definitely specialized in the creep me out genre , so check out his other, horror stuff first. This book achieved something that very few books have managed, it interested me so little that I put it down for a couple of months before finishing it It is a novel containing promising ideas and plot points that fail to deliver or take the storyline anywhere.The novel starts with a foiled attempt of espionage that could be either national or corporate This wets the appetite forintrigue and competition between the different parties trying to reach Mars for the Keuntz prize but the revea This book achieved something that very few books have managed, it interested me so little that I put it down for a couple of months before finishing it It is a novel containing promising ideas and plot points that fail to deliver or take the storyline anywhere.The novel starts with a foiled attempt of espionage that could be either national or corporate This wets the appetite forintrigue and competition between the different parties trying to reach Mars for the Keuntz prize but the reveal of the stowaway after the rocket has launched fails to deliver on this earlier set up.Admittedly the stowaway introduces an interesting new theme and hints to what the crew of the Gloria Mundi will find on Mars but there s no reason these two elements couldn t have been combined and the novel would have had a stronger plot if they had been Instead the introduction of the stowaway is used as a starting point for a large amount of dialogue debating the merits of machines and a hefty amount of sexism.I recently read Stranger in a Strange Land which is seemingly infamous for its sexism and there is one quote in particular that is nearly always brought up, however there is a quote in Stowaway to Mars equally as bad on the same subject matter that strangely no reviews seem to mention I won t tell you these here because I don t want to spoil anything and I don t think it s necessary All you need to know is that though on the whole the sexism in this is subtler and far quainter than in Stranger , if you are the sort easily outraged and unable to look past the sort of sexism often found in older novels then this may not be for you.If you can look past the sexism you will find the female character actually becomes the most interesting, arguably the only interesting character in the entire novel, the majority of which are caricatures without depth What could have been a conflict and intrigue filled journey to Mars created by a number of interesting characters with different motives in a confined space for a prolonged period of time is instead a number of bland characters discussing the merits of machines This could have been acceptable if the debate had contained any novel or controversially interesting viewpoints but it is all a bit bland and unimaginative.When the rocket finally reaches Mars things finally start to happen in the novel Unfortunately the time spent there is far too short and again a little lacklustre, even the journalist crew member of the rocket laments that the story will not be a very interesting one to tell Earth when they return There is a return to an earlier plot point that I had thought had been abandoned by the author but again not enough is made of this and in typical Wyndham fashion just as soon as conflict develops it is brushed aside by a speedy and rushed resolution.On the whole the novel can be summarised by what one of the latter introduced characters says about the English crew of the Gloria Mundi, that they seemingly live simultaneously in both the twentieth and seventeenth centuries, the same can be said for the book which tries to imagine a future with travel between planets but is simultaneously stuck in the 1930s it was written in If you are a fan of period science fiction and or John Wyndham then this may be worth a read but there are plenty of other better novels both by him and other authors that should be higher up your reading list Aircraft designer Dale Currance undertakes a journey to Mars in an effort to capture the prize being offered to the first man to complete an interplanetary journey, but a female stowaway throws his plans into disarrayAn international prize of one billion has been offered to the first man to complete an interplanetary trip, and Dale Curtance, a millionaire adventurer, emerges as the British entrant With a hand picked crew, he blasted off from Salisbury Plain in the spaceship Gloria Mundi, destination the planet Mars Once free of Earth s atmosphere, they discover a stowaway a woman Her extraordinary story helps them prepare for the dangers they encounter on the Red Planet, and the fantastic world that exists there I will start my thought about this book by saying I love Wyndham so much He still amazed me He lived in a very different era, yet his works are still relevant with current affair Maybe we as human race don t change that much Beware of spoilers So, you see, we are not pioneers We are only followers in a great tradition, hoping to tread the way of knowledge a little farther than the last man If it is granted to us to be successful, we shall be satisfied to have been not entirely unworthy I will start my thought about this book by saying I love Wyndham so much He still amazed me He lived in a very different era, yet his works are still relevant with current affair Maybe we as human race don t change that much Beware of spoilers So, you see, we are not pioneers We are only followers in a great tradition, hoping to tread the way of knowledge a little farther than the last man If it is granted to us to be successful, we shall be satisfied to have been not entirely unworthy of our forerunners and our country Page 22 This is a story depicting human fascination with inter planetary travel Lead by Dale Curtance I imagined him as humble Elon Musk, married, loved by people , Gloria Mundi with its carefully picked crew blast off from Earth, bound for Mars There s just one problem a stowaway called Joan which wreck the calculations and threaten the mission and has an intriguing tale suggesting that Mars could be adangerous destination than they expected It s little bit of too dramatic actually There re some affairs that kind of dull May be that s how they complete the stories at that time I don t know Wyndham even put it in the dialogue regarding Joan as a woman Then there s also long dialogues, mansplaining why woman dislike machine in front of a woman which I wasn t comfortable reading that since it s so weird and annoying and unnecessary, nowadays It s axiomatic in my profession The unexpected appearance of any girl is alway Romance And I am the representative of the world population two thousand million persons, or thereabouts, all avidly clamoring fo Romance is it fair, is it decent, that you for a mere whim should deprive Page 53 Dale s thoughts regarding his mission and his hope are so interesting How he hoped for acknowledgment, being the Conqueror of Space, was threatened by one thing and another He is a compelling character It ll be fascinating to read all the stories based on his point of view with writing style is like other Wyndham Why wasn t Earth big enough for them It must be a queer kind of man who could find so little of interest in all five continents and seven seas that he wished to shoot himself in to the emptiness of space And what good would it do any body, even if they managed it Page 32 The Martians was a little bit disappointing As evolved as they were depicted, Wyndham described them based on people of the Earth Even their way of life was not that different And of course it s not Wyndham without some parts that mocking human being so human When I read how Dale planted a Union Jack flag the first time he stepped on Mars, I think it s so poetic and heroic But then Wyndham knocked me hard when Russian s rocket landed and they fought with British crew how to govern Mars The most sensible person was only Joan minus the affair and drama obviously.It s also interesting how machine was told It s written in the 30s and Wyndham wrote such an astounding tale regarding men and machine, which somehow is so true Machines have come early into your race history They were not necessary They were thrust suddenly upon a race with no great problems, a race, over, so primitive that it was still is still full of superstition We did not invent the machine until it was necessary for our survival You invented the machine and caused it to be necessary for your survival It saved us, but you thrust upon a world not yet ready for it, and you have failed to adapt to it This book might not be my most favorite but it still left me a good feeling and a lot of thoughts John Wyndham only started writing under the name John Wyndham after the Second World War, around 1950, after a long hiatus since 1936, covering the war years and a while either side of them His writing before the war was under the names John B Harris and John Beynon This is the first book I ve read from that period and I m frankly shocked at how bad it is especially considering that the next book he wrote was the classic Day of the Triffids, published in 1951 He was already 33 in 1936 so it s John Wyndham only started writing under the name John Wyndham after the Second World War, around 1950, after a long hiatus since 1936, covering the war years and a while either side of them His writing before the war was under the names John B Harris and John Beynon This is the first book I ve read from that period and I m frankly shocked at how bad it is especially considering that the next book he wrote was the classic Day of the Triffids, published in 1951 He was already 33 in 1936 so it s not just down to youth but something certainly changed maybe the war was the main factor Regardless, this book is very much in the same vein as Verne s much earlier From the Earth to the Moon it is a heroic account of the first manned voyage to Mars.The one really big difference apart, obviously, from the destination is the stowaway of the title, a woman at a time when, despite the advances in equality made during the war, women s place is still firmly considered to be in the home looking after the children There is even one passage early on where the male main protagonist exclaims to his wife that denying him the pleasure of working with machines and competing in speed challenges would be like denying her her long awaited pregnancy I mean I do try to be understanding of the changes in attitudes but this was a step too far for me and particularly surprising considering the lengths he went to later, in The Trouble with Lichen 1960 , to deal sympathetically with the problems faced by women who wanted both children and careers.However I pressed on telling myself times have changes some but then later our female stowaway is assaulted separately by two of the male crew including the main protagonist and it s considered to be in poor taste but not anything exceptionally bad I mean WTF The story itself was just okay with its content being a mix between the aforementioned From the Earth to the Moon and Burroughs Carter stories mentioned in the book and discussed as, at the time, a possibly valid hypothesis of life on Mars And I think that s almost certainly the first time I ve dammed John Wyndham with such faint praise I was severely unimpressed with this book and now consider that I have read all the quality books by him and will not delve further into his earlier works Sad but I d rather remember his writing in the context of Triffids, Chrysalids, Cuckoos, Lichen and, of course, Chocky 3.5 5 STARSA classic sci fi about life beyond our world This was a fun and fast paced read It was full of excitement, drama, robots and aliens It s a good introduction to the genre It even had its moments of philosophy questioning why we use and fear technology and better yesterday it opens up the question of how far could technology potentially go With all of these elements, it strongly reminded me of Star Trek It was definitely an entertaining read.Now mind you it s definitely not perfe 3.5 5 STARSA classic sci fi about life beyond our world This was a fun and fast paced read It was full of excitement, drama, robots and aliens It s a good introduction to the genre It even had its moments of philosophy questioning why we use and fear technology and better yesterday it opens up the question of how far could technology potentially go With all of these elements, it strongly reminded me of Star Trek It was definitely an entertaining read.Now mind you it s definitely not perfect There some strong misogyny with several plot holes along the way Honesty, not much actually happens When it does it doesn t make complete sense or at least it isn t a logical progression of storyline But if you re willing to look past it, you ll find enjoyment in reading it like any other classic I liked it, but I didn t love it It s definitely a book that I recommend you check out of a library It doesn t have enough weight to it to make it re readable I think there are some much better Wyndham books out there but it s still a quick and pleasurable read Very breezy and farsexist than his later novels but, given that this was written between the wars, that s not really surprising It s the story of the first manned trip to Mars and is full of derring do, As you know, Bob, conversations and some interesting speculations about the future, some of which are quite shrewd and close to the mark, while others aren t Some readers will be put off by the characterisation of the two female characters, only one of whom plays a major part in the Very breezy and farsexist than his later novels but, given that this was written between the wars, that s not really surprising It s the story of the first manned trip to Mars and is full of derring do, As you know, Bob, conversations and some interesting speculations about the future, some of which are quite shrewd and close to the mark, while others aren t Some readers will be put off by the characterisation of the two female characters, only one of whom plays a major part in the proceedings, but it doesn t commit the sin of some contemporaneous SF of ignoring elephants in the room in regard to how men and women treat each other, despite whitewashing some aspects of it It does end rather suddenly, almost as though Wyndham realise that his word limit was in sight and had to wrap things up as quickly as possible, but it remains an interesting and quite gripping yarn Wonderfully well written, fascinating in how it takes a very typical plot of an adventure to and on Mars and enriches is with unexpected themes, biting philosophical discourse, character studies which evolve beyond and subvert what seem to be their initial tropes, and social views on colonialism and feminism which still hold up as strikingly modern for a 1930s novel.My only issues are there s a romance near the end that suddenly comes out of nowhere, a surprisingly bitter spin in the last few pa Wonderfully well written, fascinating in how it takes a very typical plot of an adventure to and on Mars and enriches is with unexpected themes, biting philosophical discourse, character studies which evolve beyond and subvert what seem to be their initial tropes, and social views on colonialism and feminism which still hold up as strikingly modern for a 1930s novel.My only issues are there s a romance near the end that suddenly comes out of nowhere, a surprisingly bitter spin in the last few pages which I appreciated, but does end things on a very down note, and there is an attempted sexual assault I feel it s explored in a way which does come out of the situation, is acknowledged and confronted within the story, and does have consequences which continue to play out, but I know some will find it a sudden jolt to encounter when it happens