||Sandwiched between Arnould Galopin's Doctor Omega (1906)
and Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars (1912), Gustave Le Rouge's
masterpiece, Le Prisonnier de la Planète Mars (1908) and its sequel,
La Guerre des Vampires (1909), are a Martian Odyssey in which young engineer
Robert Darvel is dispatched to Mars ny the psychic powers of Hindu Brahmins.
On the Red Planet, Darvel runs afoul of hostile, bat-winged, blood-sucking
natives, a once-powerful civilization now ruled by the Great Brain. The
entity eventually sends Darvel back to Earth, unfortunately with some
of the vampires. The second volume deals with the war of the vampires
back on Earth.
Le Rouge's Mars is elaborately described, with its fauna, flora and
various races of inhabitants, à la C. S. Lewis' Out of the Silent
Planet (1938). Planetary romance blends with "cosmic horror"
as the characters switch from swashbuckling he-men to helpless bundles
of gibbering terror.
Cover by Mike Hoffman
Published by Black Coat Press in 2008