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Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1993
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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
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
* 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.
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 ›
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book may be ambitious, epic and ground-breaking… but it is not good. The author’s oversized enthusiasm for this massive undertaking is definitely admirable - a trilogy of... Read morePublished 21 hours ago by Kurt Russell
Interesting and well written forecasts of future problems colonizing of Mars. If you like your novels to come to a conclusion, this one is not for you. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Robinson clearly researched each and every detail of this book and paints a broad narrative of the colonization of a new planet. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Clayton R Meredith
Intriguing narration with abundance of characters (honestly, got lost among them many times). Sometimes little too descriptive on the expense of pace. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Pavel Sedláček
The story wasn't what I was expecting but a good sci-fi drama. It focused more on social aspects than on terra-forming efforts.Published 7 days ago by Donovan Smith
i always try to read every ksr book, 2312 was incredible, and i even loved aurora. for me, it was apparent that this was an early work of his, a little unrefined compared to what i... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Michael
Sometimes there is science fiction that is just too much science & this is one of those for me. While the overarching philosophical considerations of how a colony on Mars might... Read morePublished 16 days ago by J. Wilbur
I read this book because it was on a GoodReads top sci-fi list. Overall it is enjoyable but overly dramatic and lengthy for my tastes. Read morePublished 22 days ago by A. Peterson