The term Martians typically refers to inhabitants of Mars that are similar to humans in terms of having such things as language and civilization, though it is also occasionally used to refer to extraterrestrials in general. These inhabitants of Mars have variously been depicted as enlightened, evil, and decadent; in keeping with the conception of Mars as an older civilization than Earth.
Although most stories by the middle of the 1900s acknowledged that advances in planetary science had rendered previous notions about the conditions of Mars obsolete and portrayed the planet accordingly, some continued to depict a romantic version of Mars rather than a realistic one.