Writing any book is a long and involved process, and writing a book that
encompasses more than one discipline extends and complicates that pro-
cess. Simple thanks are often insu≈cient. That said, I owe sincere debts of
gratitude to a number of friends and colleagues.
My initial interest in Mars was triggered by conversations with Molly
Rothenberg, and the earliest versions of some of the key ideas in this book
were developed in dialogue with her. A multimedia version of aspects of
my argument in this book can be found on the dvd-rom Red Planet:
Scientific and Cultural Encounters with Mars, published in 2001 by the
University of Pennsylvania Press. My coauthors in that four-year collab-
oration really do deserve more thanks than I can give them here: Har-
rison Higgs, Michelle Kendrick, Helen Burgess, Jeanne Hamming, Dan
Tripp, and Jeannette Okinczyc. Red Planet includes excerpts of video
interviews with planetary scientists, cultural critics, and science-fiction
authors. For their insights and their patient responses to various ques-
tions about Mars, I am deeply indebted to Richard Zare, Je√ Moore, Kim
Stanley Robinson, Chris McKay, Molly Rothenberg (again), Katherine
Hayles, Philip James, Robert Zubrin, Carol Stoker, Frederick Turner,
Henry Giclas, and Martyn Fogg. I owe thanks as well to other scientists
with whom I have discussed Mars over the years, particularly John Bar-
row, Matt Golombek, Robert Craddock, Michael Meyer, Kevin Zahnle,
Marc Buie, and especially Earl Scime. All are absolved from any respon-
sibility for the interpretations advanced in this study.
At the Lowell Observatory, I benefited from the expertise, helpfulness,
and genial good humor of Antoinette Beiser and Marty Hecht. Much of
the research for this book was carried out while I held the Jackson Chair
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