Thinking person's sci fi. Literate and thoughtful. First of a series.
Too long. It's 23 hours.
Great story - we get to Mars but can't help but repeat the same mistakes we made on Earth. Very scientific - a manual for colonizing mars. But some of the science slows the story down just too much. The human story is the most interesting (in my opinion) and it was difficult to wait through long passages about how to mine water on Mars (for example).
I understand these books were praised by scientists for their scientific accuracy. Unfortunately, while I really do love science, these books get bogged down in details of both science and philosophy. Occasionally, there will be a plot point to move the story along. I often find that I've tuned out the details and then realize I just missed a plot point and had to rewind.
The narration is okay, but he doesn't do much to differentiate voices and sometimes his voice becomes annoying.
I don't really know why, but I'm listening to the second book. It is taking me much longer than usual to listen to this book. In truth, I listen to it as I'm falling asleep. I'm not sure if I'll go on to the third.
Now I'm wondering why I gave it 3 stars. I guess because the premise is good, and if it had been seriously edited, it may have been a good book and probably could have accommodated all three volumes of this trilogy.
Good well researched book about the colonization of Mars.
This book stands on its own as a fine work of science fiction.
I have no problems with the speaker he does a fine job. My eyes are such that reading is somewhat difficult for me so I wouldn't purchse the book in paper form.
The New World!
I started the book three times before I got the hang of it. The book starts off talking about 100 people going to Mars in 2026 then without warning (at least I didn't notice a warning) it jumps to a future date where there are five thousand people on Mars. The jump just occurs and if you're not prepared for it you'll be confused. After spending an hour or so in this future the book jumps back to 2026 for about 14 hours. At the end of that time your back in that future time that turns out to be sometime around 2056. I have about six hours to go and I'm looking forward to the next book of this trillogy - Green Mars.
Listening to this book, it took me a while to figure out why I wasn't enjoying it. Finally it hit me: the book itself was like listening to stories about my parents and their friends, and the narration was done by one of the friends I didn't especially like.
The stories of the people were all mildly self-congratulatory and full of information that was personal and didn't advance the story in any meaningful way. We learned a lot about petty squabbles among a couple of fairly uninteresting people, and were told peripherally about how smart the rest were to solve the difficulties presented to them by the Red Planet. There was a lot of interesting technical info about how the colonization of Mars could be accomplished, and some good info about how difficult the terraforming process would be. But the scientific projections of technology in the future wasn't enough to make up for a tedious, too-long story.
I'm a serious non-fan of the narration, too. There's a sort of sneering quality to his voice that I found grating. He's won a lot of awards for his narrations, so this is clearly a personal taste and not an objective thing. But there was no use of accents or different affectations for the characters, and they all kind of blended together.
I had high hopes for the Mars series, and was looking forward to going through the trilogy. But there's just not enough there to warrant slogging through another 2 books like this. Maybe one day I'll sit down and read them in physical form rather than listen to the audiobooks, but for now this is the end of the line for Mars and me.
Having suffered through all 24 hours or so of this, I am still at a loss to understand the point of it all. While I can appreciate that some are enthralled by the scientific aspects, a non-fiction book that laid out some of the theoretical science found in this book would have been more interesting than this jumble of confused politics, simplistic characters, and endless descriptions of landscapes (most of which all sound alike).
There is no real plot to speak of, a fatal flaw in a book purporting to be a novel. The characters are all nasty people, who seem to enjoy picking fights with others, and insulting other people. Their motivations are totally obscure - or maybe I just zoned out while listening, because I was bored.
I slogged through the entire thing, because I hoped that at some point, SOMETHING would happen...but it never did.
easily most boring SF novel I listened/read. No action, long tedious desriptions sometimes spiced up by lame erotica. I struggled to finish it. government website read is more fun.
I've liked this book, at least some parts of it. The scientific approach, the politics and some other stuff are great. These parts are dynamic, you love and hate the characters, you take part in the story. In the other side, there are some extremely boring parts with endless description of landscapes, travels and other very little interesting stuff. I've liked it, but I really wanted it to come to an end. Good narration.
More science than fiction. The fiction is just that we have actually gone to Mars. Very well read and it is captivating entertainment for those long hours behind the wheel.
I can understand why people don't like this book. It's not full of action, it doesn't open with lasers firring on spaceships, it takes time and goes through fantastic detail. I really could believe I was on mars. And the details are fantastic especially when you consider this book is 15 years old. Since the book was published we've had 3 rovers on mars, several more orbiters, etc.
The book follows the lives of the first people to land on mars as viewed from several individuals each in turn. Just as I was starting to get comfortable with that character he switches people and we start learning about someone new. I found it annoying at times.
If you wonder, could humans live on mars? How could we get there? What would it be like on mars? Then you will like this book. He explores not only the technical challenges but the political problems, emotional strains that anyone going to mars would face. If you want a thriller or action book, it's probably best to look elsewhere.