Red Mars

Red Mars

Paperback - 1993
Average Rating:
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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, 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
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1993.
ISBN: 9780553560732
0553560735
Branch Call Number: SF
Characteristics: 519 p. ; 23 cm.

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b
bwrogers
Jul 04, 2017

What more can be said about this book than already has been? Calling the story "epic" in scope doesn't do the book justice. From the moment a small number of people leave their homes to prepare to colonize Mars, through their stories and the stories of those who follow them up the gravity well, the novel describes the planet as if the reader truly were there. Tremendous, sometimes overly-technical description of the planet sets the stage for a new experiment in human society. Science, love, politics and, above all, Robinson's clear belief that humanity is capable of so much more than it's present state give the book a luminous glow.

ChristchurchLib Apr 05, 2016

A hundred settlers from a desperately overpopulated Earth are sent to make Mars' barren, freezing wastes habitable. Individuals with unique skills struggle to help ensure humanity's survival on Mars -- but as more and more settlers arrive from Earth, personal and political tensions threaten to make life impossible on either planet. Red Mars is 1st in the author's iconic Mars trilogy (continued in Blue Mars and Green Mars), in which human conflicts play out against a vividly drawn Martian landscape.

p
pabody
Oct 05, 2015

I have been a sci-fi devotee for 30 years, and can honestly say this novel ranks among the great of the genre. I still haven't changed my mind, though I've read hundreds of books since I first dived in to Red Mars 15 years ago. The previous comment remarks "I don't really want my science fiction realistic and scientific." I will overlook the obvious contradiction in terms of the latter point and address the former: If it's not at least partly believable, i.e. "realistic", then it ain't sci-fi; it's fantasy. The characters of the First Hundred are achingly human and the final scene never fails to bring me close to tears.

l
lukasevansherman
Sep 04, 2015

Some sci-fi fans distinguish between "hard" and "soft" sci-fi and if someone is telling you this, odds are they are firmly in the former camp. Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars," the first of his Mars trilogy, is hard sci-fi. It's not for the casual fan and it's unlikely to be made into a movie anytime soon. Robinson has a background and degrees in English lit., so his books are very well written, but not necessarily that engaging. I don't really want my sci-fi ultra realistic and scientific, so I found this book, which imagines the colonization of Mars, a bit dry and long-winded. It will appeal to fans of Clarke and Asimov. It won the Nebula Award. Followed by "Green Mars."

k
katrinalp01
Aug 25, 2015

If you want to know minutia about Mars and its topography, read it and skip the parts about the people on Mars. If you are a social work/psychology major, if you want to learn about group dynamics, have at it. This book so so boring it is unbelievable. I skipped page after page and still knew what was going on. I couldn't even suspend my disbelief. I got to the middle of the book and read the last chapter. I read enough. I tried so hard as I don't give up on books but this is a stinker.

acecarruthers Apr 27, 2015

Just discovered this book and couldn't put it down.

PimaLib_JohnM Mar 18, 2015

During a recent Blog Picture Science podcast, Kim Stanley Robinson admitted that colonizing Mars won't be as easy as described in his Mars trilogy, in light of everything we've learned about Mars in the past 20 years. Robinson explained that his ideas about terraforming Mars — back in the 1990s — didn't take into consideration a few newly discovered show-stoppers. There could be bacteria living beneath the surface of Mars. "That's going to be very hard to disprove," Robinson said. "We (wouldn't want to) intrude on alien life." Also, currently, scientists see less nitrogen on Mars than they'd hoped for. Earth's atmosphere is 80 percent nitrogen, so a buffer gas for oxygen would be needed. Finally, the surface of Mars is covered with perchlorates, which are highly toxic to humans. Bacteria could be used to dispose of them, but that would require a long-term cleanup (centuries or even millennia). In the podcast, Robinson says it's still possible to inhabit and terraform Mars; but it would take longer than described in his books.

z
zipread
Jul 01, 2014

Red Mars --- by --- Kim Stanley Robinson. Over twenty years old. Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. It must have been a pretty thin year for SF back then. I gotta wonder how many of the guys that bought this book ended up tossing it. Me, I usually try to finish what I start. If a book’s bad I want to cut my losses early: so many books, so little time. This book does have its moments. But they are separated from one another by long stretches of bland in which nothing happens: you can almost hear the grass grow (not that they have any on Mars). I laboured on reading this book, guilty like tossing the body of a friend over the railing. But eventually, eventually, it was time to move on. So many books, so little time. Recommended for insomniacs.

m
mexicanadiense
Dec 05, 2013

How is it I didn't know about this series sooner? One part survival story, one part blue print, one part honest examination of the nature of human relationships...Those are three quality parts right there! Plus, the shocking and unexpected and repeated killing-off of seemingly essential characters makes it unpredictable, fun, and lacking in the usual tropes and cliches. Strong recommendation, but be warned: you'll need your full concentration.

CrispinatorN Nov 23, 2012

Went back and reread this book for the first time in about 15 years. The first part of this book introducing us to the characters and transporting us to Mars is absolutely pitch perfect. A better work describing the voyage to Mars could not possibly be written and the characters are everything you could ask for. I do think the back part of the book, transitioning from the first settlement to a settled world on Mars, thus setting the scene for the battles between Earth and Mars and terraformers versus reds to come in Green Mars and Blue Mars is good, but not excellent. I feel the transition from that first settlement to a large number of settlements, with the problems that ensue, is far too fast given the realities of moving goods from one planet to another and drawn in very broad strokes versus the tight focus of the first part of the book. Overall, easily the best book written on Mars.

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