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The Martian Race Hardcover – 31 Dec 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (31 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780446526333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446526333
  • ASIN: 0446526339
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,450,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Esteemed Mars guru Bob Zubrin calls The Martian Race "one of the finest novels about human exploration of the Red Planet ever written." But then again, Bob is a character in the book (albeit in the briefest of cameos), so what else could he possibly say? That notwithstanding, Zubrin's right--he couldn't have picked a better book to show his face in. By popular assent, The Martian Race deserves top honours among the millennial wave of Mars exploration tales, propelled as it is by the skilful storytelling of physics doyen Gregory Benford, a Campbell and two-time Nebula winner.

Martian Race is near-future SF, set in the twenty-teens (just before Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars saga kicks off), which may contribute to its being a bit of a slow starter; this is realistic, nuts-and-bolts speculation on a mission using pretty basic technology. But the pace picks up considerably as our heroes--the likeable Julia and her Russky hubby Viktorand crew, backed by the Mars Consortium and its biotech billionaire CEO John Axelrod--begin to duke it out with a Euro-Sino concern to claim the $30 billion Mars Prize and, of course, get back from the Red Planet in one piece. Benford's work throughout is engaging and thorough, exploring every aspect of why we should make this trip at all (and even a few arguments against it, like Mars Bar marketing tie-ins). --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Esteemed Mars guru Bob Zubrin calls The Martian Race "one of the finest novels about human exploration of the Red Planet ever written." But then again, Bob is a character in the book (albeit in the briefest of cameos), so what else could he possibly say? That notwithstanding, Zubrin's right--he couldn't have picked a better book to show his face in. By popular assent, The Martian Race deserves top honours among the millennial wave of Mars exploration tales, propelled as it is by the skilful storytelling of physics doyen Gregory Benford, a Campbell and two-time Nebula winner. Martian Race is near-future SF, set in the twenty-teens (just before Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars saga kicks off), which may contribute to its being a bit of a slow starter; this is realistic, nuts-and-bolts speculation on a mission using pretty basic technology. But the pace picks up considerably as our heroes--the likeable Julia and her Russky hubby Viktorand crew, backed by the Mars Consortium and its biotech billionaire CEO John Axelrod--begin to duke it out with a Euro-Sino concern to claim the $30 billion Mars Prize and, of course, get back from the Red Planet in one piece. Benford's work throughout is engaging and thorough, exploring every aspect of why we should make this trip at all (and even a few arguments against it, like Mars Bar marketing tie-ins). --Paul Hughes, AMAZON.CO.UK (`...writes with verve and insight not only about black holes and cosmic strings but about human desires and fears')

#NAME? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 May 2000
Format: Paperback
I'd better begin by saying I am a Gregory Benford addict. In view of this and my engineering background: I found the technical details precise and believable, the description of Mars and her environs beautifully written. Nevertheless, the personal interactions between Tycoon and Astronauts fell down somewhat from the beginning as did the corresponding spats with the Airbus crew. This is unusual for me as Benford often excels with human interaction. However, this does not hold up the plot machinations or hinder the book in any serious way.
Overall, the story is extremely compelling - and the science even more so - and I would rate it as one of the best Mars books so far. Sorry to give you only 4 Greg......
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Benford is a director of The Mars Society, an organisation set up by Robert Zubrin in 1998, just a year before this book was published and two years after Zubrin published "The Case for Mars". In that non-fiction work (which I recommend) Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, sets out why he thinks government-backed space agencies will never make any more meaningful moves for manned flight beyond low Earth orbit, why manned flight to Mars and beyond is essential, and then shows how it can be done using existing technology for not much money. When I read Zubrin's book, I was enthralled and was immediately convinced by his arguments. Benford obviously was too, because as well as serving on the board of the Mars Society, he uses Zubrin's "Mars Direct" mission design in this near-future fiction.

What Benford wrote as fiction is becoming fact: the X-Prize, for the first private organisation to demonstrate a reusable manned sub-orbital spacecraft was won in 2004; we are on the cusp of private manned orbital space flight (SpaceX's Dragon capsule passed all the necessary tests less than a month before I read The Martian Race); and there is even a proposal for a manned Mars mission funded by, believe it or not, advertising and "reality" TV. The Martian Race's mission really is funded by investors hoping to recoup their capital investment by winning a prize, and making a profit and meeting operating costs through advertising and TV rights.

So on the large scale, Benford's "fictional" world isn't just believable, it's true. On the smaller scale he also does well. It's full of the little details that make a world not just believable but real, as if you can touch it: little things like the danger of frostbite in your toes when standing on the Martian surface.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seems a highly plausible plot with excellent NASA based research for authenticity.
My only criticism would be the foul language of the hero which got tiresome very quickly.
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By Wirecutter on 24 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written a long time ago, but each report back from the Red planet is closer to the story line
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By simonjgarrett@hotmail.com on 30 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
. . .I thought something exiting was going to happen but it was just a blob of stuff wiggling around. Okay, so finding life on Mars (oops, but then you thought that would be in the plot anyway right?) would be exiting, but this novel singularly fails to convey any such drama. In fact Robert Zubrin's book oulining the technical basis for how this type of exploration might be feasible (The Case for Mars) is way more interesting and is not cluttered up with clunky stereotypes crunching about in the red dust bothering us with their mundane introspections. And I don't believe astronauts are this dull either, or that a Russian with the level of training and technical expertise portrayed here couldn't get his head around English grammer. And the cartoony mogul pulling the strings on earth is Bond-film implausible. There is a 'dashed off' feel to the whole thing, which is a shame because the science is good enough to support a really compelling drama. Maybe I should write it . . .
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