I was kind of bothered in a review of my new novella, Fallen Angel, that said I used Orwell's Martians. My Martians fly around in glowing spheres. My Martians talk--at least to Mabel, as she's the only one who speaks their language. And my Martians are real assholes--Orwell's are not developed particularly. Both Martians do seem to want to eat humans, but that's pretty much the end of any similarity. And, my Martians are little green men. They're not gray, they're green. That's not so much Orwellian as the contemporary view of aliens is gray beings with black eyes. Mine are green and have glowing yellow eyes.
My Martians were inspired by an account of a UFO sighting during the Battle of Vicksburg. in the Civil War. General Grant felt that Vicksburg would give the Union control of the Mississippi River and essentially split Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas from the rest of the Confederacy. And when the town fell it did pretty much do just that. There is an account that an artillery battery stopped firing because the soldiers were all gawking at a glowing sphere that was hovering over the battlefield. You don't find that in the history books. I wasn't around back then, but I tend to believe it happened. And that event, not Orwell's story, is what inspired me to write Fallen Angel. Mabel, an angel residing in hell as she was one of the angels kicked out of heaven, turns up in the Civil War and works as a photographer. Being an angel, she can talk to the Martians as angels can speak any language.. Unfortunately, the Martians are all males and despise the very notion of having to talk to a woman. Things do not go well for the Martians. And they turn up in 1884 in California, which is where a number of my stories are set and they once again encounter Mabel along with Miles O'Malley and his horse, Paul. They should've stayed on Mars.