Red Mars

Red Mars

4.0 127
by Kim Stanley Robinson
     
 

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Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel • Soon to be a series on Spike TV
 
Discover the novel that launched one of science fiction’s most beloved, acclaimed, and awarded trilogies: Kim Stanley Robinson’s masterly near-future chronicle of interplanetary colonization.
 
For centuries, the barren,

Overview

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel • Soon to be a series on Spike TV
 
Discover the novel that launched one of science fiction’s most beloved, acclaimed, and awarded trilogies: Kim Stanley Robinson’s masterly near-future chronicle of interplanetary colonization.
 
For centuries, the barren, desolate landscape of the red planet has beckoned to humankind. Now a group of one hundred colonists begins a mission whose ultimate goal is to transform Mars into a more Earthlike planet. They will place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels drilled into the mantle will create stupendous vents of hot gases. But despite these ambitious goals, there are some who would fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.
 
Praise for Red Mars
 
“A staggering book . . . the best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written.”—Arthur C. Clarke
 
“Absorbing . . . a scientifically informed imagination of rare ambition at work.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Tremendous . . . a high-water mark in novels of Earth emigration.”The Washington Post Book World

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A staggering book . . . the best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written.”—Arthur C. Clarke
 
“Absorbing . . . a scientifically informed imagination of rare ambition at work.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Tremendous . . . a high-water mark in novels of Earth emigration.”The Washington Post Book World
Library Journal
This title begins Kim Stanley Robinson’s monumental trilogy of terra¬forming Mars (continued in Green Mars and Blue Mars). Scientists and engineering colonists are sent to fulfill the destiny of humanity by making the Martian landscape habitable. Multiple characters narrate as they lead the mission, influenced by their rivalries and relationships, as well as the intense politics surrounding the ethics and opportunities of terraforming a planet.

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The first installment in Robinson's ( Blind Geometer ) new trilogy is an action-packed and thoughtful tale of the exploration and settlement of Mars--riven by both personal and ideological conflicts--in the early 21st century. The official leaders of the ``first hundred'' (initial party of settlers) are American Frank Chalmers and Russian Maya Katarina Toitova, but subgroups break out under the informal guidance of popular favorites like the ebullient Arkady Nikoleyevich Bogdanov, who sets up a base on one of Mars's moons, and the enigmatic Hiroko, who establishes the planet's farm. As the group struggles to secure a foothold on the frigid, barren landscape, friction develops both on Mars and on Earth between those who advocate terraforming, or immediately altering Mars's natural environment to make it more habitable, and those who favor more study of the planet before changes are introduced. The success of the pioneers' venture brings additional settlers to Mars. All too soon, the first hundred find themselves outnumbered by newcomers and caught up in political problems as complex as any found on Earth. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
YA-Red Mars seems to have emerged the favorite of all of the recent stories about a rocket trip to Mars, showing up on many science fiction awards lists. It describes the progress of the first Mars colonists from Earth as they are selected and trained, travel, get to know the planet, and establish the first viable human settlement there. Personalities are powerful, and inevitable divisions develop. In short, it's a terrific story. The science is fascinating, and the humans are engaging and convincing. Throughout, the plot grows out of a rich mixture of perspectives-ecological, political, economic, psychological, ethical-all of which resonate in the here and now. Though it is a complete novel in itself, Red Mars is also the first in a trilogy. Major new sci/fi epics don't come along every year; YAs should enjoy seeing this one unfold.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Roland Green
The Mars novel so has burgeoned on the sf scene lately that it threatens to become a cliche, and many of the breed will not survive the passing of the trend. Robinson's effort will, however, and with its projected sequel, "Green Mars", will likely take a place among the major sf works of the decade. The story is basically simple. It concerns the first permanent settlement on Mars, a multinational band of 100 hardy experts, and their mission--to begin making Mars habitable for humans by releasing underground water and oxygen into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, they are divided over whether this is a desirable step in human evolution or an ecological crime. Robinson's prose is as good as usual, his scientific homework impeccable, and his handling of a large cast a model to many avowed saga mongers. The book deserves--and should receive--a large audience.
Kirkus Reviews
First of a projected trilogy about the near-future colonization of Mars, from the author of Pacific Edge, Escape from Kathmandu, etc. Robinson's Mars is realistically cold, arid, and lifeless; and even before they reach the planet, his first hundred scientist- colonists are hotly debating how Mars should be terraformed. Each phase of the latter process is told from a different character's point of view, and thus Robinson constructs an intricate and fascinating mosaic of science and politics, love and betrayal, survival and discovery, murder and revolution. Among further complications: practical immortality, discovered by Martian scientists; the building of a space elevator; ice asteroids to pound the Martian crust, bringing water and thickening the atmosphere; vast Moholes excavated to tap vital heat from the core; and the ingenious creation of life forms genetically engineered to survive the harsh conditions. Yet the constantly intensifying struggle between Mars's idealists and Earth's transnational corporate exploiters makes revolution inevitable; and a handful of First Hundred survivors flee into the Martian wilderness, where other idealists have secretly prepared hidden sanctuaries. Despite the imposing density of the narrative, a novel of splendid characters in a brilliantly realized and utterly convincing setting. A pity about the overfamiliar colonization- exploitation-revolution plot cycle; still, for power, scope, depth, and detail, no other Martian epic comes close.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553560732
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1993
Series:
Martian Romance Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
83,488
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

Poul Anderson
A splendid book. The scientific background and technological details are utterly convincing, the people come alive, and the story comes to a satisfying climax which gives a sense of time passing and history happening such as is rare in world literature.
Fredric Jameson
Red Mars is one of those rare moments when a science fiction and a mainstream novel meet and coincide, without either one losing its gratification: you can read it either way. It is Robinson's most ambitious work by far, in which all his varied literary and descriptive gifts finally come together: collective delirium and personal lyric experience, the epic of sport and physical exhertion, the language and exotic landscape, a vivid characterization of memorable individuals -- all this now struck and illuminated by history, by a lightening bolt.

Meet the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, Sixty Days and Counting, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Galileo’s Dream. In 2008 he was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment.” He serves on the board of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.

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Red Mars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
DevourerOfBooks More than 1 year ago
How long has it been since I started reading a book that pervades my thoughts while at work? While watching a television program? While reading a newspaper or magazine? Too long! In Red Mars, Mr Robinson's first of three novels about colonization of Mars that is fascinating, engaging, thrilling and completely captivating; it is epic in scope and concept. Make no mistake, this is hard science fiction. Within this world I have found exceptionally great character development, especially considering the genre; a realistic philosophical debate about the use of current and near future technology; and a world that is stunning. If you like sci-fi, get Red Mars and place it immediately on the top of your stack of must reads. Final thought: this will be a book I look forward to reading again.
sakabako More than 1 year ago
Well formatted on nook and an unbelieveable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The highs on this book are very high, conversely the lows are just as bad. I will start with the bad. The characters are just plain irrational idiots except when they are passionless robots and no one has a personality worth a darn. There is rarely a character worth caring about. The politics which Robinson loves to focus on are terrible and tedious and almost (ALMOST) make the book unreadable at times. However, the science is rock solid and at once completely fantastic. When Robinson sends one or another of his characters to explore the world or to actually work to solve a real problem scientists today must solve if we are to ever colonize Mars, the story gets mind-blowingly good, to the point where I just can't say enough good about it. The scenes described during exploration will stick with me forever and make me wish I could live long enough to see them myself. If I am being totally honest, the characters and politics are very likely an accurate depiction of what you would see if a group like NASA were to send 100 of the most qualified scientists and engineers to begin the colonization efforts on Mars. It doesn't mean I like reading about it but it does serve to make a reader like me enjoy the science and exploration side of the story even more. This is a book I both rant and rave about to my friends, and I am so glad I read the book and it's sequels (including The Martians - also by Robinson, set even farther in the future), and I would readily recommend this book to any hard science reader, even even if at times they all completely tick me off, the payoff in the end is worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Asimov and Anthony, Robison puts the science into science fiction. With a cast of characters to rival any Altman film. And a setting equally as exotic as middle earth and more real. This is one of the best books ever written. It takes everyone of of the literary senses into overdrive. A fantastic book especially for those not to keen on science fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Red Mars is an awsome, inspiring and is the most well researched book about Mars to date. By itself it is one of the most compelling books that i have ever read, but combined with Blue Mars and Green Mars, makes the greatest Sci Fi trilogy ever written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this book, unsure of what to expect, and I can say it's definitely become a favorite. It's very interesting, and brilliantly describes the Martian landscape. The characters are engaging, and very interesting to read and see how the interactions change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a complicated and technical series, it's thought provoking and worth the patience
JGustav More than 1 year ago
Kim Stanley Robinson doesn't provide an amazing plot, nor does he give stellar character development. What he does do amazingly well in Red Mars is provide a visceral Martian experience. If you do not feel like you are on the surface of Mars alongside the first pioneering Martian colonists than something is wrong. Red Mars and the the two proceding books Green Mars and Blue Mars are pinnacles of the hard science fiction genre. You will be in love with tha little red gem in the sky when you close the cover that final time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, this book sacrifices engagement and involvement with the characters for a gritty, realistic scientific treatise. We want to care about the characters more than it is possible to do--given that at times we find several pages of carefully detailed technological and scientific exposition between even the smallest interactions. Mr. Robinson seems to lack interest in the inner world of his characters--hence the lack of development and complexity other reviewers noted. Very disappointing, unless you are seeking exactly what is here--a very techie exploration into what might or might not work in colonizing a harsh alien climate.
Anonymous 13 days ago
It was Awosum!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
For the more than a century, the planet Mars has been a subject of fascination for writers of all abilities; no less than Thomas Edison made a silent movie about traveling to the Red Planet. Early in the 1990s, Kim Stanley Robinson brought together issues he believes in and wrote the Mars Trilogy, of which this is the first of the series. Robinson has explored Mars before, have written Icehenge and The Memory of Whiteness during the mid-1980s. His online biography states he is passionate about environmental stability, economic and social justice, and scientists as citizens. These are notable and noble themes for exploration, and it would seem Mars is the perfect canvas for such a picture. It is the year 2026 (too soon in the future, IMO), and the First 100 citizens are headed on a one-way trip to Mars to colonize it and begin the terraforming process. The mission of the Ares (ironically, the Greek counterpart to the Roman god of war Mars) features 70% of the crew from the USA and Russia and the other 30% from the rest of the world. Early on, we see the conflict between Frank Chalmers, head of the American contingent, and John Boone who was the first man on Mars. It turns out that Chalmers has positioned Boone for the glory of being first on Mars in the hope that the radiation to which he was subjected would disqualify him from settlement, leaving him the true glory of being the head of the first Martian colony. Alas, Boone's popularity and down-home demeanor thwart those designs, much to Chalmers consternation. And, naturally, where there are two men fighting, there has to be a woman to fight over - Maya Toitovna. Maya is inferred to have slept/flirted/connived her way to the top of the Russian space organization. Truly, she is some kind of bipolar, ranging from calculating and rational to hysterical and full on teenage girl the next. Chalmers seeks to bully his way to power over the Martian colony as well as his patrons on earth. There are two overarching themes in this book. The first is the battle between the Reds and the Greens; the former (a naturalist stance led by Ann Clayborne) who believe that mankind should leave as little mark on Mars as possible. Her theoretical counterpart is Sax Russell, who believes that the very inhabitation of Mars is a type of terraforming. Among that debate, there is also another one concerning the type of society that Mars should be. Frank Chalmers sees no reason to not continue to live as earth people on Mars; he is contrasted by the anarchist sympathies of Arkedy Bogdanov (and allied by John Boone). These debates simmer among the First Hundred and begin to take up more and more of their free time as the first settlement of Underhill becomes established and branches out. Early on, the a cult of personality led by Hiroko Ai leads some of the First Hundred away to a secret location, dedicated to their new philosophy of Aerophany - the continuance of and appreciation for life. Her belief system, while fitting in nicely with the Green contingent, has really no effect on the group since she essentially takes her ball and goes into the Martian hinterlands to form her own society. As time passes, Mars begins to see the influx and increasing influence of transnational corporations, bringing with them essentially slave labor and an attitude that treats Mars as just another resource to be used for mankind's good (and their pockets). Over time, the transnats do introduce wonderful technology, but it comes at the cost of an enslaved population and a marginalized First Hundred. After a time, the population - led by Arkady and some others of the First Hundred - lead a revolt against the transnats. Unfortunately, the UN is looking the other way (you thought differently?) and private transnat armies suppress the revolution by tearing a hole in their settlements - easier done in the harsh atmosphere of Mars than on earth. It is left to Maya, Nadia (Akady's lover and construction chief of the First Hundred), Ann and her husband as they seek refuge in Ai's camp located under the Martian South Pole. Dr. Robinson has told a great story here. Lest there be no doubt, this is hard science fiction - full of science discussion and topics. There are inventions written about with theory behind it that are at least awesome if not plausible. It is also not the dream world of Star Trek; it is a book cynically written about a cynical world that hopes for optimism but expects pessimism. The fact that men would fight over a brand new world shouldn't be revelatory, but it is when presented in this context. The book suffers from a couple of issues. One of which is the passage of time. The book covers the timeframe from 2026 to 2061, but you wouldn't know that from reading the book per se. There are rare references to earth time by way of "M year" which is longer than an earth year and the rarer still use of an earth date to mark time. The use of an earth date in the start of chapters would have been helpful here. The book does contain a chart within the story detailing the seasons of the Martian year for both northern and southern hemispheres which was a valuable aid while reading the story. The other major issue is one of geography. Since this reviewer (like - I imagine - many readers) is not familiar with the Martian landscape, some type of map or other reference would have been beneficial to help keep track of the story. It shouldn't be necessary to have Google Earth (on Mars setting) open while simultaneously reading a book to know where things are happening, but here we are. BOTTOM LINE: This is hard and realistic science fiction that is the cure for ordinary science fiction.
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The first and in my opinion best of his three book series. Engaging characters (Frank was my favorite) and great plot.
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they don't just hand out hugo and nebula awards to anyone and after reading all three books in this series it is obvious why so many regard this trilogy as the epitome of science fiction or just plain fiction for that matter. it just doesn't get any better than this.
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