Red Lightning

Red Lightning

4.8 10
by John Varley

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“A cosmic coming-of-age novel… enthralling everyman heroics.”—Paul Di Filippo,

“Mars sucks.” And if anyone’s allowed to say it, Ray Garcia-Strickland is, since his father was one of the first men to set foot there. Ray’s father is now the manager of the Red Thunder, one of the swankiest hotels on


“A cosmic coming-of-age novel… enthralling everyman heroics.”—Paul Di Filippo,

“Mars sucks.” And if anyone’s allowed to say it, Ray Garcia-Strickland is, since his father was one of the first men to set foot there. Ray’s father is now the manager of the Red Thunder, one of the swankiest hotels on overdeveloped Mars. And Ray has seen his share of gravity-dependent Earthies. Which doesn’t stop him from fearing the worst when Earth is struck by an unknown object, causing a massive tsunami. Living high on his father’s glory was okay, but now Ray must literally come down to Earth—and help solve one of its greatest mysteries…

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ray Garcia-Strickland is just another Martian teenager. Sure, his parents are two of the ultra-famous original Mars colonists (as detailed in Varley's rollicking Red Thunder), but who cares when he's got school, girls and airboard tricks to think about? Then an object traveling at the speed of light slams into Earth, causing a massive tsunami that swamps Atlantic islands and coasts, including Ray's grandmother's Florida home. When the Garcia-Stricklands return from wading through the horrifying aftermath in search of survivors, they find that Ray's eccentric uncle, Jubal, has developed a gizmo that stops time and used it to mail himself to Mars. Drawing unabashedly on current events from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, the author mixes space opera-esque adventure and merriment with uncensored images of disaster areas and teenage sex. At his Heinlein-channeling best, Varley preaches the gospel of individual responsibility with all the fervor of a space-age libertarian revival preacher. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A highly satisfying sequel to Red Thunder (2004). In Red Thunder, eccentric genius Jubal invented the free-energy "Squeezer" technology, and his cousin Travis uses it to power a low-budget mission to Mars. Now, 23 years later, humanity has begun to settle the Red Planet and space travel has become common. Life on Mars is pretty good for 17-year-old Ray Garcia-Strickland, even if he doesn't seem to know it, but that all changes when an object impacts with the Earth, causing a massive tsunami. Ray's family and some friends travel to Earth to help relatives they have there. They experience horror after horror, seeing a devastated Florida as they reunite with family friend Travis and together travel to rescue Ray's grandmother. In the wake of this tragedy, Jubal-who is considered the most important man in the world since only he truly understands his invaluable Squeezer technology-goes missing. Three months after Ray and company return to Mars, a fleet from Earth invades, then questions Ray, Travis and the others concerning Jubal's whereabouts. The central mysteries of the novel concern what exactly happened to Jubal, as well as the nature of the object that struck the Earth. To reveal answers would spoil much of the fun, but suffice it to say that though the plot elements are seemingly disparate, they do all come together in the end. Much more than a simple adventure story, full of poignant moments and relevant social commentary.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Red Thunder , #2
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
689 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

John Varley is the author of the Gaean Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, and Demon), Steel Beach, The Golden Globe, Red Thunder, and Mammoth. He has won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his work.

From the Paperback edition.

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Red Lightning 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Victoria Sazani More than 1 year ago
One of the many splendiforous things about Varley is that he can write a real person and add the gender later.His women are intelligent, resilient and mighty. They are women I can aspire to. Go find his earlier stuff. It's dazzling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone should know that "RED LIGHTNING" is not the first book in this series of stories...That book would be "RED THUNDER", it puzzles me why "NOOK" does not make this book available...I have texted NOOK about this oversite to no avail...The novel "DEMON" the third book of the "GAEAN TRILOGY" is also unavailable...RADAR...04/15/2013...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Red Lightning is a fun and easy read. It progresses at a good pace and the character development is what you have come to expect from John Varley. The Science is believable based on the world he has created. My only complaint is that there is not another book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sat up. "Y-yeah. I think so."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For Lightningclan's Bios. I will post mine later! ~ Lightningstar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read Varley when in a teeneger "behavioral rehabilitate center" in 1992, I saw in the limited library a book with no dust jacket & therefore no synopsis, a book with the inviting title of Demon, within 10 min of reading even though I had no idea, I had become a lifelong devotee of Varley's. So I am biased when it comes to this writer, but even still Red Lightning is an all to rare satisfying read. Characters I cared about with plots that kept me excitedly interested. The hard science ideas refreshingly original continuations from Red Thunder with new additions. Also identifiable challenges to social stigma I could identify with like its no big deal to smoke pot, Mars even had a signature strain of the "devil weed ", Phobos Red. Also sex, its orientation, and many other challenges to ways of thinking and unnessary hangups that Earthies just cant let go of. If you like sci - fi and thinking for yourself, this book is for you. But I would recommend starting with his earliest works and slowly move towards the RED novels. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading his early stuff, try The Ophiuchi Hotline & others. THIS IS THE GREATEST LIVING SCI-FI WRITER ALIVE TODAY.
DuncanWatson More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago