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The day the Martians Came (book)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
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This is a science fiction book by known author Fredrick Pohl. In one of the short stories of this book, flag politics play a central role. I've recently reread this 1988 book and in its chapter XIV flags are even more important than I recalled...

It's important to say that this book is made up of a dozen or so of almost unrelated short stories all tied by a common thread: The aproaching of a US space ship arriving from an almost failiure mission to Mars, where they happend to find the degenerate descent of a once highly civilized martian intelligent species.

In Chapter XIV, Charlie Stanford, an ad industry PR, just finished a successful campaign for the martian look-alike dols Mindy Mars and Max Mars, is freshly arrived in Iriadeska, a ficticious SE Asia country, probably inspired by Thayland or the Philipines. In the main river Choomli (wich flows though the capital Pnik) there's a lot of chupri (the local name for the East Indian Manatee, aka Dugong dugong) wich also look just like the arriving martians, except for the later's long, stilz-like legs.
António Martins-Tuválkin 14 april 1997

Iriadeska (current putsh)

by António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 november 2006

Charlie arrives not knowing that this time he'll be the press secretary and speaker for a brand new revolutionary government of generals Phenoboomgarat and Tupalakuli. In fact the putsch attempt starts precisely by the hoisting of a new flag:

"the 27 stars were gone, substitued to the image of a ...manatee? ...a Mindy Mars doll? No. [...] It was a martian. "

The coup's success depended on the King's position:

"he lived abroad and did not envolved himself in politics. Ever since (the last putsh), His Majesty is conclusive in matters of religion and taste. That's why we choose the martians this time: nobody considers them sacred!"

But general's Phenoboomgarat and Tupalakuli coup failed because:

"His Majesty thought that a toy (the Mindy Mars martian look-alike doll) in the flag was an offense to the proud traditions of Iriadeska"

António Martins-Tuválkin 14 april 1997

I wish to add that I used green for this and the other central charges though their color is not mentioned in the book, for any of the three described flags. These charges (stars, elephant and martian) could also be purple instead, or black, or even any other color or colors, and certainly colored differently from one another. If anyone chances to meet or talk to Fredrik Pohl, here's a question for him! António Martins-Tuválkin 30 march 2006

flag from a previous putsh

by António Martins-Tuválkin & Rick Wyatt, 8 november 2006

A previous coup attempt, of Air Marshall Pittikudarul, (in forty years about thirty eight putsches were unsuccessfully attempted) used an elephant in the new flag but the mountain people didn't like the use of their sacred animals in politics and since mountaineers formed most of the 8th and 10th Armour Divisions...
António Martins-Tuválkin 14 april 1997

traditional flag

by António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 november 2006

The traditional flag of Iriadeska consists of :

"three wide stripes green, white and violet with 27 stars representing the islands of the Iriadeskan Archipelago. "

António Martins-Tuválkin 14 april 1997