Friday, January 29, 2016

The Lawyers of Mars by Pam Uphoff

I have to wonder if the title of this book, though appropriate, wasn't initially conceived as a parody of the Burroughs John Carter series, as in Fighting Man of Mars, Warlord of Mars, Princess of Mars, etc. The book is actually three related novellas about a race of Martians which once existed (16mbillion years ago?) on the Red Planet when it still had water and enough atmosphere to sustain life. The funny thing is that their society seems very much like our own modern technological society, with a few twists.

I'm fairly certain that the names of many of the "Martian" characters in the book, if pronounced correctly, would be quite punny or ironic; one I easily spotted was Orton N'drea (Andre Norton) a science fiction writer. I'll leave it to other readers to puzzle out a few more.

The lead character, Xaero, is a lawyer in the family firm, assigned to defend an accused REM (Red Ever Mars - like Earth First?) terrorist in court. When her assistant is captured after he foolishly decides to tail the acquitted criminal, she undertakes a rescue on her own, and gets into a comedic caper filled with incompetent crooks and Bond-ian villains.

In the second novella, she and her allies outwit a time-traveling mad scientist, and in the third she journeys to a Jurassic period Earth with a group of scientists trying to mine uranium to sustain Mars' faltering energy resources.

Not deep, but fun for an evening or two.

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