Red Mars

Red Mars

3.9 133
by Kim Stanley Robinson

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In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.

For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its… See more details below

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In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.

For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.

John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers and opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life...and death.

The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planets surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Library Journal
The first men and women to colonize Mars bring to their awesome task not only their unique skills but also their private hopes, ambitions, and fears. As the demands of the red planet are met and overcome, differences of opinion and struggles for leadership threaten to erupt into open warfare. This first volume in a trilogy by the author of Pacific Edge (Tor, 1990) elicits a sense of drama from the dynamic interplay of diverse characters as well as from the risks involved in creating a human habitat in an inhuman land. Generously blending hard science with canny insight into human strengths and weaknesses, this suspenseful sf saga should appeal to a wide range of readers. Highly recommended.
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.

From the Publisher
"The best tale of space colonization—a lyrical, beautiful, accurate legend of the future by one of the best writers of our time."—David Brin

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Martian Romance Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
3 MB

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.

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