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Red Mars [Hardcover]

Kim Stanley Robinson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1993
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 Toitavna, 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 and 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 planets 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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Spectra (Feb 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553092049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553092042
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson has won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. He is the author of over twenty previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the highly acclaimed FORTY SIGNS OF RAIN. He lives in Davis, California.

Product Description


‘Red Mars is the ultimate in future history’
Daily Mail

‘One of the finest works of American sf’
Times Literary Supplement

‘Absorbing, impressive, fascinating… Utterly plausible’
Financial Times

‘Red Mars may simply be the best novel ever written about Mars’

‘A staggering book. The best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written.’
Arthur C Clarke

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Mars – the barren, forbidding planet that epitomises mankind’s dreams of space conquest.

From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists – hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert – 'Red Mars' is the story of a new genesis. It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot on the red planet, factions are forming, tensions are rising and violence is brewing … for civilization can be very uncivilized.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Epic 15 Aug 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first volume of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is absolutely magnificent. This is a book for non-SciFi readers, as well as SciFi fans: the subject matter is wide-ranging and the book kept my interest throughout.
In some ways it struck me as a 21st Century version of what it must have been like for the early colonisers in the United States.
The book is beautifully written, a pleasure to read, and manages to get inside the heads of the main characters without falling into the Dickensian trap of too much description and not enough action.
I read it cover to cover in under a week and had to buy the second book the day I finished the first one.
I would put this in my list of all-time best reads, and for me that is saying something!
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book(s) EVER... end of. 20 Dec 2005
"Red Mars" in particular, and the remainder of the trilogy as a whole are quite simply the best novels I have ever read. Ever. And I have read quite a few, s/f or otherwise. I recommend this to everybody, whether they like science-fiction or not.
It starts out, as an epic soap-opera - for want of a better description - about a group of 100 carefully chosen scientists, sent on their way to establish the first permanent colony on another planet, and all their curious personal interactions. Halfway there, they decide - as one might expect to happen - if they are to start a completely new civilisation, why should they be controlled from another planet, and do everything in accordance with NASA protocol. There begins the rebellion, which - a couple of tens of thousands of new colonists later - develops into a guerilla war for the control and sovereignty of our second home.
Kim Stanley Robinson likes to set up interesting little philosophical arguments between the main characters (as in "The Years of Rice & Salt", also an excellent book), and thus we see the continual disagreement between those who believe we have a duty as intelligent space-faring beings to spread life wherever there is none, and those who believe there is intrinsic value in a barren but untouched landscape, and that it should be left well alone.
All the characters are very well thought-out and developed (Sax being my favourite), and with a few notably exceptions, all of the technology the author proposes is very "near-future".
I have no idea what was going through the minds of the people who gave this book "1 Star". They should probably tackle something less challenging first, like one of Enid Blyton's epics.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the classics 24 Aug 2002
This is one of the classics of modern SF. Strangely, though, there's very little literal science fiction in there. Apart from one gimmick later on, almost all of the science in this book we could do today. And therefore the story ends up being much more about the people and the politics. When I put it down, I was struck by two thoughts. Firstly that it's very easy to forget that Robinson has never actually been to Mars to research it, since the detail is so great. And second, that when we colonise Mars, this is exactly how we'll mess it up.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Kim Stanley Robinson's epic Mars Trilogy chronicles humanity's colonisation of Mars, beginning in the early 21st Century and extending over a period of some two centuries. The first book, which covers a period of some forty years, sees the initial settling of Mars by the First Hundred, the welcome arrival of additional waves of colonists intent on scientific research and then the more challenging problems of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of economic migrants, refugees and outcasts on a world that is not ready for them, and the resulting tensions between the newcomers and old-timers, and between the authorities on Mars and Earth.

The success of the trilogy as a whole is debatable, but this first volume, at least, is a masterpiece. Robinson's story rotates through a number of POV characters amongst the initial settlers, the First Hundred, and it rapidly becomes clear that most of them are somewhat unreliable narrators. Maya's complaints in her own POV of her 'important problems' being ignored by the base psychiatrist are given another perspective in her friend Nadia's POV, which reveals Maya is more interested in a trivial love triangle between herself and two Americans rather than in the colonisation of Mars, whilst the psychiatrist Michel's POV reveals that he is giving Maya colossal amounts of time and attention (to the detriment of his own mental health) which is unappreciated. Character is thus built up in layers, from both internal viewpoints and external sources, making these central characters very well-realised (although characters outside the central coterie can be a little on the thin side).

However, it is Mars itself which is the central figure of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into human interaction 25 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Red Mars gives an insightful view of true human nature, from different perspectives portrayed with the different characters in the book. The interaction between the characters is written superbly, with the prose giving use an idea of what people would go through if they were the only hundred people on a new planet. The interactions could be likend to the classic "Lord of the Flies", and perhaps the setting too. It gives an excellent account of what life would be like on Mars.
From the first paragraph of the book it draws you in developing the characters that you start to empathise with, seeing their points of view, feeling what they would in that situation. Robinson conveys the sense of 'being there'.
It's fantastic sci-fi too, with great attention to detail to create a beleiveable world for the first hundred to live in. From the account of the trip to Mars to the final chapters in the city, you get a very real sense of the near-future and what it contains.
When you finish it, you get the sense of having completed a great journey and, with the following Green and Blue Mars books, beginning something else. If you read it just for the sci-fi, you're missing the point.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A cracking read. I can highly recomend all three books.
Published 1 day ago by peter friend
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It grows on you. Which is just as well it is a long read
Published 1 month ago by G E Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in scientific speculation, at times an excessive one
The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is without a doubt a must for anyone who loves to read or write about this planet. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anakina
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't hold my attention
Though not crushingly awful, I really can't see the appeal of this book. My main criticism is that the characters never came to life, so ultimately I couldn't care what happened to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Brockis
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Lots of detailed science , as well as a good narrative , have bought the second part too, not a " light" read for me
Published 2 months ago by martin currie
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic space story
Beautifully told and thoroughly enjoyable to read. An Amazing insight in to the future of humanity, and the psychology of man
Published 2 months ago by Bobby-mox
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best read I've ever experienced
I loved this book, and the follow up Green Mars and Blue Mars. I would recommend the series, and Red Mars in particular, to everyone. Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. P. Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Book
I'm a bit conflicted about this trilogy. On one level it is a brilliant sci-fi epic with subtle characterisation and acres of excellent plot and fascinating science. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Craybut
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are these not a big tv show?
These could be as big as game of thrones on TV! This first book in the series got me so hooked that two days into reading it I ordered the next two in the series. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mad Saint Uden
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic and epic sci-fi
Seriously in depth, massively involved, intriguing and excellent in even measure. Re-reading this as an adult, and several years on, the sci-fi still seems future forward, and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by djf
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