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Mars la Rouge : tome 1 by Kim Stanley…
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Mars la Rouge : tome 1 (edition 1999)

by Kim Stanley Robinson (Author), Michel Demuth (Traduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,668120753 (3.91)1 / 289
Member:pascalr
Title:Mars la Rouge : tome 1
Authors:Kim Stanley Robinson (Author)
Other authors:Michel Demuth (Traduction)
Info:Presses de la Cité (1999), 548 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Favorites
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson

  1. 100
    Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (fichtennadel)
  2. 50
    The Martian by Andy Weir (fichtennadel)
  3. 20
    Moving Mars by Greg Bear (LamontCranston)
  4. 31
    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (psybre)
    psybre: Each book contains detailed methods and thinking that goes into solving space-colonization and space disaster issues. They also infuse the issues with politics.
  5. 31
    Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson (sturlington)
  6. 20
    How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet by Robert Zubrin (SiSarah)
  7. 10
    The Outward Urge by John Wyndham (MinaKelly)
  8. 21
    A Woman of Mars by Helen Patrice (TomWaitsTables)
  9. 10
    As It Is On Mars by Thomas William Cronin (cgervasi)
  10. 11
    Threshold by Eric Flint (PortiaLong)
    PortiaLong: Politics and exploration of the solar system.
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English (111)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All (119)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
I recently decided to broaden my reading horizons into the realm of science fiction, which I am not very well read in. It isn't that I particularly have any aversion to sci-fi, it's just that I am largely unfamiliar with the genre, and I always find myself unsure of where to begin.

I did a bit of cursory research on a good sci-fi starting point, and this book came up. I have to say, it looked promising - highly acclaimed and well known, with a plot that sounded fascinating.
A large group of qualified people are chosen to become the first colonists of Mars. The story follows their voyage through space, their first months on the red planet and how they adjust to life there, and the problems that inevitably arise as they continue to live and work there over the years.

This book was nothing like what I expected it to be.
The main focus of the plot was politics rather than colonization - endless, droning, tedious politics. If you think that it sounds difficult to make the lives of people on Mars boring, that was exactly my thinking as well. But as the book went on (and on), I soon realized that Robinson had found a way to make this marvelous storyline into just that.

The writing was dry and unfeeling, and to be honest this book was a chore to get through. I’m surprised that I managed to make it all the way to the end, though I did take an unusually long time to finish it.
At times, during brief descriptions of the landscape and sunsets of Mars, I felt a glimmer of interest. But these were usually over within a sentence or two, to return to politics.

My other big problem with Red Mars was the characters - who were dreadful.
They argue and quarrel over a great many things, all of them seeming to be matters that would have already been heavily planned for. Now that they are on Mars, carrying out the most expensive mission in history, the fate of such massively important decisions is to be left in the hands of two people whining and fighting?
It seemed very suspicious.

One of the characters to get the most attention was Maya, described as a virulent Russian beauty - made to seem a sort of femme fatale tigress. But I just couldn’t see it - sure, the author and the other characters can tell us that that’s who she is, but I didn’t feel like the actual character was written so strongly. She came across as more indecisive and ditzy to me.

There was some sort of very drawn out and unconvincing love triangle that never drew me in, and the sex scenes seemed ridiculous (a man describes a woman’s breasts as “magnets to his eyes,” for example).

At one point in the book, possibly in an attempt to explain to the reader why all of these characters were so whiny and awful, Robinson reveals that there was a personality test that they were all required to take before being accepted into the mission - but guess what? Every single one of them admits that they lied on it. In fact, they gleefully say that they answered every question the opposite of how they felt.
And so, here they are, squabbling and pouting their way around Mars.

I wanted so much to find an epic science fiction novel that brings to life another world and evolving culture. It’s out there - it’s just not this one. ( )
3 vote joririchardson | Jun 15, 2017 |
I came to this book looking for detailed description of the hardships associated with establishing a colony on Mars. I was looking for basically an extended Martian, but this book is all about politics. :(
  simonpratt | Jun 1, 2017 |
A striking vision of colonizing and terraforming Mars and the future of global capitalism on Earth too. An essential read if you're into space colonization fiction (I am). A few bits seemed excessive. It never felt like the character motivations for the murder were really justified. And working in extended lifespans seemed like a cheap way to have one group get to witness long-term planetary changes. Really the characters in the book just aren't as compelling as the worldbuilding. ( )
  DanCopulsky | May 5, 2017 |
I may have skimmed a lot of the sections on Martian geology, but I was pleasantly surprised by much of this book and will read the rest of the trilogy, but not all at once. ( )
  sirk.bronstad | Feb 16, 2017 |

Read it for the first time in 1993.

Going into this book 20 years later, the feeling I had was one of trepidation. Would the book have stood the test of time?

And the answer is: Unfortunately no.

One of the things that I've noticed almost from the onset was a huge dissonance (I don't remember spotting it 20 years earlier, but now I did): Why plan the mission without firmly establishing at least some sort of general idea about what sort of terraforming might be done?

I cannot imagine spending hundreds of billions of dollars to send Men to Mars without a proper plan in place. It was quite inconceivable more than 20 years ago, and it still is.

Also at times I had the impression that there were things Robinson just didn't want to bother to develop. The name of Underhill" pops up out of nowhere in the middle of a paragraph inside a chapter with no explanation at all. You'd think the naming of the first settlement would be somewhat more momentous.

It just doesn't seem like there was much of a story present at all.

Great swaths of the book consist of characters wandering around being lonely and accomplishing nothing, though it hardly feels like there's much character development to speak of.

hen they wait until after they arrive on Mars to have some big, nasty row about terraforming? Surely this would be an issue that would have been hammered out well in advance of anyone leaving orbit?

What about the fact that the 1st 100 settlers waited until arriving on Mars to start bickering? How could the 1st 100 have been chosen so badly?

The answer given is not convincing, ie, apparently everyone lied horribly during the recruitment phase because they wanted to get there... WTF??? What kind of behaviour assessments were given to this guys??

What about Maya? What was the purpose of including her thread in the book? It serves no purpose, except as the love triangle Boone/Chalmers/Maya.

The only redeeming fact about the book is the Science. For that 3 stars.

" ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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