Ever since telescopes have allowed it, mankind has observed the surface of Mars with its massive canal structures. But only when Thomas Edison set foot on the Red Planet was the truth revealed: Mars is home to a culture whose ancestors built the canals. They used them to distribute the water of the polar caps and thus saved the dying planet from the inevitable.
Their deeds have enabled the Martians to live on for tens of thousands of years.
Edison brought news from this world where many new civilizations waited to be discovered, all with their own customs, rites, beliefs, and world views. The British, the Germans, the French Commune, Belgian corporations, the Japanese and the Russians all landed on Mars to found their own colonies. What brought economic boons and technological progress to the cooperating city-states, instead brought exploitation, oppression, and war to the rest.