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Rainbow Mars (original 1999; edition 1999)
by Larry Niven
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812566785, Mass Market Paperback)According to Larry Niven, time travel is logically impossible--sheer fantasy. So when time-agent Svetz heads back from polluted future Earth in search of extinct animals, he tends to sideslip into fantastic, fictional worlds. In short stories collected in The Flight of the Horse (1973), his quests for a horse, a Gila monster, and a whale unearthed a unicorn, a dragon, and Moby-Dick. Less comic but equally daft, Rainbow Mars combines both space and time travel to explore Mars in the deep past, before it was a dead world. Naturally it's populated by a menagerie of warring fictional Martians from Edgar Rice Burroughs (multi-armed sword-wielders), H.G. Wells (tentacles and heat rays), and less familiar authors. Svetz and companions are soon in big trouble. Complications include a gigantic alien tree extending into Mars's orbit--an organic version of the space elevator in Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise. One of these useful "beanstalks" on Earth seems a highly desirable facility, but there are hidden drawbacks, and most of the multiplying timelines lead to disaster. This is fun for experienced SF readers who can follow the in-jokes and the switchback ride through tangled alternative histories. The earlier, even funnier Svetz stories are included as a bonus. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:17 -0400)
From the 31st century, scientist Hanville Svetz travels back in time to collect life specimens from Mars and Earth before they become extinct. A novella and five stories by the author of Destiny's Road.
(summary from another edition)
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