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3.9 out of 5 stars
Red Mars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mars is the new frontier. Trillions of dollars will be needed. Hundreds of years will pass. And it'll take 2000 pages to get there, but one day we will make Mars habitable. Business backing will diminish. Human interest will wane. Political in-fighting will tarnish the plan. Rebels will fight for independence. But slowly the planet will cease to be red and become green and then later it will turn blue.

This is good old-fashioned Hard sf. It has lots of science, all believable. And lots of characters, all indistinguishable. Robinson spent a huge amount of time researching this trilogy. Unlike most authors who use their research as a backdrop to their tale, Robinson is determined to ram all his knowledge down your throat. No detail is too small, no fact too irrelevant. He's spent years finding out how to terrraform Mars and he's going to make sure you spend years reading about it. But the massive amount of information finally breaks down your defences and you have to give in and accept it. The drawback, as with Robinson's other novels, is his turgid prose style. He has the knack of making the most exciting of scenes feel lugubrious.

If you can get past the dullness that Robinson is determined to invoke, there's a lot to get involved with. If we ever do terraform Mars, I can't believe anyone would have the courage to do it in any other way than the way Robinson has deemed it must be done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 April 2013
Having had this series of books in paperback for some years I was delighted to see that they have (eventually!) been release on Kindle. I nervously purchased them as sometimes publishers, in their rush to get their products converted to e-format in order to cash in on the success that Kindle has been, release such products without proof-reading them first. However, no such worries here as the publisher has done a vary good job of the conversion and I had no proplems at all with it.

This is a fascinating story of man's first venture to Mars with the view of populating it. The book starts off a little ahead of this feat but then goes back to the training astronauts had, their journey to Mars and subsequent landing and building. It's a novel of (quite believable) science fiction, relationships, economy, politics, ethnicity, sabotage and intrigue.

I find it's a book you need to really settle into and to read carefully as there is so much there that you might miss something. A book that each time you read it you realise something new.

Thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next two books in the series (on Kindle):
Green Mars (Voyager Classics) and Blue Mars (Voyager Classics)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2010
This is the first volume of a trilogy which is most definitely not for the faint hearted. I read the three books while recovering from surgery, and would recommend them only to SF fans in a similarly compromised situation.

This first volume might alternatively be called 'False Start on Mars'. It follows the first Martian colonists from their selection back on Earth to the point where all the work they, and subsequent Martian settlers, have done is smashed up in a revolution. Thus the story changes tone dramatically in its course: from something reminiscent of an Enid Blyton school story to something resembling the Book of Revelations.

Running through this big story is a smaller one of the rivalry between two men with a similar vision for Mars but very different styles, and the woman who must choose between them. One interesting quirk of the narrative is that each chapter has a different central character, so the reader gets to see the situation from a multiplicity of different perspectives. The characters themselves feel more like representations of ideas rather than representations of real complex human beings, but this weakness is amply compensated for by the surprises contained in the plot, and is indeed in the tradition of mythology.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 31 October 2006
`Red Mars' is the first in Kim Stanley Robinson's massive trilogy of Martian colonisation, with this novel taking the story from the first one hundred colonists as they travel to Mars and begin to make the planet habitable, to the ultimate violent revolution of the colonists against the transnational corporations who want to exploit the planet for Earth. This is a novel based firmly on current scientific knowledge, so those expecting a more exotic science fiction outing will best look elsewhere, but despite its occasionally slow pace this is an intriguing speculation on how the colonisation of Mars could occur. Probably the most impressive aspect of Red Mars is that despite its obvious hard-sf nature Robinson works hard to put the characters at the forefront of the story. Occasionally heavy-going, but for those who appreciate serious science fiction this is an intelligent and interesting examination of the clash between preservation and terraforming, capitalist exploitation and colonisation. Good stuff - just don't expect any bug-eyed aliens!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2000
Whilst several of the characters seen throughout this novel are horrendously stereotypical, -the visionary American, the manipulative, beautiful Russian woman, the untrustworthy... and so on, it does occasionally offer interesting and worthwhile character interaction which leads to original and at times fascinating situations.
However, -the major problem undoubtedly lies with the excessive length of the novel, -and certainly during the middle 200 or so pages the plot drags tediously and unprofitably.
Personally, I'd say this book exhibited all the traits of a potentially successful sci-fi novel, but, alas, manages to submerge all the enjoyable bits in a multitude of unnecessary text and description.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2013
Having now read all three in the trilogy I would say that they are a worthy effort, firmly in the tradition of Azimov and Clarke (in their more epic modes) - but for me slightly let down by a lack of editing. Rather too much geology and geography, both repeated in lengthy chunks throughout the storyline. The plot and characters are excellent, truly well thought out and developed; witness the fact that I did read all three books, but I did have to skim read a bit too much for my liking. I don't mind at all to read beautiful and imaginative descriptive passages, but in all three books I really felt there was just too much of it... and it did disrupt the flow of the story in a way you would never find in the likes of classic Azimov (Foundation trilogy for example). Nevertheless, this quality of 'serious' science fiction is rare these days and this Mars trilogy still well deserving of the four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2009
Kim Stanley Robinson's RED MARS is arguably one of the best hard Sci-Fi novels ever written. The scientific detail is part of the beauty of serious speculative Science Fiction. But to be fair this is not a novel for an intellectual light weight or if someone just wants a bit of mind numbing rubbish to kill a Sunday afternoon. But if you have a love of science and the truth. And if you care about the future and enjoy a story with a huge sweeping vista and some first rate and very timely speculation on how humanity might be able to use our amazing scientific achievements to save ourselves you will most likely love the brilliant Kim Stanley Robinson's RED MARS - the first in the trilogy (Green Mars and Blue Mars follow) that tells the epic saga of the generations of the near-ish future who terraform Mars. Kim Stanley Robinson's RED MARS - do yourself a favour and buy a copy now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2012
I set out to read this book mostly at random. At first, given the name, I thought I'd find a cold war - based book about communism and western capitalism clashing on Mars, and didn't expect too much. I was very positively surprised! This is an erudite book in every respect, with brilliant social insights and plenty of political polemic grounded in a hard science setting. I was especially impressed with the way the narrative switches from one subjective viewpoint to another, revealing different views of the main actors. The book is relentlessly surprising, going from intimate personal reflections to psychological theories, complete with diagrams, to analyses of small-scale societies trying to find economic and political models to work under in a decidedly non-terrestrial environment. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2000
Absolutely fantastic, gripping storytelling, and enough hard science to last you for a long, long time. Sure, it's long, but it's definetly worth every page. K.S. Robinson really included every possible aspect of the future colonisation of Mars, right down to the nitty-gritty formation of a totally new government (how do you do that, anyway?), the sociology, the biology, the technology, the eternal clash between the Terraformers and the anti-Terraformers etc etc etc...
Massive, epic, monumental work. Sure, having the same characters span three books of over eight hundred pages each might get a bit tiresome by the end, but then, they're always evolving, too, as time goes on. It's required reading for anyone interested in close-to-home science fiction!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2007
Perhaps THE finest science fiction book I have ever read, and believe me I have read a lot of them. I am an avid sci-fi reader, having read anything from Star Trek & Star Wars to classics like Asimov, Clark & Herbert, to Philip K. Dick, Iain Banks, Ursula Le Guin, Orson Scott Card, William Gibson etc etc etc... In all of these books I have found something to thrill my imagination. However, all of these authors usually emphasise one aspect of sci-fi, be it science, technology, philosophy, ethics, or simply genuine space opera with grand battles & laser guns. Nowhere have I found all of the above elements equally balanced. Robinson manages to create an account of a future Martian exploration that is simply breath-taking, both in conception and in execution.

Red Mars explores all posible aspects of a full-blown attempt to colonise Mars. Based on a solid, detailed & completely realistic account of the science and technology necessary for humans to colonise & terraform a new hostile world, Robinson goes on to explore the ethical, business, political, economical, religious and of course personal aspects of such an effort. What is amazing is that he manages to mesh everything into a coherent, albeit complicated, total, so much like real life itself that one cannot help but believe that once we decide to travel to Mars, that's how we are going to do it.

And he manages to do that without losing the human aspect! There are people among the First Hundred that we feel could live next door. Yes, they are brilliant scientists & cosmonauts, especially gifted and carefully selected, but they are also human like you & me, they have weaknesses, feelings, allegiances, preferences, agendas both obvious & hidden.... My personal favorites were Arkady, Nadia and Hiroko, but I loved the portrayal of each and every one of the characters, both good & evil.

I could go on writing pages, but I actually need only one word. The book is simply A MASTERPIECE. Read it, and then read it again (as I did). Because every time you read it, you will find something new to make you think, to make you laugh, to make you dream. Just read it.
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