RED MARS. Paperback – 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
Robinson is gifted when it comes to characterization. There is an omniscient third person narrator, but each section focuses on a particular point-of-view character that sometimes subtly and sometimes drastically alters the way the story is told, depending on each character's interests and propensities. A scientist studying the changing planet, a politician dealing with an explosive political situation, and an idealistic and charismatic celebrity will all experience a shared series of events in very different ways, and Robinson gets this across with such finesse that you barely even realize he's doing it.
Robinson's Mars is a place that feels real. While scientific knowledge of the red planet has progressed over the last few decades and the science of his Mars is now somewhat out of date, he brings Mars to life at the same time as he describes his characters bringing life to Mars. Alien landscapes are not only effectively described, but Robinson helps the reader understand how and why these landscapes begin to shape the philosophies and behaviors of the colonists in the same way real Earth cultures are affected by their geography.
It's not a perfect book.Read more ›
This first book focuses on the first colonization of the planet imagined in the very near future in respect of our present, while the book was written back in 1993. Then it continues in a time span of several decades describing the beginning of a terraforming project.
On the one hand we see the usual optimism of this kind of science fiction to imagine an event of titanic proportions in a relatively short time, which will certainly be denied by the facts. Beyond that, you can hardly call this book a novel. Sure, there are characters and their stories, linked with each other, but from a narrative point of view it seems more like a series of episodes, shown from different points of views, giving us a choral narration, in which there isn't a true protagonist if not Mars itself.
The individual stories, however, appear to be just an excuse for the author's attempt to immerse himself in other fields, mostly scientific ones, although he often tends to lead to sociology, politics, and even psychology. The result is a book that tends to look more like a speculative treaty than a true novel. The characters suffer about that, thus ending up in the margins. Most of them are not making much to be loved. I admit that I had trouble to get fond to them. The only one I really liked is Frank, maybe because I have found him the most human one, with his virtues and especially with his flaws. Too bad he was then hit by the karma of some too politically correct American stories, according to which, if you do something reprehensible, and at the end you have to pay somehow.Read more ›
Equally, I am astonished by Robinson's command of geology, meteorology, thermodynamics, and even economics. The details read well and ring true. For years, I wondered why no one had covered this sort of project in detail: terraformation, colonization, expansion. Most writers seem satisfied to take these things as read. Robinson shows what a great literary work a little delving (okay, a whole lot of delving) can produce.
On the down side, the details occasionally get in his way. In particular, I found three details more than a little discomfiting.
First, in the personna of Michel, Robinson outlines his personal psychometry of personalities. In doing so, he provides both an oversimplification of human character and an unwelcome glimpse at Robinson's methodology for building characters. Like sausage-making and legislation, perhaps this process would have been better left unexamined.
Second, I think the abundance of water in the substrate of Robinson's Mars is more than a tad optimistic. I realize that having to bring in water ice from the asteroid belt and Saturn's rings would have slowed the development quite a bit, but considering what a wealth of story Robinson typically finds in the details, I think this obstacle would have made for even more excellent writing opportunities.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The ideas are fantastic. The characters are, mostly, believable. Robinson has an easy facility with words many SF writers lack. Read morePublished 16 days ago by KindleNerd
Endless and tedious descriptions of imaginary landscapes and geology. Utterly implausible "just so" stories of technical and scientific advances that appear on demand and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by ca1879
Excellent book. One of the best sci-fi novels out there. Good writing and interesting characters make this a really good read.Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Pretty good, creative but some of the characters were flat - responding typically. I will definitely read the rest in the series.Published 22 months ago by NC in Ottawa
Great research and discription went into this book really enjoyed it. The story on both Mars and discussion on what is happening on Earth are quite realistic. Read morePublished on May 23 2013 by Diego Garzon
There are lots of stories of meetings with strange alien creatures, and battles in space, etc.
This is not one of those books. Read more
This whole series: RED, GREEN and BLUE, fully explores Mars like we wish we could, but can't afford. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2012 by fastreader
If you want a good book about Mars, try "Mars" by Ben Bova. This book is not entertaining. I stopped halfway through it, not something I do often.Published on May 6 2010 by Eric Cote