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Icehenge Paperback – May 15, 1998
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In the year 2248, Mars is ruled by a Politburo-like committee that actively discourages dissent as well as travel and exploration of other planets. Scientist Emma Weil becomes involved in a covert plot to convert a stolen ship into a self-supporting spaceship. She turns down a chance to accompany the starfarers, and returns to her beloved Mars where she joins the revolution already in progress.
Three centuries later, archaeologist Hjalmar Nederland unearths a governmental cover-up of the true facts behind the old revolution. At the same time, a Stonehenge-like monument is discovered on the north pole of Pluto, and Nederland sets out to prove his theory that the monument is connected to revolutionaries and their contemporaries who left for the stars. Seventy years later, his great-grandson Edmond Doya becomes convinced that Icehenge is a hoax, and attempts to disprove Nederland's theory.
In addition to futuristic issues such as interstellar travel and the terraforming of Mars, Robinson's characters grapple with politics, careers, families, and aging. Icehenge is a worthy introduction to the author's winning combination of hard science and believable characterization. --Bonnie Bouman
“Unforgettable.” ―The Baltimore Sun
“In a genre not often distinguished by strong characterization, Robinson is a welcome exception. Yet even the memorable community of his The Wild Shore did not prepare us for this brilliant triptych in which the monolithic artifact of the title and the events surrounding it are described and examined from widely different points of view. The distinct, personal voices of the narratives, as they construct and deconstruct their elegant theories, are a pleasure rare in SF.” ―Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did had I not read the Mars trilogy first. Having the background of the trilogy allowed me to focus on the story unfolding in this book.
If you like Robinson's examination of society through the fiction that he writes then you will like this book.
The aspect of the book I found most enjoyable is its examination of how history is created and how a search of facts and historical objects can lead to many different interpretations of the same data. The book seems to me to be saying that we can't ever truly know what happened in the past; we can only examine the available information and take a guess. We should never forget that the victors make the history whether they were in the right or not.
The book itself is a triptych surrounding the creation of a monument near the north pole of Pluto. It is set in the future in the same fictional universe as the Mars trilogy and The Martians. I'd say it is most like The Martians in that it is a collection of three short stories that all deal with the same theme and build one upon the others. Each of the three stories could be taken individually and be interesting but they are related and the relationship between them is what gives this book it's unique quality. In the first part of the triptych Robinson provides an account of events in the form of a journal written by one character. In the reading of this journal one identifies with the character writing it and in a sense becomes her friend.Read more ›
Icehenge is a story set in three parts told by three connected people over several hundred years. Robinson seeks to take archaeology into the future to demonstrate that the provision of primary written evidence is inevitably biased and that written evidence of what we will do will become too distorted and too historically complex for our future generations to be in any better position to understand than our archaeological techniques can today.
The opener, narrated by Emma Weil tells of her unwitting participation in a somewhat idealistic attempt by the underground Mars Starship Association to set off for pastures new beyond our solar system. Her love affair is woven in as both a motivator and an explanation for the links between Weil and Davydov, giving us a story of a group of people determined to leave the solar system to colonize pastures new. Heavily influenced by the political situation on Mars at the time it culminates in Emma's return to Mars to be part of the uprising and final destruction of New Houston. A voyage in both the physical and mental sense, part I is intensely reflective and demonstrates the struggle between idealism and reality, between fact and perception.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This deserves to be read because it is well written. It jumps around quite a bit so pay close attention to names and times. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Charles Bell
Probably my favorite KSR book. It's unlike his others, in that it's set in a future civilization that is quite removed from our own. Read morePublished 2 months ago by truri
Skip this one. It's glacially slow and doesn't take you anywhere interesting. The characters are all so flat, boring and underdeveloped that you can hardly tell them apart. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. Stockett
I read this 30 years after it was written, but it is more a timeless story of the frustrations of fighting "city hall" told in a sci-fi setting. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Old Texan
I found the book a little confusing to follow - interesting but An unsatisfying ending who did build the structure?Published 8 months ago by Edward J. Zawaki
I liked the book and the development of the characters. It seemed to be more a study of politics and bureaucracy from the perspective of the cold war than anything else. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jenn2500
Robinson's prose has, over the years, become almost painfully beautiful to read; an art form in its own right. Enthralling, entertaining, and thought-provoking! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jon Welsh
The plot takes place in three distinct future time periods over a span of several hundred years on Mars. Read morePublished 9 months ago by J Canarsie