Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Red MarsIn Earth’s near future, mankind finally starts serious exploration of the planet Mars. One hundred scientists, 50 men, 50 women, mainly from Russia and the United States, leave Earth forever to live on and study the planet Mars. They are the first Hundred. They include John Boone, the first man to step on Mars, and Frank Chalmers, Boone’s close friend before this trip commenced.
Saks Russell is the scientist that wants to terraform Mars. Anne is the scientist who wants to leave it as is so it can be fully studied before people can ruin it. Maya is the Russian astronaut and beauty who wants to be near power. Hirokomo wants to keep her farm and land close. Arkotti is the “mad Russian” who wants to start a new society on Mars, Earth powers be hanged. All want something different from Mars. Yet they each want the same, as well, the power to shape Mars’ future.
This saga starts with Boone’s assassination, then returns to the first Hundred’s flight to Mars. From there the tale is told in different books from different viewpoints. It is not only the story of the struggle of space and then the struggle of Mars, but the struggle of people against each other. They want to work together, yet have many different goals. Power over the group and the planet is the best way to meet their goals.
This books falls into the category of sweeping drama. It is an intense look at how mankind takes a new area and twists it to fit his needs. It is not many years after the first Hundred settle before more and more people are leaving the overcrowded Earth to come to Mars and get rich quick. The twenty-first century’s “gold rush fields” are on Mars. When a method is discovered by the scientists on the Red Planet that increase life’s longevity to an unknown time, the anger increases on Earth.
This book won a Nebula Award for Best Novel, and deserves it. It combines the scientific elements of believable science fiction with authentic human emotions and reactions. It is not a quick read, but is very absorbing. You won’t be wasting your time with this one.
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations