Humankind sends its first human expedition to Mars. Because of various legal precedents, Valentine Michael Smith, the Man from Mars, is the inheritor to a vast fortune, and because of another precedent known as the Larkin Decision, Mike has a claim to legal ownership of the planet Mars. Therefore he has the potential to be massively influential in matters of Earth politics, and he is kept under close guard at a hospital by the leader of Earth's government, Secretary General Joseph Douglas. In the hospital, Mike slowly teaches his body to adapt to the Earth's atmosphere and he begins learning Earth culture and language, which differ enormously from Martian ways of thought.
An ambitious reporter, Ben Caxton, believes that Douglas is using Mike as a pawn in his own political power games and may be planning to kill him. Ben enlists his friend and old flame, Jill Boardman, a nurse at the hospital, to help him spy on Mike's treatment at the hospital. Jill sneaks Mike out of the hospital. When police officers try to kidnap them as well, Mike makes the officers disappear from existenceone of many psychic powers Mike has learned on Mars.
Jill takes Mike to the only man she believes can help them, Jubal Harshaw, a famous doctor, lawyer, writer, and general cultural phenomenon. Jubal lives in a large house with three beautiful secretaries (Anne, Miriam, and Dorcas) and two male assistants (Duke and Larry). Jubal agrees to help protect Jill and Mike from the authorities. Mike learns about Earth culture at Jubal's estate, reading everything in Jubal's library and becoming fascinated with Earth religions. The police eventually discover Mike's whereabouts and come to arrest Jubal and his coterie, but at the last moment, Jubal is able to get through to Douglas personally and convince him to call off the police. Jubal also gets Douglas to rescue Ben from police captivity. Through legalistic maneuvering and rhetorical brinksmanship, Jubal is able to defuse Mike's political...
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