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The Martians (Bantam Spectra Book) [Kindle Edition]

Kim Stanley Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.50
Kindle Price: $5.98
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Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is one of science fiction's most honored series, with Red Mars winning the distinguished Nebula Award, and both Green Mars and Blue Mars honored with the Hugo. A modern-day classic of the genre, this epic saga deftly portrays the human stories behind Earth's most ambitious project yet: the terraforming of Mars.

Now, following the publication of his acclaimed adventure novel, Antarctica, Robinson returns to the realm he has made his own, in a work that brilliantly weaves together a futuristic setting with a poetic vision of the human spirit engaged in a drama as ancient as mankind itself.

From a training mission in Antarctica to blistering sandstorms sweeping through labyrinths of barren canyons, the interwoven stories of The Martians set in motion a sprawling cast of characters upon the surface of Mars. As the planet is transformed from an unexplored and forbidding terrain to a troubled image of a re-created Earth, we meet men and women who are bound together by their experiences on Mars and with each other.

Among them are Michel, a French psychologist dazzled by the beauty around him; Maya, a woman whose ill-fated love affairs lead to her first voyage to Mars; and Roger, a tall Martian-born guide who lacks social skills but has the courage to survive on the planet's dangerous yet strangely compelling surface.

Beginning with the First Hundred explorers, generations of friends, enemies, and lovers are swept up in the drama that is Earth's tenuous toehold on Mars. International exploration turns into world building; world building degenerates into political conflict, revolution, and war.

Following the strands of these lives and events, in an age when human life has been extended for decades, The Martians becomes the story of generations lived on the edge of the ultimate frontier, in a landscape of constant man-made and natural transformation.

This new masterpiece by Kim Stanley Robinson is a story of hope and disappointment, of fierce physical and psychological struggles. Both deeply human and scientifically cutting edge, The Martians is the epic chronicle of a planet that represents one of humanity's most glorious possibilities.

A Letter from Kim Stanley Robinson:

"When I finished Blue Mars, I realized I wasn't done with Mars yet.  There were things I still wanted to say about the place, and about my characters from the trilogy, and there were a number of sidebar stories and characters that had found no place in the trilogy's structure.  I also had a couple of precursor Mars stories that did not fit the trilogy's history--'Exploring Fossil Canyon' and 'Green Mars'--and I had held these out of my earlier story collections thinking they belonged with the Mars group."

So all this material was there, and as I wrote Antarctica, I found myself drawn back into the matter of Mars repeatedly, by the discovery of possible life in meteorite AHL8004 and by the Pathfinder landing.  I decided to make a collection of Martian tales, and as I put them in roughly chronological order, I saw that they seemed to be adding up to their own larger story, functioning as the trilogy's 'unconscious' or 'secret history'.  Using all kinds of modes, from folk tales to scientific articles, from personal accounts to the full text of a constitution, I arranged things so that the book altogether tells the story of an underground and hard-to-see resistance to the terraforming described in the trilogy proper.  I had a great time doing these stories, and hope they add up to my own version of a Martian Chronicles."

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

The Martians is a collection of stories, alternate histories, poems, and even the complete text of a planetary constitution based on Kim Stanley Robinson's award-winning Mars trilogy (composed of Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars). For those unfamiliar with the series, The Martians from the title are the humans who have colonized and terraformed the Red Planet over the course of several generations. While Robinson told their story at considerable length in his novels, The Martians fleshes out some of his more interesting characters and also adds depth to their world.

When it's at its best, this collection presents stand-alone stories of life, love, and work on our celestial neighbor, ranging from the tale of an expedition seeking to conquer Olympus Mons in "Green Mars" to a folksy story of friendship and baseball in "Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars." Unfortunately, some of the material here can be tough going for those unfamiliar with Robinson's Mars milieu. For instance, the ending piece, "Purple Mars," is apparently an autobiographical snippet about the day Robinson finished writing the final novel. That's great stuff for someone who has been following the entire Mars saga from beginning to end, but newcomers will probably not know what to make of it.

Still, there is enough material here to interest anyone on the lookout for some good Mars stories. Although Robinson has made his name by writing fat novels that span dozens of generations and characters, in The Martians he proves that he is also adept at shorter pieces. It's a fine if somewhat uneven collection that serves to round out the Mars universe while providing some excellent reading. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

With a Nebula and two Hugos to its credit, Robinson's monumental Mars trilogy (Red Mars, etc.) is one of the most honored series in the history of science fiction. Having finished the trilogy, however, and gone on to write yet another major novel, Antarctica, Robinson realized that he simply wasn't done with the red planet. There were important episodes in the lives of his major characters that hadn't made it into the novels. There were alternate possibilities that he still yearned to explore. There were pages of essays, vignettes, fables, poems, and fictional science and history, all demanding to be written. This collection represents Robinson's further thoughts on Mars. It encompasses a number of new short stories, including at least two set in alternate universes where events have taken place quite differently than in the novels. Among the best entries are "Coyote Makes Trouble," which concerns a plot to capture one of the planet's leading revolutionaries; "Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars," about the effect of Martian gravity on America's favorite pastime; and "Sexual Dimorphism," which involves a Martian scientist whose work strangely echoes his personal life. Also included is "Green Mars," a previously published novella about climbing Olympus Mons, the highest mountain in the solar systemAa wonderful story that, curiously, has no direct connection to Robinson's later novel of the same name. Some of the pieces here will be of interest only to those who have already read the trilogy, but the finest of the short fiction stands firmly on its own. As is the norm with Robinson's work, the stories are beautifully written, the characters are well developed and the author's passion for ecology manifests on every page. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (May 27, 2003)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,873 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, but some worthwhile stuff inside March 14, 2004
On the odd chance that you've come here by accident, let me open up by saying that Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy (consisting of Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars) remains one of the greatest SF epics of all time, managing to combine a grand scope with highly emotional storytelling and a riveting plot, as well as a overarching concern for environmental issues. If you haven't read it, go out and buy all three books right now, because otherwise this book here will hold absolutely no interest for you at all. After he finished the trilogy Robinson apparently had some leftover thoughts and supplementary material he thought worthy of publishing and so this book is a collection of short stories and other pieces all relating to that great trilogy. The only thing is that a lot of this is hit and miss, with decent stories sitting next to somewhat useless pieces. The biggest problem here is for people like me who read the Mars trilogy years ago (about seven years ago, I think) and a lot of the better stories make references to events that happened in the novels themselves. And while this doesn't ruin the stories, the shorter stories lose some of their resonance because the reader doesn't grasp the whole context and people who have never read the novels will be totally lost. But a good majority of the meatier stories stand up quite well on their own (I like the baseball one, the original "Green Mars" story was neat, and a lot of the viginettes involving Coyote was well done) and make for quick, enjoyable reads that take the reader back to the glories of the trilogy. But a lot of the other stuff is just Robinson clearing out his notebook . . . Read more ›
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Look into the Writing Process November 5, 1999
When I first saw some reviews for "The Martians," I was thoroughly discouraged. No one seemed to appreciate the stories. I went out and bought a copy, and I've been truly happy that I did. For readers looking for a continuation of the trilogy, this simply isn't it. While more familiar characters, such as Maya, the Coyote, and Michel all make appearances, this book does not continue the story line. Rather, it fills in cracks and provides detail work that an author cannot appropriately include in the course of a book. Many of the tales fall outside of the trilogy itself, which gives us the opportunity to really see the sense of community. "The Martians," was beautiful and gratifying in that it brought me back to a world that I once loved, but had allowed to fade from my memory. I jumped back and forth, reading stories in no particular order, and fell in love once again. I first read "Red Mars" as a freshman in high school. A great deal of the finer details of science were lost on me. The atmosphere of "The Martians" convinced me to reread the first book once more, and I'm absolutely satisfied with the second reading. I understood now so much more of the science of the novel, far better than I ever could have before. It truly gives me an appreciation of the lengths that Robinson went to in order to create his world of Mars. This collection of stories is truly successful in its goal: to give the reader a more intimate knowledge of the universe according to Robinson. I for one am grateful for the opportunity; it would be a wonderful place to live.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kim Stanely Robinson's Mars trilogy, consisting of RED MARS, GREEN MARS, and BLUE MARS is a major acheivement of science fiction. THE MARTIANS is a companion book that contains Robinson's early short stories about Mars, alternate plotlines, and even poems and an autobiographical vignette.
Although THE MARTIANS is meant to satisfy the reader's curiosity for certain aspects of the trilogy, that curiosity isn't very strong. I quickly grew bored with the stories of THE MARTIANS. In fact, some of the stories inside made me feel overloaded and less appreciative of the trilogy.
THE MARTIANS isn't really worth reading unless you have read and enjoyed the trilogy several times. Even then, it's not very impressive.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Martians=tediousRehash September 12, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read all three of "Red Mars," "Green Mars," and "Blue Mars," and, though a tad slow here and there, I liked them a lot, and use words like "exceptional" and "great" to desrcribe them to fellow sci-fi junkies. Recently while on a book-a-week sci-fi binge, I went shopping and saw "The Martians" and got all excited; bought it straight away. It took me longer than normal to get through this book, and I came close to tossing it in the recycling bin several times (except that I have this thing about never leaving a book unfinished). Anyway, the book is essentially a clip show of the other three, only worse: rather than repeat the best moments from the other books, they ... actually seem to have published a compilation of all the outtakes from the other books. Each story hit me with the same general impression: "this seems like something culled from one of the other Mars books, scraps from the edit room floor." And as one of the other reviewers mentioned, that thing at the end, "Purple Mars," was the biggest bunch of self-indulgent twaddle I've ever read. It might have even been interesting to read in New Yorker magazine or something, but it has no place in a sci-fi book (collection or otherwise).
So, where I was slightly miffed by Greg Bear's "Eon" series and some of its amazing similarities to Clarke's "Rama" (superficially anyway), at least those books were interesting, enjoyable, and brisk. With "The Martians," Robinson is far dirtier. He seems to have focused on making *more* money off the success of his trilogy, and has completely thumbed his nose at his Mars series fans in the process by tricking us into buying and reading painfully slow, horribly disconnected drivel. ...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars After the Legendary Mars Trilogy, this is disappointing....
***Spoiler Alert*** To start off, this is not another chapter in the epic mars saga, it is a culmination of the minor changes and alternate twists/endings that were dreamed up by... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Run as fast as you can...from this book
I can't remember EVER reading an SF book as bad as this is!
Short stories? Fine. But even in the individual stories, it is disjointed, full with references that are totally... Read more
Published 5 months ago by abanash
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
An amazing series. Robinson has created a world of characters that are fascinating and memorable. Read Red Mars first, the Green Mars and Blue Mars before The Martians.
Published 11 months ago by pmata1
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Robinson book ever
After LOVING Robinson's trilogy on Mars ... this was a letdown of the utmost caliber.
Short stories that were self indulgent and didn't even mesh. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bonsaiherb
4.0 out of 5 stars Classics I reread again and again
The Martian "trilogy" are one of those treasures I pick up from time to time in life to reread, the characters are all like long time friends. Highly recommended!
Published 14 months ago by I Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre, scattershot collection
Let me start by saying that if you think from the title "The Martians (Mars Trilogy)" that you are buying a copy of Robinson's outstanding "Mars Red/Green/Blue" trilogy--you're... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Andy Baird
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a story inside
I see a lot of complaints about this book and it kind of bothers me. I haven't read any of the "Red Mars" novels in half a decade and while some of the short stories feel... Read more
Published 17 months ago by James Alexander
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Trilogy
Mostly a collection of things he didn't get into the trilogy. A lot of seemed disjointed to me. A few parts of it filled in missing stuff from the Trilogy, but it wasn't as good... Read more
Published 22 months ago by R. Knapp
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!
I've been wanting to read this book for quite a while...
I wasn't disappointed with it.
However if you never read the mars novels, this is not for you...
Published on March 7, 2012 by Pedro
3.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible
As in the original trilogy I thought this was a great idea, but with only average execution.

I always love short stories, because if you get a stinker you are only into... Read more
Published on January 19, 2012 by Brad
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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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