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Starbound (A Marsbound Novel) Hardcover – January 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: A Marsbound Novel (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The workmanlike sequel to 2008's Marsbound continues the adventures of red planet colonist Carmen The Mars Girl Dula and her pilot husband, Paul Collins, as they set out on a deep space mission to save humankind from possible annihilation. After barely surviving the first encounter with an alien Other, Earth's leaders decide to send a ship with seven envoys after the Other's craft in a possibly suicidal attempt to reach the Other's home world and forge some kind of understanding. During the 6½-year voyage, the crew comes to some startling realizations concerning humankind and its place in the stars. Reminiscent of Asimov's early work and Heinlein's juvenile novels, the naïve tone, two-dimensional characters, and simplistic story line make for a fast-paced but unremarkable read. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Haldeman’s Marsbound (2008) introduced Carmen Dula, an impish teenager who migrated with her family to Mars and stumbled across honest-to-god Martians living under the planet’s surface. By that novel’s end, it was clear that the Martians are pawns of the Others, a remote, alien race that regards humans as a pestilence deserving extermination. As the story continues, Carmen joins a team of five other humans and two Martians on a six-year, interstellar journey to the Others’ homeworld in a desperate effort to forge a truce. Their spacecraft is a well-stocked minimansion embedded inside a comet harnessed to an engine running on a mysterious, Others-derived energy source. En route, Carmen and company do their best to stave off boredom while speculating whether the Others will offer greetings or simply annihilate them. Yet when they arrive far sooner than expected, the astonishing surprise the Others actually have in store for them is something no one had anticipated. Haldeman’s crisp storytelling and juicy plot twists keep us captivated throughout. --Carl Hays

More About the Author

Joe Haldeman has served twice as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and is currently an adjunct professor teaching writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend it to anybody who likes science fiction.
Kyle
Going back later to read what I missed revealed a few events that seemed like they would have serious consequences, but ended up completely forgotten.
S. Hoefer
This sequel to Marsbound introduces some new characters and the point of view alternates between characters throughout the book.
R. Terrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
While a big fan of Haldeman, this one was just too much (or too little) for me. Actually quite boring and a very disapointing ending for having to endure so little action. The multi first person narrative left me guessing who was speaking and along with the gender-less names and anything-goes sexual relations I was completely confused by the characters. I've never worked so hard to figure out who was doing what to whom and in the end it didn't really seem to matter. Somewhere buried in there was a decent short story but I fear that there is a "Galaxybound" in the works.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Tepper VINE VOICE on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Starbound", the sequel to the most excellent "Marsbound" is actually the second in a planned trilogy according to author Joe Haldeman. The final book in the series will be called "Earthbound" and is due out next year some time (see interview with JH at [...]

Regardless, whereas Marsbound, written from the perspective of a spunky, sparky, horny and clever young woman, Carmen Dula, who is forced to accompany her family to Mars was sharp, interesting, funny (Carmen's dialogue mostly), fast-paced and great SF, this sequel is dull, listless and just sort of slogs along. Carmen is back but does not even remotely resemble the Carmen of Marsbound, even though only a few years have passed. This time she, husband Paul and a handful of others, including a couple of Martians are on their way at subliminal speeds to the home world of the über-advanced "Others" who almost destroyed the all of mankind in Marsbound to try and make peace or die trying.

The story is all told in first person, and in many cases it is difficult to tell for several paragraphs or pages who is narrating. I found this disconcerting. The story is also boring - basically 7 humans plus two four legged, four armed Mr. Potato Head-horse hybrids stuck in a tin can for 6 years. Nothing of note happens, no great discoveries, some psychological problems but....

The meeting with the Others is anticlimactic and problematic from a plotting point of view. Without giving anything crucial away, I had a problem with just exactly how a race of super-advanced but ultra-slow moving and thinking life forms could possibly respond to events on a human time scale.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Terrell on February 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This sequel to Marsbound introduces some new characters and the point of view alternates between characters throughout the book. However, I didn't find the new characters, or their POVs, to be especially engaging. I also thought the pace of this story was quite slow, and the ending was totally unsatisfying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Baslim the Beggar on February 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, that is what I expect the title of a third book to be. This is a pretty good science fiction book, maybe even a great one, but I was crushed by the ending. Not that the ending is illogical or something that would be totally unexpected. But prospects look bleak.

As for everything else in the story, it is pretty darn good. There is a new character who is quite interesting, plus there are a couple of "Martians". There is high tension (Is this mission doomed? Are we going to screw up and get humanity blown away, or have they done it already?) Spaceships, new worlds, aliens, Oh My! Seriously good science fiction.

<later edit: I have snipped out a comment about varying the acceleration when getting close to lightspeed. That took longer than I expected, so I removed the comment. My revision was prompted by a comment. (Thanks))>

Something not mentioned in the book is the sudden lack of tides and its effect. The gravitation effect of a circumscribing sphere of dust is definitely not the same as a large moon. That's a major quibble.

I feel that technical things like that Haldeman could have sorted out by talking with folks at MIT where he teaches.

BTW the effect of the onset of 1g flight on the Martians was slightly amusing, but seemed plausible, given what we already knew of their method of um, waste disposal.

Unlike another reviewer, I had little troublee figuring out who was narrating each chapter. The voices were sufficiently different to figure out within a paragraph.

I wonder if Haldeman deliberately makes the Others act like Moonboy's foster father -- extreme punishments are us. Perhaps someone will come to help us, too.

It is a great story, I had the feeling early on that this could be another Hugo winner. I just hope a third volume will relieve the situation.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julia Sullivan on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Joe Haldeman's in vintage form once again with this novel of far-space travel. The second in a trilogy (following 2008's MARSBOUND) that traces the interactions of humans and Martians (trust Joe, it really does make sense) with mysterious, super-high-tech alien beings called the Others.

As usual with a Haldeman book, there's a lot of fun world-building and cool imaginary machines. The characterization is also strong, and a diary/ship's log structure helps convey different points of view from the motley interstellar crew.

All in all, a delightful adventure and a page-turner that's old-school but not stuffy. Looking forward to book 3!
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