From the public library between 1978-1984. Several humans are picked up by basically human aliens (and taken to their world?).
The only detail I remember is a humorous scene where the Earthlings use plates to eat the food served them by the aliens, only to be told that the plates are statically charged and are used to comb / style hair!
I really thought it was something like "A Tale of Two Planets", but that title hasn't worked out in my searching.
It was as thick as the Dickens, for sure!
Tale of Two Planets by Professor Morris Asimow fits the time frame, but I can't find any details on it.
May 18th, 2014, 07:19 PM
This book is/was Two Planets by Kurd Lasswitz in the 1971 hardcover english translation.
May 23rd, 2014, 01:12 PM
Thanks for following up on your own post, especially one so old. For anyone else who stumbles along looking for this story, some additional details:
* The story starts with a group of Europeans (Austrians?) using a hot air balloon to reach the North Pole.
* When they arrive, they discover a Martian outpost already there.
* Their balloon crashes because it gets caught in an anti-gravity beam used to keep the Martian's space station aloft above the outpost.
* The Martians called themselves the Nume of Nu (Mars) and humans the Bati of Ba (Earth).
* The Martians take some humans to Mars while another (which was lost in the crash) tries to get home.
* The Martians have a currency based on solar energy units, in a socialist-type society.
* The Martians have amazing technological advances like a "light telegraph" (radio) and synthetic food machines.
* One of the protagonist humans falls in love with a Martian named La.
* The Martians build airships, deploy them to Earth on a diplomatic mission, and get into a scuffle with an English steam-powered destroyer that leads to a wider war.
* The English are crushed in an afternoon's battle due to the Martian's shield-like technology and "repulsit" beams.
* Europe is subsequently colonized in much the way that Europe was busy colonizing the rest of the world at the time. Martians are particularly excited about the possibility of exploiting Earth's solar energy resources since it is closer to the Sun.
* A disease spreads from the Martians to the humans, and the Martians try to cover it up.
* Contact with the violent human culture starts to drag down the Martians governing it; they start to "lose their Numedom".
* In the end, Americans save the day by building an armada of other airships in secret and overrunning the Martian outpost and space station.
A very interesting book with an interesting history.