In a break from taking a look at the more serious side of science fiction, today we’re looking at something a little more fun: Martians, Go Home by Fredric Brown.
Martians, Go Home Synopsis
The story begins with the earth being swarmed by Martians. Aliens have taken many forms in literature; ethereal, otherworldly, advanced beyond human understanding. In Martians, Go Home they are just gits.
These Martians can be seen but not touched and take great joy in ruining everyone’s lives. They tell lovers their partner is cheating on them, ruin TV shows by turning up during a live broadcast and spoiling the plot and anything else they can think up to irritate the human race.
They spend most of their time telling everyone how little they think of humanity, while calling everyone either ‘Mack’ or ‘Toots’ in a Brooklyn accent. About the only standard alien trope they conform to is that they are the stereotypical little green men.
The story follows science fiction writer Luke Deveraux as he tries to deal with the Martian invasion and the fact that it has suddenly made science fiction writing obsolete.
Martians Go Home is one of the funniest science novels ever written.
Funny literature often gets unfairly overlooked. It’s why Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams are considered great ‘comedy’ writers rather than just great writers. Probably because it’s harder for people to sound intelligent when talking about why Martians, Go Home is funny than it is to talk about the themes of a book like Neuromancer or Gateway.
But when a book is genuinely funny, it should be celebrated. Making people laugh through writing is such a rare gift that it should not be taken for granted. Sure the humour of Martians, Go Home may have somewhat dated, and may seem a little twee, but it’s still very funny and therefore very much worth reading.
Seeing society collapsing in the face of the bizarre
Part of this humour does come from one particular aspect of the novel: society’s collapse in the face of the Martian’s dedication to being annoying. Governments cease to work, basic functions of society grind to a halt and the great political organisations of the world are made to look ridiculous. All by a bunch of little green jerks.
Reading about society collapsing in the face of absurdity is a strangely cathartic experience, and one I urge you not to deny yourselves.
It spawned this trailer
Okay, this is clearly a film so awful it may have been made in hell. But at least you know that whatever you do in life it probably won’t be as as bad as this.
Unsurprisingly, Martians is on our list of our funniest ever science fiction books ever.