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Voyager Classics - Red Mars Paperback – 18 Jun 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New edition edition (18 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007115903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007115907
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,081,763 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

Review

‘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’
Interzone

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

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.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Russell Newton on 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
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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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Digital Fist on 20 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
"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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By ANDREW DAY on 24 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric le rouge on 16 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Red Mars is the first of a series of 3 books (..green and blue Mars). All of these totalize around 2500/3000 pages of real science fiction if I could say. The story gravitates around the 100 first humans to colonise the planet and their subsequent struggle to save it from earth's greedy exploitation.

For some reasons, Mars has always fascinated man's imagination. Probably because it is the most likely planet we will move next. Or is it because it could be our savior?

The series is lengthy and many people can find it boring which in some extent I could understand. Lets say if you dont like it after 200pages, you will probably not like it at all and struggle to finish the book. The books are relatively consistant in terms of rythm, style or content thus if few things anoy you, it is likely that you will suffer to read it.

For the rest of us who enjoy the Mars series, this is a monumental piece of work. i do not think the author is trying to show off his knowledge but rather wants us to open our eyes on the multi-science requirements for colonising a planet. Everything is in there: geology, climatology, sociology, ethics, revolutions and rebellions, racism, cold war legacy, politics, etc.

One of my favourite subject is the anti-ageing treatment that is commercialised few years after the initial landing. This creates havoc on earth. Imagine: Rich citizens only can access it while the remainder of the earth population is dying of hunger !
I never came across a book that asks so many questions regarding immortality: boredom, lost of memory, change of personality, polygamism, etc..

On the contrary, one of the criticism of the book is the way some characters are pictured.
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