Icehenge Paperback – May 15 1998
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Voted one of the best science fiction novels of the year in the 1985 Locus Poll, Icehenge is an early novel by Kim Stanley Robinson (author of the trilogy comprising Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) and takes place in the same universe. The story is part mystery and part psychological drama, divided into three distinct sections.
In the year 2248, Mars is ruled by a Politburo-like committee that actively discourages dissent as well as travel and exploration of other planets. Scientist Emma Weil becomes involved in a covert plot to convert a stolen ship into a self-supporting spaceship. She turns down a chance to accompany the starfarers, and returns to her beloved Mars where she joins the revolution already in progress.
Three centuries later, archaeologist Hjalmar Nederland unearths a governmental cover-up of the true facts behind the old revolution. At the same time, a Stonehenge-like monument is discovered on the north pole of Pluto, and Nederland sets out to prove his theory that the monument is connected to revolutionaries and their contemporaries who left for the stars. Seventy years later, his great-grandson Edmond Doya becomes convinced that Icehenge is a hoax, and attempts to disprove Nederland's theory.
In addition to futuristic issues such as interstellar travel and the terraforming of Mars, Robinson's characters grapple with politics, careers, families, and aging. Icehenge is a worthy introduction to the author's winning combination of hard science and believable characterization. --Bonnie Bouman
“Unforgettable.” ―The Baltimore Sun
“In a genre not often distinguished by strong characterization, Robinson is a welcome exception. Yet even the memorable community of his The Wild Shore did not prepare us for this brilliant triptych in which the monolithic artifact of the title and the events surrounding it are described and examined from widely different points of view. The distinct, personal voices of the narratives, as they construct and deconstruct their elegant theories, are a pleasure rare in SF.” ―Publishers WeeklySee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Icehenge is a story set in three parts told by three connected people over several hundred years. Robinson seeks to take archaeology into the future to demonstrate that the provision of primary written evidence is inevitably biased and that written evidence of what we will do will become too distorted and too historically complex for our future generations to be in any better position to understand than our archaeological techniques can today.
The opener, narrated by Emma Weil tells of her unwitting participation in a somewhat idealistic attempt by the underground Mars Starship Association to set off for pastures new beyond our solar system. Her love affair is woven in as both a motivator and an explanation for the links between Weil and Davydov, giving us a story of a group of people determined to leave the solar system to colonize pastures new. Heavily influenced by the political situation on Mars at the time it culminates in Emma's return to Mars to be part of the uprising and final destruction of New Houston. A voyage in both the physical and mental sense, part I is intensely reflective and demonstrates the struggle between idealism and reality, between fact and perception.Read more ›
Capable of being read as either a simple who-dunnit, or as a serious piece of fiction with well-developed characters and interesting concepts, this novel deserves to be a classic. Good science fiction should present a future that seems plausible, in Icehenge it is hard not to believe that you are reading about a past that has already taken place, although not necessarily as the accounts describe.
Icehenge is a study in how archaeologists and other scientists try to explain a mysterious ring of monoliths found on Pluto. The novel is divided into three parts: an account that provides an initial explanation of the monument's creation, a story of the struggle of an archaeologist who discovers this account to have it believed, and a final voyage to the site to find out the truth. There is some very dry satire here, egos being ruffled, power games being played, and crank scientists raising "Atlantian" type explanations for everything. Along the way, the advances, and failures, of the society in which this is based are explored. Mars is run by a dictatorship which can no longer tell the difference between opposition and fraternization. People can live for ever, but at the cost of their memories and their sanity. History is written, and then rewritten, and then written again, depending not on the evidence but on the egos and powers of the day. This is an all too real future that Robinson explores in far more detail in the trilogy.
Robinson paints characters with detail and love, fleshing them out almost to the same degree as in his later novels.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A great story about an impossible consruct leads the main characters to search for the meaning behind it and the people that placed it there. An easy and speedy readPublished on Nov. 22 2011 by fastreader
This is a fantastic book by an excellent author. Icehenge gives you the journals of three individuals all somehow connected with a mysterious monolith on Pluto. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2003 by Andrew J. Porwitzky
If I hadn't already read KSR's Mars Trilogy, I'm not sure I would have liked this book much. This book was written 10 years before Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars were published, but... Read morePublished on March 26 2002 by Robin C.
Kim Stanley Robinson debuted with this book and The Wild Shore practically in the same year, something that doesn't happen too often. Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2002 by Michael Battaglia
"Icehenge" is a great science fiction novel at a number of levels. On the surface it is a something of a mystery, namely, who put those ice megaliths on Pluto? Read morePublished on July 20 2001 by Edward Bosnar
My thoughts on Icehenge are difficult to gather - it's a gripping story, a page-turner. Page-turner-ness is an important criterion for any book to rated highly. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2000 by David J. Huber
This is one of Robinson`s best earlier works. Icehenge has a good story with memorable characters and events that lead to a good ending. Read morePublished on June 20 2000 by James Atkinson