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Mars Life (The Grand Tour) Mass Market Paperback – June 30, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: The Grand Tour
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reprint edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765357240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765357243
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Multiple Hugo–winner Bova pens a gripping and convincing conclusion to the story begun in Mars (1992) and Return to Mars (1999). Jamie Waterman, who discovered cliff dwellings during his first trip to Mars, is struggling to acquire funding for continued research on the long-dead Martians, but his efforts are severely compromised by the increasing influence of religious fundamentalists. Their rise coincides with a global environmental crisis, giving the U.S. government another rationale for shifting resources away from Waterman's work. Even the discovery of a Martian fossil can't ensure the project's viability, and Waterman and his wife return to the red planet in a last-ditch effort to keep the exploration going. Bova deftly captures the excitement of scientific discovery and planetary exploration. This compelling story, balancing action and plausible political intrigue, will easily be enjoyed by both fans and newcomers. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Bova’s Grand Tour future histories continue to constitute one of the more absorbing and intelligent contemporary sf sagas. Here two scientists add up fossil evidence to conclude that Mars once supported intelligent life and that Martians colonized Earth—conclusions that run them into the religious buzz saw of New Morality conservatives. The tension and suspense of that confrontation make a well-done if somewhat didactic thriller out of much of the book. Readers at peace with the hard-sf community’s views on religious influences will be unperturbed, and surely not just they will enjoy this exceptionally intelligent and absorbing story. --Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Not a terribly bad pair of books.
William Erklauer
Read "Mars Life" and discover the secrets of the red planet.
Jeffrey T. Munson
Good strong charters and story line.
Clint Baker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mars Life (2008) is the eleventh SF novel in the Grand Tour series, following Titan. The storyline, however, continues from Return to Mars. In that volume, Jamie Waterman -- a Navajo -- found a cliff dwelling much like those of the Old Ones back on Earth. The announcement of intelligent life, even though extinct, was a great sensation, but the fundamentalists were not pleased.

When everyone else was recalled to Earth, Jamie and Vijay stayed behind. Then the Navajo nation claimed Mars with Jamie as their immediate caretaker. When another Navajo came to occupy the claim, Jamie and Vijay returned to Earth and were married.

In this novel, twenty-three years later, Jamie and Vijay are still married and still in love. But their son has died in a skydiving accident. Jamie was on Mars at the time and returned to console his wife. He has spent the past two years close to her, never leaving her alone.

Varuna Jarita -- Vijay -- isn't quite as devastated as Jamie thinks. She has been waiting for him to work out his own pain. When he decides to go back to Mars, she is ready to go with him. After all, they can always use another physician with Mars experience.

Dex Trumball was a geologist on Mars with Jamie two decades before. Since then, he has been head of the Mars Foundation. He is Jamie's best friend, but they do disagree about tourism on Mars.

Carter Carleton is the oldest man on Mars and the only archaeologist. He has come to Mars to escape the false charges of rape leading to his forced resignation from the university.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read a great deal of science fiction in recent years but I grew up on the novels of Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, and Ben Bova's Mars Life reminds me a whole lot of the style used so successfully by those guys. Those writers were at their peaks in socially simpler times, when the dialogue of books and movies seldom reflected the harsh reality of street language and the raciest sex scenes described were of the relatively tame James Bond style. Their plots were seldom over-complicated, their character types rather predictable and their dialogue not always very realistic sounding. But, taken as a whole, the style worked, and today many of their books are considered to be science fiction classics. So the fact that Mars Life reads like a throwback to that science fiction era is not at all a bad thing.

This book is actually the third in Bova's Mars series but readers like me who have not read the first two books in the series will have no problem reading and enjoying it as a standalone novel. In fact, Mars Life is actually the sixteenth novel in Bova's "Grand Tour" series begun in 1993, which also includes a book of "Grand Tour" stories.

Navajo tribesman, Jamie Waterman, discovered Martian cliff dwellings on his first trip to Mars and has ever since that time dedicated his life to keeping the Mars exploration program focused and well-funded. Now, much to the dismay of Waterman and everyone associated with the program, both governmental and private funding is drying up and the existence of the program is threatened. Partially, that is because the United States government is facing the tremendously complicated and expensive prospect of relocating a substantial portion of its population due to all the flooding caused in recent years by global warming.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean E. Boudreaux on July 10, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Grand Tour is tapering off with this installment. I did enjoy the further exploration of Mars and discovery of Martian fossils. The familiar characters were welcome.

The references to Christians and scientists were a bit heavy-handed. It supposes that tens of millions of Christians are old-style Puritans and/or loons and that despite their foibles scientists are the epitome of human development and ardent in thier pursuit of knowledge.

Such broad strokes take away from the story as the truth is somewhere far in between.

Some character motivations and reactions seem a bit...exagerrated, as if this was a screenplay. Some characters even seemed repellent which surprised me. It almost seemed rushed.

It was worth three stars but far from Bova's best works. It is worth reading if you have the first two installments under your belt.

Regards,
Sean
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jym Cherry on January 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've been waiting for this book for a long time! I was left with the shimmering image of pueblo in a Martian cliff in Bova's Return to Mars in 2000. I wanted to read this ending chapter in Bova's Mars trilogy for so long that I resorted to e-mailing Dr. Bova to ask him if he was going to finish the Mars trilogy or had he given up interest in Mars in favor of his "grand tour" series of novels about the solar system. This may be the reply to my e-mail!

Mars Life is an epic novel taking place on Mars and Earth (mostly) and having such diverse characters as disgraced academics in exile on Mars, Christian fundamentalist politicians, duplicitous financiers, ambitious nano-technologists, feuding astronauts, Moon colonists, and Jamie Waterman the man who discovered the Martian habitations, not a hero but a man trying to find a path to do the right thing. At first the novel seems to alternate chapters between Mars and Earth but as the plot starts to evolve and add complexity this sing-song approach is quickly left behind. The chapters are usually short but they either set up a problem for later in the novel or they delineate a discovery. But every chapter whets your appetite for the next one. Bova very successfully weaves the plot, subplots, and characters deftly in and out of sight with the confidence borne of a storyteller at the height of his powers who doesn't need a lot of flash and sparkle to impress, but let's the story subtly unfold in front of you. I'm even loathe to use the word subplot because there is nothing `sub' about any of it, all the stories and characters serve the plot, yet none of the stories feel cheated or forced.
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