Red Mars

Robinson, Kim Stanley

Book - 1993
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Red 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.

Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1993
ISBN: 9780553560732
Branch Call Number: SF ROBINSON
Characteristics: 572 p. :,ill. ;,18 cm


From Library Staff

A thoughtful account of the colonization of Mars, with all the ideological and political struggles that are inevitable in such a bold endeavor.

100 hardy experts arrive attempt to make Mars habitable by releasing underground water and oxygen into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, they are divided over whether this is a step up in human evolution or an ecological crime.

Terraforming, then colonization, then... war? The first book in a classic, page-turning trilogy about the future of the human race.

From the critics

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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.

Jul 01, 2014
  • zipread rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

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.

Dec 05, 2013
  • mexicanadiense rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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.

Nov 23, 2012
  • CrispinatorN rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Aug 02, 2012
  • lexikeeler rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The research that must have gone into this book is incredible. It gives life to the science and beauty of Mars, as it is colonized. More importantly, the characters are great - capricious, self-interested, complex and distinct. In other words, human. Their relationships and voices drive the story. Excellent.

Sep 07, 2010
  • Librarymans rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great look at how the colonization of Mars might go. This first of a 3 book series looks at the early days of Mars colonization, the difficulties that the scientists and engineers must overcome in setting up settlements. From setting up terraforming projects to dealing with political machinations from Earth. A realistic book that puts the SCIENCE into science fiction.

Jul 10, 2008
  • lindeeana rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great science.


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