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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mars is Alive, June 13, 2009
This review is from: Mars Life (The Grand Tour) (Hardcover)
Humanity first set down on the Red Planet more than twenty years ago. Now nearly two hundred explorers are bound and determined to unlock its secrets...among which includes living lichen and subterranean bacteria and the long-extinct Martian organisms that built a rock a dwelling high up in a cliff.

But not everyone is so eager to uncover the secrets of Mars. Back on Earth there is a growing movement -- spearheaded by the ultra-conservative New Morality -- to shut down all exploration on the Red Planet.

Now Jamie Waterman, the lead geologist on the First Expedition to explore Mars, is in a race against time...can he procure the means to the keep a manned presence permanently on the Red Planet, or will the New Morality have its way and shut down Humanity's beachhead into the unknown forever?

Ben Bova, per norm, does a wonderful job of giving you a glimpse of what is just around the corner...along with what aspects of our Human nature may hold us back from pushing Humanity's boundaries. The biggest peeve I had with this tale is that Bova does not balance his New Morality "bad guy". In the story, the New Morality slithers its way into politics on the national level...ok, that's fine and believable. But in real life, there are counterbalances. The New Morality's push to theocratize would inevitably be offset by those who believed the opposite position, that government should be run wholly on a secular basis. Thus, a give and take. But there was no balance, it was just institution after institution -- both public and private -- either willingly caving in or being forced to cave.

However, as always, Bova does an achingly realistic job of portraying what our exploration of the Solar System (in this case Mars) will probably be like; the highs and lows of this exploration were exceedingly believable. Mars Life is recommended to anyone interested in the Red Planet, but most especially it is recommended to those who have read the two previous tales (Mars and Return to Mars) in this series.
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