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Red Mars -- Kim Stanely Robinson Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Monday, 26 January 2009
Red Mars is a semi-realistic story about colonization of Mars. It is classified as "hard sci-fi" since it is based on plausible science and technology. The story spends most of its time looking at the various characters and their interaction while the exploration and colonization of Mars is carried on as a backdrop to the drama. The plausibility of the endeavor is tantalizing in that it almost makes you believe that this sort of thing could happen in our lifetime or our children's lifetime.
This book has been considered one of the sci-fi top books since it was first written and so I have seen it prominently displayed on the shelves at most bookstores I visit. It has been at the top of my interest list for some time. A couple of months ago I saw the book at a used book sale and decided it was time to read it. Overall it was a good book. Parts of it were a bit hard to swallow and parts of it, particularly the strong secular humanism preaching, were just irritating. (Why is it that most science fiction authors feel that they need to promulgate that philosophy on the poor reader?)
The story structure is simple. Each major section extends the story by following the actions of a particular key character. This starts with the nine month trip from Earth to Mar and the establishment of the first habitations made out of tents. Early on there is evidence of strife and tension between the different personalities of these key characters. While the "first 100" -- those on the first ship to Mars -- have high hopes of avoiding the mistakes that mankind made on Earth, it is evident that they will not be able to. The problem is mankind, not the planet they are on.
By the end of the story things have become cataclysmic. Mars is literally exploding apart due to the instability man created on the planet. However, in the midst of all of the chaos, it is clear that a remnant will survive and the presence of humanity on Mars is established. Mars will never be the same.
There are two more books in the Mars series: Green Mars and Blue Mars. I'm not sure that the books are interesting enough that I will read the others in the series.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 November 2009 )

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