Jul 25, 2017
Early in the 21st century, nearly twenty years after the invention of atomic power and ten years after the first lunar landing, the four-man crew of the Ares has landed on Mars in the Mare Cimmerium. A week after the landing, Dick Jarvis, the ship's American chemist, sets out south in an auxiliary rocket to photograph the landscape. Eight hundred miles out, the engine on Jarvis' rocket gives out, and he crash-lands into one of the Thyle regions. Rather than sit and wait for rescue, Jarvis decides to walk back north to the Ares. Just after crossing into the Mare Chronium, Jarvis comes across a tentacled Martian creature attacking a large birdlike creature. He notices that the birdlike Martian is carrying a bag around its neck, and recognizing it as an intelligent being, saves it from the tentacled monstrosity. The rescued creature refers to itself as Tweel. Tweel accompanies Jarvis on his trip back to the Ares, in the course of which the pair encounter many bizarre Martian creatures and endure numerous life-threatening adventures.
"A Martian Odyssey" was created by American writer Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. It was followed four months later by a sequel, "Valley of Dreams".
Isaac Asimov described "A Martian Odyssey" as "a perfect Campbellian science fiction story, before John W. Campbell." In Asimov's words, "The Martian Tweel may be the first creature in science fiction to fulfil Campbell's dictum, 'write me a creature who thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man'."
Asimov considered "A Martian Odyssey" to be one of only three stories that changed the way all subsequent ones in the science fiction genre were written. It is the oldest short story selected for inclusion in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and it was voted one of the all-time best sci-fi stories, coming in second only to Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall."