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Red Mars (Mars Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Kim Stanley Robinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (612 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.22
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.

For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.

John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers and opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life...and death.

The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planets surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.


From the Paperback edition.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series


  • Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com Review

    Red Mars opens with a tragic murder, an event that becomes the focal point for the surviving characters and the turning point in a long intrigue that pits idealistic Mars colonists against a desperately overpopulated Earth, radical political groups of all stripes against each other, and the interests of transnational corporations against the dreams of the pioneers.

    This is a vast book: a chronicle of the exploration of Mars with some of the most engaging, vivid, and human characters in recent science fiction. Robinson fantasizes brilliantly about the science of terraforming a hostile world, analyzes the socio-economic forces that propel and attempt to control real interplanetary colonization, and imagines the diverse reactions that humanity would have to the dead, red planet.

    Red Mars is so magnificent a story, you will want to move on to Blue Mars and Green Mars. But this first, most beautiful book is definitely the best of the three. Readers new to Robinson may want to follow up with some other books that take place in the colonized solar system of the future: either his earlier (less polished but more carefree) The Memory of Whiteness and Icehenge, or 1998's Antarctica. --L. Blunt Jackson

    From Publishers Weekly

    The first installment in Robinson's ( Blind Geometer ) new trilogy is an action-packed and thoughtful tale of the exploration and settlement of Mars--riven by both personal and ideological conflicts--in the early 21st century. The official leaders of the "first hundred" (initial party of settlers) are American Frank Chalmers and Russian Maya Katarina Toitova, but subgroups break out under the informal guidance of popular favorites like the ebullient Arkady Nikoleyevich Bogdanov, who sets up a base on one of Mars's moons, and the enigmatic Hiroko, who establishes the planet's farm. As the group struggles to secure a foothold on the frigid, barren landscape, friction develops both on Mars and on Earth between those who advocate terraforming, or immediately altering Mars's natural environment to make it more habitable, and those who favor more study of the planet before changes are introduced. The success of the pioneers' venture brings additional settlers to Mars. All too soon, the first hundred find themselves outnumbered by newcomers and caught up in political problems as complex as any found on Earth.
    Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 4111 KB
    • Print Length: 584 pages
    • Publisher: Spectra (May 27, 2003)
    • Sold by: Random House LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B000QCS914
    • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,505 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    351 of 370 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A great book - but only for the hardcore March 14, 2001
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    I really enjoyed this trilogy, but readers considering it should probably at least consider the following up front:
    * You're gonna be subjected to miles of dialog-free prose, more than I've ever seen in any book that proports to be a novel. If you're into the science, and into visualizing what you read, you'll have no problem. But if you're used to Crichton, forget it. The pace will kill you.
    * If you don't already know geology, keep a dictionary handy. He uses 150 geological terms I'd never heard of.
    * The book has two main topics: Mars and Politics. Don't expect a thriller.
    * There are gaps in the science that you'll have to overlook. He's weak on the biological, but strong on the astrophysical.
    * The characters are pretty archetypal, so you'll probably relate to at least one of them. But also, some are, well, pretty darn annoying. But they add to the story anyway if you can stand them.
    So given that, if you're not scared off, read it. Read all three. You'll like them, and in the end you'll feel like you know a lot about Mars. It's an epic, and a great one despite its occasional shortcomings.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    213 of 254 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful portrayal of a giant lifeless rock April 3, 2002
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Nominally a future-history of Martian colonization, Red Mars covers the initial 100 Martian colonists, the influx of workers as corporations attempt to exploit the planet's resources, and the consequences as conditions worsen. The book is divided into eight parts, each telling the story from the point of view of one of six characters. Each character is interesting and three dimensional. The first, Frank Chalmers, is a stunning example - a machiavellian sociopath who arranges the murder of his best friend. The book suggests early on that the characters are dysfunctional, but most are not, and Robinson describes each personality in a way that's easy to relate to. Most readers will see some of themselves in every character, and will be moved when many disappear from the story as events unfurl.
    Robinson's prose is easy to read and descriptive. He lovingly describes the Martian landscape, and the events that change the planet. He explains the processes and technologies being used to make the planet more habitable. Mars and its future is viewed through different cultures and ideologies. And Robinson describes political and social systems evolving, growing, and collapsing - the only challenges the colonists seem unable to solve are those that cannot be fixed technologically. The ending is dramatic and, cheesy last line notwithstanding, overwhelming.
    A word about the politics: Several reviewers have trouble understanding the concept of sympathetic characters not representing the author. Nobody argues that, through Chalmers, Robinson is advocating murder, so why assume that characters portrayed as idealistic hot-heads advocating an enlightened Utopia (not communism) are attempts to convert readers to Marxism?
    Read more ›
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    106 of 127 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    I am just aghast at the number of non-five-star ratings this book has received. The answer probably likes in the sophistication of the particular reviewers who are underrating this masterpiece. I don't want to make this sound arrogant or patronizing, but the great thing about the Internet (and Amazon reviewing) is that anyone can review, while the awful thing about the Internet is that anyone can review. I'm not sure what else one could want out of a Sci-fi novel than what you find here. My guess is that those who dislike it tend to prefer space opera or pure adventure books. But if you have any capacity to read good literature this novel will almost undoubtedly knock your socks off.

    RED MARS has been almost universally praised by Sci-fi writers and academics as one of the finest hard science Sci-fi novels in recent decades. Partly as a result of the influence of Philip K. Dick (my favorite Sci-fi writer, but someone who was almost completely uninterested in the "science" in Sci-fi but instead focused on metaphysical dilemmas), STAR TREK, and STAR WARS, Sci-fi has been less and less focused on science in the past few decades and instead has been more concerned with exploring questions like "what is real?" or adventure stories. Time was when the most denigrated form of Sci-fi was the space opera. Robinson's Mars Trilogy is the triumphant return of hard science in novelistic form. But RED MARS is far more than that. It is as political as it is scientific. I can imagine that a few of the people giving the novel low marks are troubled by Robinson's politics, which are further to the left than any prominent politician in America today.
    Read more ›
    Was this review helpful to you?
    96 of 121 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    The author's breadth of knowledge in science and political theory is impressive, to be sure. Years of research evidently went into this book. But often it seemed he was straining to showcase just how much he knows. The psychiatrist's long esoterica on human temperaments is a case in point -- dry as the Martian soil and entirely gratuitous. (Where was the editor with scissors?)
    Initially, I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the topography and the explanations of how people built the first colony. Beyond the book's halfway point, I was saturated with it -- too much of a good thing. Getting through the last third of the book was a struggle (a coherent plot might have helped here). That disappointed me, because the beginning was engaging.
    The characters turned out to be caricatures, not people. How many times could the ultra-grouchy Frank say "shut up" or "you idiot"? And Maya, the Russian beauty with the angst of a note-passing high school sophomore -- what space program let her in?? Then there was the flaky cult leader, and the rigid environmentalist ever flashing righteous scowls. It's an annoying, exaggerated cast of characters with only a few exceptions.
    Also irritating was the insertion of the author's political dogmas, which revealed corporations and free-market types as predictably evil, bent on destroying the planet (just as they do on Earth, curse them all). The collectivists, of course, were the ones we were all supposed to cheer.
    But OK, lots of it was interesting. The space elevator, terraforming ideas, survival on a hostile world. The author managed to stoke my imagination several times. He proved an able wordsmith, displaying flashes of brilliance at times. But the editors really let him down, I'm afraid. Several hundred pages needed to go and didn't.
    Still, for those who like science and believable ideas about interplanetary travel, the book may be worth plodding through in your Martian rover.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Really good, although got slow and skipped forward quite a ...
    Really good, although got slow and skipped forward quite a lot towards the end probably wouldn't bother with the sequels.
    Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
    1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor
    I was eager to read this series. I'd love a bit of space opera (well, Mars opera) about developing a human-habitable Red Planet. I am sure that Mr. Read more
    Published 10 days ago by Buzz H.
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Description of the Mars landscapes and locations are tedious and difficult to follow throughout the book.
    Published 11 days ago by Ann
    4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
    A very good book . Absorbing and incredibly detailed. Can't wait till I start the next chapter of this trilogy.
    Published 16 days ago by Anton
    5.0 out of 5 stars Sci fi at its best
    Just started reading this...pretty good so far!
    Published 1 month ago by gorfi
    4.0 out of 5 stars Patience required
    Difficult in spots where Robinson includes detailed descriptions of Mars geology. Also don't expect to get attached to the characters. However, still an impressive, epic story.
    Published 1 month ago by Elijah Coffman
    2.0 out of 5 stars While the Idea of the story is OK there are ...
    While the Idea of the story is OK there are just too many sub plots and pages of descriptions of the surface it just got to be a bore so I won't read the other 2 volumes of the... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction with science
    Fascinating science fiction. It is long and involved and well done.
    Published 1 month ago by judy h upton
    3.0 out of 5 stars this is a very believable story about early mars settlement ...
    this is a very believable story about early mars settlement...however it is also very long and becomes more and more political as it goes on... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Dianne K. Patterson
    5.0 out of 5 stars the very best of SciFi
    This good because it has all the elements: Brilliant background detail based in hard facts; Narration from the perspective of a range of key characters, so they all become rounded;... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by GBMMGB
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    More About the Author

    Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of eleven previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica--for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers' Program. He lives in Davis, California.

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    Topic From this Discussion
    Fantastic book, but poor OCR
    I just started reading the digital version and have noticed some quotation marks missing. While annoying, I don't think it's damages the reading experience.
    Feb 16, 2011 by Deadstanley |  See all 2 posts
    love the Mars Trilogy- Others like them?
    Well, one good possibility is the Three Californias, by the same writer. They are terrific novels. Although they don't go all the way to Mars, they do depict three possible near-futures for California.

    Oh, and The Years of Rice and Salt is another really fantastic novel by Kim Stanley Robinson.... Read More
    Jan 13, 2009 by David A. Farnell |  See all 6 posts
    Both Red and Green?
    Yes, it's both books together.
    Oct 25, 2009 by Joshua J. Bunting |  See all 4 posts
    Kim Stanley Robinson, please do not disable the Text to Speech feature...
    I have vol 1- Red Mars. The text to speech works fine- it isn't disabled.
    Aug 10, 2009 by almac |  See all 2 posts
    AMC TV series, in production... Be the first to reply
    Chapter repeat in kindle copy of Red and Green Mars? Be the first to reply
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