Red Mars

Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson
4.0 134


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Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

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 withcomplexity and inspires with vision.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553092042
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/1993
Series: Martian Romance Series , #1
Pages: 540

About 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. 134 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 19 days ago
Great read. Best Mars book.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Great story, but a little too many scientific facts for my taste. Very well written though
Anonymous 5 months ago
Fabulous details, intense emotions, gut-wrenching action - all combine to give the reader a sense of what one might expect in an attempt to colonize an alien world. A must-read for anyone serious about sci-fi.
Anonymous 6 months ago
You will enjoy
Anonymous 7 months ago
ReadingOverTheShoulder More than 1 year ago
Not quite what I was expecting. I though the plot was non-existent, the characters annoying and yet is all seemed to work somehow. Plus Mars-porn. This isn’t for everyone. There is some good stuff there, but it’s pretty niche stuff. I’m even tempted to read the other two books, eventually. Full review at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If think you will enjoy reading a 400 page 1st person description of Martian landscape then this book is for you. If not read the open then skip to about page 400. A massive disappointment given the critical success. I will definitely pay WAY less attention to the critics when picking my next book. BORING BOOK.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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.