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Red Planet Blues Hardcover – March 26, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Robert J. Sawyer
 
“A writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.”—The New York Times
 
“Cracking open a new Robert J. Sawyer book is like getting a gift from a friend who visits all the strange and undiscovered places in the world. You can’t wait to see what he’s going to amaze you with this time.”—John Scalzi, author of Redshirts
 
“Robert J. Sawyer explores the intersection between big ideas and real people.”—Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo Award-Winning Author of A Bridge of Years
 
“Sawyer is producing some of the most intelligent sci-fi out there...Complex characters and complex ideas are interwoven into a narrative that draws the reader into the world that Sawyer has created.”—The Maine Edge (Bangor, Maine)
 
“When people call science fiction a literature of ideas, they mean Robert J. Sawyer.”—SciFi Magazine

About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel, as well as the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for mystery fiction. The ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his novel of the same name.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425256820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425256824
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer -- called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by the OTTAWA CITIZEN and "just about the best science-fiction writer out there" by the Denver ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS -- is one of eight authors in history to win all three of the science-fiction field's highest honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (which he won for HOMINIDS), the Nebula Award (which he won for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT); and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won for MINDSCAN).

Rob has won Japan's Seiun Award for best foreign novel three times (for END OF AN ERA, FRAMESHIFT, and ILLEGAL ALIEN), and he's also won the world's largest cash-prize for SF writing -- the Polytechnic University of Catalonia's 6,000-euro Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficcion -- an unprecedented three times.

In 2007, he received China's Galaxy Award for most favorite foreign author. He's also won twelve Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("Auroras"), an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, ANALOG magazine's Analytical Laboratory Award for Best Short Story of the Year, and the SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE Reader Award for Best Short Story of the Year.

Rob's novels have been top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada, appearing on the GLOBE AND MAIL and MACLEAN'S bestsellers' lists, and they've hit number one on the bestsellers' list published by LOCUS, the U.S. trade journal of the SF field.

Rob is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, teaches SF writing occasionally, and edits his own line of Canadian science-fiction novels for Red Deer Press.

His novel FLASHFORWARD (Tor Books) was the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name. He enjoyed spending time on the set and wrote the script for episode 19 "Course Correction."

His WWW trilogy, WAKE, WATCH, and WONDER (Ace Books), is all about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness.

Next up is TRIGGERS, April 2012. Set in Washington D.C., TRIGGERS is a science fiction political thriller about the nature of memory.

For more information about Rob and his award-winning books, check out his web page: http://sfwriter.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brian Driver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert J. Sawyer continues to amaze me.

RED PLANET BLUES is a blast to read, an old timey gumshoe-detective story set on Mars, one of those "Who Did It" detective tales that's more "Who's DOING It," as the mysteries keep piling up with almost every chapter.

RED PLANET BLUES is sci-fi, to be sure - it's set in the future, takes place on VERY foreign soil, and about half the characters are "transfers" (robotic bodies into which humans have transferred their consciousnesses). But Sawyer is mostly interested in having fun this time around...his concepts here are not meant to push the edge of the envelope. Rather, consider it a novel that that USES sci-fi to allow that story to be told.

Being a private eye story, it's full of tricky secrets, hidden identities, spurious motivations, criminal shortcuts and ill-gotten gains. Our hero is Alex Lomax, or Double-X, as befitting each name's concluding letter. He's a drinker, a lover (who doesn't mind married or even artificial women), a fighter (who is often outmatched by transfers), and a romantic with a secret past of his own. But, most of all, his real secret weapon is his inherent cleverness that will prove to be more than a match for the labyrinthine twists and turns of a story that is quite literally out of this world.

Mind you, the sci-fi trappings are still there. The small-ish group of colonists on Mars lives within a dome about five kilometers in diameter and about twenty meters tall at its center. The colony exists because of the Gold Rush-like mentality that followed the discovery of Martian fossils, each more precious than the last.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Chad Cloman on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Red Planet Blues" is private-eye-based whodunit with the twist that it takes place on the Mars of the future. For me, the good part of this book wasn't the story line; rather, it was Sawyer's vision of the future.

Human life on Mars is limited to a single, large, domed colony built from native materials by nano-machines. Most everyone there is somehow involved with prospecting, but not for precious metals or gems; instead, they search for Martian fossils which fetch a high price back on Earth. Some people strike it rich, some don't. The colony is owned and maintained by a company on Earth, which puts it outside the realm of government. It's truly a wild frontier.

Much of the story centers around "transfers". Biological humans can have their minds transferred into mechanical bodies, effectively making them immortal. (Note that it's the mind that's transferred, not the brain itself.) These "transfers" are legally and socially considered to be the same person as the original biological human. The process is expensive, however, so not everyone is a transfer.

The writing is good, and the author continues to throw new twists at us while unfolding the big picture.

Overall, I find Red Planet Blues to be an average story, and I give it 3 stars out of 5.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alpha on June 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sawyer is a good writer, but this tale had too many characters coming and going, w/o motivation, and w/o discernable differences. I was unhappy, but did finish it.

Edit: For those who like this genre, see "Altered Carbon"....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Thomsen on May 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clings to the gritty PI genre a bit too stiffly. Uninteresting archeypical characters, none of whom I connected with within the first few chapters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Kirk on April 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sawyer again shows his versatility as writer, taking up the hard-boiled detective theme with a Mars setting. His voice seems to strain at first, or was it that he was trying all the hard-boiled sleuth lines at once, but he gets into stride with great characters and humour. His many references to genre films and novels give the story depth and will enchant readership beyond the sci-fi clique. Given his background, you would expect Sawyer to get the technical aspects of Mars right and he does. A little conjecture about ancient Martian biota is reasonable and is central to the story. The near parochial Canadian themes are typical Sawyer and most enjoyable.

The roll-out of the plot seems to stop and start, perhaps attributable to the story being based on the novella "Identity Theft". While the plotting is accurate and seems to include no slip ups, it does get a little convoluted towards the end. The confidence of the author pushes the reader through to the finish and the detective novel voice is sustained effortlessly. Red Planet Blues is a pleasant read and Sawyer has contagious fun with it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By AC789 on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge Sawyer fan and have read nearly all of his books. I bet most of the other reviewers are as well, and so are probably hesitant to be critical of RPB. Flashforward was the one that got me hooked. I've loved all his books, with the exception of this one and "Triggers" (that's another story). I hope this isn't a new trend for Sawyer and that he goes back to his true sci fi roots. The story in RPB is OK, the twists kinda lame, and the style of writing amateurish, IMO (are there no other adjectives to describe a beautiful woman than "gorgeous" or "glorious"??). I get it, he's probably trying to appeal to a new audience or show his versatility as an author, blah blah. At one point, I was just reading some of the action scenes just to get through them. Robert if you read these reviews, give us another Calculating God, Starplex, WWW, Mindscan, that one dinosaur book, or ANYthing else!

- A truly appreciative fan.
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