From School Library Journal
Adult/High School—This guidebook for would-be Mars settlers is equal parts "Mars-humor" and science fiction (the narrator was born on Mars in 2071); a satire highly critical of NASA; and a Loompanics-flavored manifesto of rugged individualism. Fans of vintage Robert A. Heinlein, particularly The Rolling Stones
(Del Rey, 1977), will feel right at home here as they enjoy descriptions of practical situations that might actually be encountered: air circulation technologies; choice of "habs"; pitfalls and scams that greenhorns should avoid. Enlivened by witty illustrations, the prose is both humorous and fact filled, with more technical and scientific information set aside in sections marked "Warning: High Science Content." Zubrin's presentation is clear and interesting but some might object that he puts no curbs on content like chemical recipes for explosives, and his Mars-based narrator's views are simplistic on complex Earth-based issues like global warming, bioengineering, and the value of government as a social contract. These topics could spark interesting classroom discussions. Valuable for teachers, this book is enjoyable and attractive for teens and will fascinate, provoke, and delight anyone interested in Mars and space settlement.—Christine C. Menefee, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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In The Case For Mars (1997), Zubrin outlined a plan for visiting the red planet on a budget, offering plausible scientific scenarios for its colonization and eventual terraforming. Here he makes his case more whimsically by presenting in the form of a guidebook for the twenty-second-century pioneer on the way to already well-established, prefab Martian settlements. In practical, bite-sized chapters, he doles out advice on choosing a spacesuit (the elastic kind accentuates your buff physique, if you have one), describes Martian jobs that pay well (and don’t kill you), and even provides tips on delivering effective pickup lines (hint: what works in Earth’s saloons won’t work at film festivals in New Plymouth, Mars). Skillfully rendered illustrations of Martian colony life spice up instructions on how to invest your savings, avoid bureaucratic persecution, and achieve fame by making groundbreaking discoveries. Despite its deliberately droll tone, Zubrin’s primer grounds each chapter in legitimate science (with some leeway for delightfully extravagant speculation) and makes this futuristic peek at the Martian frontier an enjoyable learning experience. --Carl Hays