Martians, Go Home is a science fiction novel, written in 1955 by the American author, Fredric Brown. Written in a light-hearted style, it is a parody of the science-fiction genre.
The story begins on the 26 March
. Luke Deveraux, the protagonist
, is a thirty-seven year old sci-fi writer who is being divorced
by his wife. Deveraux holes himself up in a desert cabin
, with the intention of writing a new novel (and forgetting the painful failure of his marriage.) Drunken, he considers writing a story about Martians, when, all of a sudden, someone knocks on the door. Deveraux opens the door to find a little green man, a Martian
. The Martian turns out to be very uncourteous; he insists on calling Luke 'Mack,' and has little in mind other than the desire to insult and humiliate Luke. The Martian, who is intangible, proves to be able to disappear at will and to see through opaque
materials. Luke leaves his cabin by car, thinking to himself that the alien was but a drunken hallucination. He realises that he is wrong, when he sees that a billion Martians have come to Earth.
Fredric Brown reprises the popular image of Martians
as little green men, who measure around 75 cm, have small torsos, measure long, frayed limbs, and spheric, bald heads. They have six fingers on each hand, and wear boots and trousers. They consider the human race
inferior and are both interested and amused by human behaviour. Unlike most fictional Martian invaders, the Martians that Brown writes of don't intend to invade Earth by sanguinary struggle; instead, they spend their wakeful hours calling everyone 'Mack' or 'Toots', (or some regional variation thereof,) heckling theatre productions, lampooning political speeches, even providing cynical colour commentary
' frustrated attempts at consummating their marriage. This non-stop acerbic criticism stops most human activity and renders many people insane, including Luke, whose stress-induced inability to see the little green maligners divides opinion on whether he should be considered mad or blessed.
The novel is considered a classic of science fiction
by the following works of reference:
- Annick Beguin, Les 100 principaux titres de la science-fiction, Cosmos 2000, 1981 ;
- Science-fiction. La bibliothèque idéale, Albin Michel, 1988 ;
- Enquête du Fanzine Carnage mondain auprès de ses lecteurs, 1989 ;
- Lorris Murail, Les Maîtres de la science-fiction, Bordas, coll. « Compacts », 1993 ;
- Stan Barets, Le science-fictionnaire, Denoël, coll. « Présence du futur », 1994.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
In 1990, director David Odell
adapted the novel into a movie with Randy Quaid
playing the title character renamed to Mark Deveraux.