OPUS#144 Prisoner of Mars, The

OPUS: #144
Title: The Prisoner of Mars (Complete Novel)
Author: Edmond Hamilton
Year: 1939
Variant Title of: Tharkol, Lord of the Unknown (by Edmond Hamilton)
「[註:後の『スター・キング』の原型となった作品。] 若いアメリカ人フィリップ・クレインが、偶然ある機械を見つけだすのだが、たちまちその機械によって火星に運ばれてしまう。そこで彼は自分が亡き王の息子であり、現在の君主ラヌーの異父兄弟だということを知る。ところで、このラヌーは誘拐されたばかりなので、フィリップは何も状況が分からないままに、自分の役割を演じなければならない。そのうえ、彼は兄弟とあまりにもよく似ているので、ラヌーの婚約者マーラ姫も間違えてしまう。マーラはラヌーをまったく愛していなかったけれども、政治的な理由でラヌーと結婚することになってしまっていたのである。マーラはフィリップに心を奪われてしまうが、フィリップはすでに地球人の婚約者ケイがいたので話はややこしくなる。」- ジャック・サドゥール著; 鹿島茂,鈴木秀治訳『現代SFの歴史』(早川書房, 1984.12) p. 187-188

  • Startling Stories, Vol. 1, no. 3, May 1939, (May 1939, ed. Mort Weisinger, publ. Better Publications, Inc., $0.15, 132pp, Pulp, magazine) Cover: Howard V. Brown; Illust: Wesso
  • Tharkol, Lord of the Unknown, (1950, Edmond Hamilton, publ. World Distributors / Sydney Pemberton, 1/6, 160pp, pb) Cover: H. W. Wesso


  • Gammell, Leon L., The Annotated Guide to Startling Stories, Starmont House, 1986, p. 4. “Interplanetary Prisoner of Zenda-type pastiche, by the late grand old master of the space opera, largely forgotten and neglected nowadays. Though born of an Earthly mother, Philip Crain discovers that his father was the advance guard of a Martian invasion force, accidentally marooned on Earth for his entire lifetime, and his look-alike cousin is the ruler of Mars. Accidentally transported to Mars via matter-transmitter, he becomes quickly involved in the political intrigue, swashbuckling action and eventual exchange of identities that is the usual hallmark of this kind of story, but Hamilton’s novel is fast-paced and exciting, and should make good reading even today, interspersed with interesting characters to liven up the plot, among whom are a diabolical mechanical brain manipulating the inhabitants of two worlds for its own obscure purposes and a giant robot servant, almost human in its faithfulness and loyalty, perhaps a foreshadowing of the irrepressible Grag of the Captain Future series. At the end of the story, Hamilton offers an ingenious solution for resolving the difficulties of the two warring planets, which stem largely from the Red World’s desperate need for water for her dead and desiccated oceans, very simply accomplished by transporting the terrestrial polar ice-caps to Mars through the matter-transmitters that were to provide passage originally for her invading armies. Who knows? Perhaps this will be the very method used in terraforming Mars to make it livable for our first colonies in the not-so-distant future, even as Hamilton’s storybook space-suits were the prototype for the ones used by today’s astronauts! “