"Most writers' alternate universes are fun to visit, but Kage Baker's is one I wouldn't mind moving to: the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs . . . seen through the eyes of a writer far more poetic, vastly more scientifically literate, and with an infinitely superior sense of humor. Even as science-fictional taverns go, the Empress of Mars is memorable, a joint I hope I'll be able to return to many times."
--Spider Robinson, author of Very Hard Choices

"For my money, The Empress of Mars is the one to read."
--Mike Resnick, author of Starship: Rebel

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns on all of Mars, the Empress is the one to visit. Let's raise a round to Kage Baker."
--Jack McDevitt, author of The Devil's Eye

"Baker seamlessly expands her 2004 Hugo and Nebula-nominated novella of the same title into tale of nonconformist survival."-- Publisher's Weekly

The time: the early 24th century. The place: the British Arean Company's colony on Mars, following the economic collapse that means its colonists are virtually abandoned on an alien world.

O bviously, someone has to build a tavern.

M ary Griffith opens the Empress of Mars, a noisy, crowded place that provides shelter for the outcasts and misfits who have emigrated to the red planet. Mary and her three daughters ignore the BAC's official disapproval, brewing Red Crater Ale and just barely making ends meet... and then Mary digs up a lump of rock that turns out to be a diamond, and everything changes, both for Mary and for Mars itself.

F or Manco Inca, the terraforming expert fired by the BAC, the diamond means another chance to turn the cold red deserts into green fields. For eccentric Mr. Morton who works behind the bar, the diamond means that at last culture can come to Mars, in the form of the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Center for the Performing Arts. For Mary's daughter Alice, the diamond means a chance at leaving an alien world she hates, even if it involves marrying the first available stranger. For fragile genius Perrik, it means a challenge and a threat as new interests seek to co-opt his inventions. Stanford Crosley, con man from Luna, sees it as a chance to bring Mars the benefits of games of chance and dentistry. Ottorino Vespucci, a big-hearted adventurer, finds love and a new life with Mary's daughter Rowan. The journalist Chiring finds the chance to document the rise of a new world.

F or some, such as BAC corporate governor Mr. Rotherhithe, the diamond brings catastrophe. Maurice Cochevelou, hot-tempered clan chieftain and Mary's perpetual suitor, finds his world changing far too fast. The Heretic, a one-eyed interplanetary refugee, finds herself hounded by missionaries and a strange destiny. Sisters Lilith and Morgan le Fay dare the wrath of an alien god and pay the price. The inhabitants of the Martian Motel, a squatter's camp on the Tharsis Bulge, dreamed of prospecting for riches but find gritty destitution instead.

A nd then there are others, such as the members of the Martian Agricultural Collective, who only care about building an agrarian workers' paradise, or the enigmatic Uncle Brick, lord of the Ice Haulers, who are too crazy to care...

M ary herself finds unlikely opportunity, overcoming desertion, corporate skullduggery and deadly storms to become much more than simply the richest woman on the planet: she finds her way into history as the founder of a civilization, a builder and a pioneer, the genuine Empress of Mars.


T his is an expansion of the original Hugo-nominated novella that first appeared in Asimov's Magazine. It appears in two forms: a deluxe limited edition volume from Subterranean Press with illustrations by J.K. Potter and a hardcover edition from Tor books, with cover illustration by Paul Youll.



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