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RED MARS [Paperback]

Kim Stanley Robinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 1993
John Boone, Maya Toitovna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars in order to release Martian moisture into their desolate atmosphere.

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From Amazon

Red Mars opens with a tragic murder, an event that becomes the focal point for the surviving characters and the turning point in a long intrigue that pits idealistic Mars colonists against a desperately overpopulated Earth, radical political groups of all stripes against each other, and the interests of transnational corporations against the dreams of the pioneers.

This is a vast book: a chronicle of the exploration of Mars with some of the most engaging, vivid, and human characters in recent science fiction. Robinson fantasizes brilliantly about the science of terraforming a hostile world, analyzes the socio-economic forces that propel and attempt to control real interplanetary colonization, and imagines the diverse reactions that humanity would have to the dead, red planet.

Red Mars is so magnificent a story, you will want to move on to Blue Mars and Green Mars. But this first, most beautiful book is definitely the best of the three. Readers new to Robinson may want to follow up with some other books that take place in the colonized solar system of the future: either his earlier (less polished but more carefree) The Memory of Whiteness and Icehenge, or 1998's Antarctica. --L. Blunt Jackson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The first installment in Robinson's ( Blind Geometer ) new trilogy is an action-packed and thoughtful tale of the exploration and settlement of Mars--riven by both personal and ideological conflicts--in the early 21st century. The official leaders of the "first hundred" (initial party of settlers) are American Frank Chalmers and Russian Maya Katarina Toitova, but subgroups break out under the informal guidance of popular favorites like the ebullient Arkady Nikoleyevich Bogdanov, who sets up a base on one of Mars's moons, and the enigmatic Hiroko, who establishes the planet's farm. As the group struggles to secure a foothold on the frigid, barren landscape, friction develops both on Mars and on Earth between those who advocate terraforming, or immediately altering Mars's natural environment to make it more habitable, and those who favor more study of the planet before changes are introduced. The success of the pioneers' venture brings additional settlers to Mars. All too soon, the first hundred find themselves outnumbered by newcomers and caught up in political problems as complex as any found on Earth.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked the concept, and was captivated almost immediately by the story. However, as the story progressed, the novel slowed down significantly, almost to a boring pace. There are several characters of which the story is told from their point of view, but the dry writing style makes it difficult to emphasize with any of the characters - the book feels too scientific and not fun. There is a dash of political intrigue built in which adds an extra layer, but I put this book down many times during my read (out of sheer boredom). If you're looking for good sci-fi, I'd probably start somewhere else.
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By Anakina
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is without a doubt a must for anyone who loves to read or write about this planet. Certainly it is a huge work from many points of view.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent May 18 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book. One of the best sci-fi novels out there. Good writing and interesting characters make this a really good read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars really a 3.5 star book April 2 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pretty good, creative but some of the characters were flat - responding typically. I will definitely read the rest in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read May 23 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. Although sci-fi the dates are not too far off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely solid science fiction March 13 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are lots of stories of meetings with strange alien creatures, and battles in space, etc.
This is not one of those books.
Red mars reads like high grade historic fiction, about the future.
The Book is strongly character driven, and manages to surprise without ever feeling planned or contrived. The descriptions are often long and heavy on science, so if you are hoping for a light read with action scenes etc try somewher else. If you are looking for a book that weaves togeather the lives of dozens of distinct and memorable characters, showing both their strengths and weaknesses and how the two are one and the same, with an accurate depiction of physics, history, biology and trust, then this is a book worth reading.
I swear the author must have had at least a dozen PhD's to write this thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kim Stanley Robinson Does Mars - RED Jan. 6 2012
By fastreader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This whole series: RED, GREEN and BLUE, fully explores Mars like we wish we could, but can't afford.

Character development as is usual with Kim Stanley Robinson is great as are the various scientific aspects of the books [you actually learn some actual science ].

Lots of adventure and excitement throughout make it an enjoyable read from start to finish. I've read this series twice now, IT'S THAT GOOD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars God and the devil in the details July 7 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kim Stanley Robinson does a masterful job of realizing a diverse array of characters, not the least of which is the planet itself. I found Ann and Frank exasperating, John and Nadia at times exhilirating and something of a disappointment, Sax and Hiroko equally inscrutable, and Maya making me wish someone would just slap her. I am astonished that anyone can keep track of so many personnae and keep their voices distinct.
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.
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