The Mars Gazette: An Early 20th Century Drug Dealer’s Journeys In Space

Fantasy Collector's Annual


The Mars Gazette is a booklet describing the journey of pitchman C. B. Hustler (“a social and convivial being”) to the Red Planet. The Martians suffer from malnutrition and gastric problems, probably due to a diet that includes horse chestnuts, “sea-water soup” and “bee stingers rolled in sawdust”, writes Steve, whose Flickr account A Little Black Egg is a must see. Dr. Hustler’s Liquid Peptonoids – a medical drink containing beef, milk, wheat, alcohol, and cocaine – is the natural cure.




The Mars Gazette front page arlington peptonoids



These scans come from the fanzine Fantasy Collector’s Annual – 1975, which describes the original as an “18-page booklet, measuring 7 x 4.75 inches” that was “trimmed unevenly to give the effect of having been scorched in a fire.” Is this a genius turn-of-the-century ad campaign or an elaborate fan hoax? I have no clue. Either way, it’s a unique work of pataphysics.



The Mars Gazette 1975

The Mars Gazette 1975


It looks genuine.

The final page advocates using Peptonoids produced for mankind and Martian alike by The Arlington Chemical Co. Yonkers, N.Y. Dr. Hustler was  a travelling salesman for Arlington Chemical. The pamphlet is an elaborate advert for Liquid Peptonoids.


Patent medicine. OTC preparation. Peptonoids, Iron and Wine.

Patent medicine. OTC preparation. Peptonoids, Iron and Wine. Via


THE PLOT (via Science-Fiction, the Early Years: a Full Description of More Than 3,000 Science-fiction Stories from Earliest Times to the Appearance of the Genre Magazines in 1930):

An advertising shape book purporting to be a copy of a Martian newspaper. Printed in black, green, and brown, it simulates a charred booklet, edges suitable browned and chipped away (as later explained) by an electrical storm the document passed through on entering the earth’s atmosphere. The Martian newspaper, translated into English, tells of the landing on an oblong spaceship (a medicine package?) from which emerges C. B. Hustler, M. D., the sales representative of the Arlington Chemical Co. Hustler explains the wonders of the patent medicine Liquid Peptonoids to the Martians (who eat all sorts
of indigestible substances and accordingly suffer greatly from indigestion.) He lectures to the king and assembled physicians, cures several moribund patients, and is appointed royal physician to His Most Malignant Majesty, King Flammarion.

At a thanksgiving banquet Liquid Peptonoids are served as a dessert to the main course … Before leaving … Hustler projects a gigantic advertisement for Liquid Peptonoids into the sky. The booklet is illustrated with many amusing drawings of Martian life, personalities, airships, scientific devices, canals. … The Martians are humanoid, but smaller than earthmen. … The reference to Flammarion probably points to Camille Flammarion’s two-volume work La planete de Mars rather than to his science-fiction. Internal evidence — a fairly sophisticated Martian X-ray machine, a Lowellian canal, a reference to a great Marsquake of 17897 (San Francisco, 1907?) suggest that the booklet was issued during the first decade of this century. A very amusing piece of ephemera that deserves to be reproduced.



The Mars Gazette 1975

The Mars Gazette 1975

The Mars Gazette 1975

The Mars Gazette 1975 The Mars Gazette 1975 The Mars Gazette 1975

The Mars Gazette 1975 The Mars Gazette 1975
The Mars Gazette 1975


The Mars Gazette 1975


Via: Steve’s Flickr

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