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Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mars Trilogy (1)

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5,107102876 (3.94)1 / 258
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English (95)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Red Mars is the perfect blend of hard scifi combined with interesting characters and thrilling developments for me. The story involves the first exploration and colonization of Mars and is told from the POVs of several of the first 100 to live there. The diverse group’s divergent ideologies and perceptions of the planet result in tension, debate, and infighting, until it becomes clear that there are greater dangers coming from Earth.

Some of the characters are a bit annoying. I was not particularly fond of Frank, for example, who seemed both brutal and selfish. However, I loved Nadia and Arkady, who ended up being my favorite characters. Nadia was wonderful for her immense practicality and balances stance on things, loving the work of building and construction and solving problems. And within this practicality, there is also a passion that allows her to fall in love with Mars. Arkady is almost hilarious in his overzealous beliefs and is rarely practical, but there’s something about his over-exuberance that is charming.

Due to the varying points of view, assumptions are set up about each of the characters and events, which are then slowly unraveled later. It makes the story multi-faceted and fascinating. Though the novel is ended, the story of Mars and the first 100 is not finished, and I find myself craving the sequel to find out the end of their stories. ( )
1 vote andreablythe | Mar 3, 2015 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. Although it took me forever to get through it, that had more to do with my schedule than my interest. This is a very descriptive book, and sometimes I get bogged down with descriptive books, but I didn’t have too much trouble with this one because the descriptions were usually limited to a couple paragraphs at a time with more interesting material interspersed. I felt like I had a really good picture in my head of the environment, at least during the first half of the book.

The book starts off with 100 people traveling to Mars to establish a colony. I enjoyed this part of the story – everything from their journey to Mars to their colonization of Mars and the conflicts between the characters about how to establish life on Mars. But the book takes place over a few decades and, somewhere around the halfway point, Mars was suddenly filling up with new people traveling to Mars to make a life for themselves. Everybody had their own ideas about what life on Mars should be like and it seemed like everybody split up into different factions who each were willing to fight for their view of things without concern for the consequences to the planet or to other people. Things started spiraling into chaos and this was where I started to lose interest.

I wanted the story to be more about the original 100 colonists and their struggle to survive and build a thriving colony. I thought the way things spiraled out of control was pretty realistic, and I could see how events could have happened as they were depicted, but I never got very interested in that aspect of the story. I often enjoy books with political intrigue and conflict, but I think my problem with this book was that I thought most of the viewpoints were too extreme and/or too self-centered, so I really wasn’t invested in any one side. The characters also tended to be extreme and/or self-centered, so I never felt invested in the characters either.

The characters were… interesting. The book was split up into sections, with each section being told from the perspective of one of the original 100 colonists. Most of the characters weren’t very likeable, but the way they were portrayed was interesting. It was almost like some sort of psychology study. We saw the characters through different eyes as we read from the perspectives of different characters, and I was struck by the way the author slowly revealed more about each character as we saw them from different perspectives.

I could never be quite sure about the accuracy of how each character perceived things around them because other characters saw things differently. In the first section, Frank was obviously a pretty messed up person but, reading from his perspective, I couldn’t quite tell if he was seeing things accurately and dealing with them badly or if he was just completely delusional. Each new perspective gave a different and more complete picture of the characters inhabiting the story, and yet I was never quite sure if I was getting the real picture since my view was colored by the biases of the characters.

It added an element of realism in terms of how everybody in real life sees themselves and other people one way, but other people have a completely different perspective. I really liked this aspect of the book, even though I never grew attached to any of the characters. The characters often frustrated me. Most of the characters were so wrapped up in their own perspective that they couldn’t see or understand the perspectives of the others, and they were all so wrapped up in trying to meet their own objectives that they didn’t consider the consequences of their actions.

I bought the second book when I was at around the 65% mark in this book, because at that point I was pretty sure I would want to read it. I was going to be traveling so I wanted to make sure I had it available just in case I finished the first book sooner than I expected at a time when I didn’t have WiFi access. If I had waited longer to buy the second book, I probably would have decided not to continue the series since I started to lose interest toward the end. However, now that I have it, I’ll at least give it a try. ( )
  YouKneeK | Mar 1, 2015 |
This book details the colonization (and then terraforming) of Mars by the initial colonists (the First Hundred). It is a character driven story that also uses a significant amount of hard science throughout the book. It is well written and I will be reading the followup novels. ( )
  ConalO | Sep 21, 2014 |
Not sure how this got 4 stars..... it reminds me a lot of Asimov's Foundation books that I enjoyed so many years ago - the characters are all pretty wooden, the plot thin and there are an awful lot of descriptive passages describing Mars that it is a temptation to skip over. However the real characters are the place and the social and cultural structures being changed and built and destroyed. The problems being addressed are all very real in the world right now. And that is the strength and triumph of science fiction. Here it is done very well and while you may not care very much what happens to any of the individuals, you are led to care intensely about the society. He has also obviously paid a great deal of attention to what is known about Mars and to the physics involved which gives it a great up to date feel - although in the long run may get out of date so perhaps best read this decade! I shall not wait too long before tackling 'Green Mars'. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
Although some of the science and math went whizzing by my head, exactly like the asteroids flying by Mars, Red Mars fascinated me on several levels and kept me reading to the end despite its ploddish patches.

One hundred scientists are sent to Mars to see if it can be turned into a viable place to live. Earth is a mess: overpopulated, run by multinational corporations rather than countries, with only lip service being paid to the United Nations and international law. Its food sources are severely compromised, as are its waters and its air.

Robinson takes us through the initial efforts to colonise the place, as seen through the eyes of key players in the “one hundred”. He starts with the murder of one of the key characters and then jumps to the past to work forward to that moment and onward from there. As I got to know this character more, I felt sad about this but also began to read him as a kind of archetype, knowing that he wouldn’t be lingering past a certain point. What that point was and how it all got there is the substance of this first book in the Mars trilogy.

I couldn’t shake the feeling as I read further and further into the story that this was a quietly important book, prophetic and prescient. It did win the Nebula Award but that only reaches a specific audience; I wish it had a wider reach, particularly as I see a lot of what he foresaw as happening on Earth now taking place. I disagree with those reviewers who found it “mind numbingly boring” or “wooden”. I agree that he does go on about rocks too much and that this could have been edited better but it does convey Robinson’s passion for the planet and his deep interest in its possibilities. I got good at skimming the rocks and formulae, almost Martian myself in my ability to go over those rough surfaces.

On to Green Mars, with pleasure.
8 vote tiffin | May 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dixon, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Lisa
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Mars was empty before we came.
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"We became friends first," Arkady said once, "that's what makes this different, don't you think?" He prodded her with a finger. "I love you."
When you expect to live another two hundred years, you behave differently from when you expect to live only twenty.
Possess nothing and be possessed by nothing. Put away what you have in your head, give what you have in your heart.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553560735, Mass Market Paperback)

Red Mars opens with a tragic murder, an event that becomes the focal point for the surviving characters and the turning point in a long intrigue that pits idealistic Mars colonists against a desperately overpopulated Earth, radical political groups of all stripes against each other, and the interests of transnational corporations against the dreams of the pioneers.

This is a vast book: a chronicle of the exploration of Mars with some of the most engaging, vivid, and human characters in recent science fiction. Robinson fantasizes brilliantly about the science of terraforming a hostile world, analyzes the socio-economic forces that propel and attempt to control real interplanetary colonization, and imagines the diverse reactions that humanity would have to the dead, red planet.

Red Mars is so magnificent a story, you will want to move on to Blue Mars and Green Mars. But this first, most beautiful book is definitely the best of the three. Readers new to Robinson may want to follow up with some other books that take place in the colonized solar system of the future: either his earlier (less polished but more carefree) The Memory of Whiteness and Icehenge, or 1998's Antarctica. --L. Blunt Jackson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:37 -0400)

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Chronicles the colonization of Mars in the year 2026. 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 Toitovna, 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 an 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 planet's 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.… (more)

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