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Mars (Hodder Great Reads) Paperback – 26 Jun 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (26 Jun 2008)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 034096099X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340960998
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A real space novel that predicts many of the problems that will confront the men and women who actually make the trip sometime around 2020' (James A. Michener)

'There used to be only one Mars and it belonged to Edgar Rice Burroughs . . . Now Ben Bova has landed, with a new pair of eyes, and Mars is brand new again' (Ray Bradbury)

'Extraordinary . . . MARS succeeds as scientific exploration, as adventure story, as a mythic tale' (Orson Scott Caird)

'a splendid book . . . of his many books, MARS must be the most important' (Arthur C. Clarke)

'Gripping, realistic - don't miss it' (Terry Brooks)

Book Description

The most prescient book about space travel ever written, now repackaged as a Great Read

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First Sentence
"Touchdown." It was said in Russian first and then immediately repeated in English. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 19 Dec 2004
Format: Paperback
Released during a period which saw a brief flourish of Mars-related releases, Bova's novel breaks no new ground, and invites inevitable comparison with Kim Stanley Robinson's infinitely superior 'Red Mars' published in the same year.
Bova's dual timeline structure - which returns to examine the former lives of various crew members - does little to add depth to the characterisations.
In fairness to Bova, the central character, Jamie Waterman, is an interesting creation; a geologist of Amerindian descent, whose parents have abandoned their roots in favour of a middle-class American lifestyle. Jamie has rediscovered his heritage through his grandfather and now has been selected to be part of the first team to set foot on Mars.
The science is well-researched, the political aspects are a clear and important part of the novel, but Bova fails in giving us any real feeling of Mars itself. On a first reading of Bova's 'Mars' one is left with nothing but the impression that it looks a little bit like New Mexico.
Had this novel been shorter, one might not be so critical, but in its 566 pages, much is redundant and other issues are dealt with peremptorily, such as the Jewish biologist Ilona Mater's reaction to the Russians.
Bova also, perhaps unintentionally, gives us rather caricatured characters from outside the US. The Austrian geologist - whom Jamie replaces on the mission - is depicted a sexist misogynist egomaniac. The English medical officer, Tony Reed, is initially a cowardly manipulator whose only aim seems to be to bed an unattainable female crewmember. He, in another Hallmark moment, ultimately faces his fears and saves the day.
The Russians are standard fictional Russians, efficient and humourless, but who display a more human face when disaster strikes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very well informed book that manages to avoid getting too bogged down in detail and is utterly believable as a result. I am far more interested in science fact than science fiction but Mars is a neat glimpse into the near future based on what we already know. One of the other reviewers seemed to think that the book painted a somewhat unambitious picture of Mars exploration - but I think that is precisely Bova's point, in striving for plausibility he creates a mission that is governed far more by politics than by science. An excellent read that I found difficult to put down. Also, contrary to the view of a previous reviewer, as a Mars expert myself I thought that this was by far the most accurate account of a mission to Mars I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "chrishyams" on 16 Aug 2000
Format: Paperback
Mars is Ben Bova's latest epic near-future sci-fi novel and, while not being his best work to date, is well worth a gander.
The plot has been done a thousand times before but never with as much attention to detail in terms of the requirements of such a huge mission itself, even down to the crew selection process. The characters are well-developed and are treated sympathetically, with the focus on last-minute crewman and geologist Jamie Waterman, of American Indian descent. Good to see a Russian in charge too !
However, Bova's insistence on continously dredging-up Waterman's Navaho past and his continous Mars-Arizona parallels does make the plot a little tedious at times. This aside, Bova is not overly-fantastical in his plotmaking although this is by no means a completely dull book, just a tad too slow-moving in parts.
Bova's Mars is perhaps crying out for a follow-up (he has recently written a similar epic about Venus) which could benefit from a faster-moving plot following the initial crew's ground-breaking discoveries.
Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a classic. An unputdownable page turner. I read it rather than going into work. I know little of space travel but couldn't care less if everything Bova wrote was totally inaccurate. The idea of a fictional novel is to establish its own world and its own set of principles. This novel is tuned to a perfectly believable pitch. And it's so real you feel as though you want to help fund the first manned mission to Mars, because you hope to God it'll be as thought provoking (and as exciting) as this is. From the moment Dr.Waterman cried out in Navajo to the collapse of the mission I was hooked. Give credit where credit is due - this is all that a good read should be.
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Format: Paperback
THE STORY:
An international team of scientists in assembled to travel to Mars in search of knowledge and, perhaps, life.
WHAT'S GOOD:
I found it easy to become engrossed in the passion and adventure of exploring a new world and could almost see the freezing red desert surface of Mars. This sense of adventure and discovery in very reminiscent of some of Arthur C. Clarke's books, particularly the 'Space Odyssey' series.
WHAT'S BAD:
The political and social interaction between the various governments and members of the crew seem very petty and dated. In particular I found the incessant references to Jaimie's redskin heritage a bit tiresome, the same going for several other members of the crew and their heritage. They all seem to look back at the past instead of looking to the future. Perhaps this was Bova's intent.
An excellent chance to explore a not-so-distant world and kindle the desire to explore in all of us.
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