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Mars | [Ben Bova]

Mars

Half-Navajo geologist Jamie Waterman has been selected for the ground team of the first manned expedition to our mysterious neighbor planet. Joining an international team of astronauts and scientists, he endures the rigors of training, the dangers of traveling an incredible distance in space, the challenges of an alien landscape, and the personal and political conflicts that arise when the team must face the most shocking discovery of all.
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Publisher's Summary

This grand epic adventure from six-time Hugo Award - winning author Ben Bova tells the irresistible story of man's first mission to that great unconquered frontier, Mars. Technically plausible and compellingly human, Bova's story explores the political, scientific, and social repercussions of our greatest quest yet: the search for evidence of life beyond Earth's boundaries.

Half-Navajo geologist Jamie Waterman has been selected for the ground team of the first manned expedition to our mysterious neighbor planet. Joining an international team of astronauts and scientists, he endures the rigors of training, the dangers of traveling an incredible distance in space, the challenges of an alien landscape, and the personal and political conflicts that arise when the team must face the most shocking discovery of all.

Listen to Ben Bova's complete Mars trilogy, including the second book, Return to Mars, and the third book, Mars Life.

©1992 Ben Bova; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A bulging, impressive, all-you-ever-wanted-to-know, you-are-there Martian odyssey." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (498 )
5 star
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3.9 (287 )
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4.1 (289 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Erika MOORHEAD, MN, United States 03-31-14
    Erika MOORHEAD, MN, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Contemptable characters!"
    What was most disappointing about Ben Bova’s story?

    Only one of the characters was at all likable.


    Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favorite?

    Jamy


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Jamy's Grandfather and his strong belief and willingness to stand up for his Navaho upbringing were awesome.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pål Krakeroy, Norway 12-12-13
    Pål Krakeroy, Norway 12-12-13 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    32
    2
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    Story
    "A story about Mars - without a story"

    This is a story about an expedition to Mars. And thats it. No surprises, no plot twists, no major highlight or peak. Mild drama and depressingly obvious plot. And what is the deal with Bova's personal "dossiers"? Too lazy to write a story that encapsulates the backstory and eloquently describes the different characters - just write a "dossier".

    This book does not have a real ending ... mostly because it never gets started.

    A huge dissapointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    breckoz SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 11-27-13
    breckoz SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 11-27-13 Member Since 2011

    Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Trip To Mars"

    Mars by Ben Bova is about Earth's first manned mission to mars. The book was written in 1992 so it might be a little out of date. The main character, Jamie, Is half Native American and the story makes a big fuss about racism in America towards this culture. This book isn't my favorite of those that I have read so far from Ben Bova. The story went by very slow. Yet, Ben Bova is a good enough writer to keep me interested enough to listen to the whole thing. Just do not expect high amount of action. This has a more realistic feel and might be more similar to a real mars mission, not some Buck Rogers fantasy adventure. I found the characters likable. I think mainly this book could have used a nice editing job and a little more suspense. Overall, I am satisfied with this read and I will continue to buy Ben Bova's work. A bunch of other stand alone novels falls in the same time line as this one, so there is more to look forward to after this read if you like it. As to that, I can recommend Empire Builders.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jsakeo Upstate NY, USA 08-19-13
    jsakeo Upstate NY, USA 08-19-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "An intersting Take on What a Mars Mission Might Be"
    Would you listen to Mars again? Why?

    It wouldn't be on the top of my list to listen to again, but it was enjoyable.


    Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he did a great job on this one.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but it kept you interested in what was going to happen next.


    Any additional comments?

    Ended kind of abruptly. I thought there was more the author could have done with the end of the book. There were so many plot lines left hanging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tarike Ocala, FL, United States 07-18-13
    Tarike Ocala, FL, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
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    Story
    "The Backstory IS the story!"

    I've listened to several other books by Ben Bova, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, so I was pretty excited going into this new book. That excitement was quickly short lived when I realized that there was very little detail into the science-fiction aspect of the story. The technical jargon that I have come to expect from Bova was relatively absent. Not to mention that the first hour or so of the book is told through various characters, leaving no clear protagonist. I was slowly getting lost in my expectations of the book when right around the 1 hour mark, the protagonist introduces himself. It's done very surreptitiously, and you almost don't even notice it. However, once the leading character steps to the forefront of the story, that is when and where, the story comes to life!

    Well, not the story story, but the backstory. You know, the little nuiansces of events that have already happened, that provide a more comfortable atmosphere for the present tense......Well, not so much here. In a very short period of time, you come to the profound realization that the backstory is so much better than the story itself! Yes, it does make the present tense infinitely more interesting, but the backstory is filled with drama, anxiety, suspense, mystery, politics, and most importantly, the darker sides of human nature. Bova really does a superb job of getting you into the minds of alot of different people, spanning the globe in terms of cultures and habits, and what he shows you is quite intruiging.

    Stefan Rudnicki again does a good job in this audiobook with his wide range and his seemingly authentic accents.

    In the end, the backstory detailing the human side of the Mars expedition is more compelling than any technical detail!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 04-15-13
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 04-15-13 Member Since 2006

    Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid, but a little slow, dated, and unrealistic."

    A very enjoyable look at the political and scientific challenges involved in a program of exploration of Mars. Rudnicki is great, as always. He did a more than respectable job of voices and accents.

    Some of the technological references are dated and the characters take actions that I found a bit unlikely, but I enjoyed it overall. If you like your SciFi near-future and with predictable technology, then you will consider Mars to be time and credit well spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alessandro spinea, Italy 03-19-13
    Alessandro spinea, Italy 03-19-13
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Great Narrator,very good book."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Nice listening,worth every cent.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Ben Bova? Why or why not?

    of course i'll do,but i'll put some books in between.


    What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Stefan it's very very good,nothing to add.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    If steven spielberg or sodenbergh will do it,yes.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're looking for explosions and aliens or sci-fi high tech stuff coming to you every moment...let it go.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halethorpe, MD, United States 03-10-13
    David Halethorpe, MD, United States 03-10-13 Member Since 2010

    Indiscriminate Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mars or Bust!"

    Mars is Ben Bova's love letter to space exploration; it's a novel-length booster for a manned Mars program. A very well-conceived and engaging (in places) novel, you should not read it expecting it to be space opera or really, any kind of adventure aside from the inevitable dangers of flying to another planet. Mars stays strictly hard SF, so even when the possibility of life on Mars arises, you can be sure it won't come in the form of ancient cities and little red men, nor hazardous beasties who need to be shot or run from.

    The main character is Jamie Waterman, a half-Navajo geologist who is a member of the first Mars expedition. The expedition is a multinational effort, with astronauts and scientists from every country that could afford to chip in. Much of the drama in the book involves the politics of the mission — the Russians and the Americans jealously keep track of how many astronauts of each country get to join the landing party, the Japanese astronauts are hyper-conscious of how they are representing their country, and the promiscuous hottie who does every other man on the expedition deliberately drives the Russians crazy by not sleeping with them because Russians killed her grandfather fifty years ago. Meanwhile, back home the founder of the Mars project is trying to balance concerns for the mission (including the fact that his own daughter is one of the scientists on Mars) with satisfying the politicians, in whose hands rest the decision to send more Mars expeditions or not. There are politics in space and on the ground, along with dossiers on each character that add depth to their backgrounds so that we understand why each one behaves the way they do on the mission.

    That said, while the characters were each fleshed out and the story is compellingly plausible, with just enough hazards introduced to make the mission more than a long walk in space, it's a little spare as sci-fi goes. The major life-threatening situation that arises — a "Mars flu" that mysteriously afflicts everyone and stumps all the physicians trying to figure out its cause — has a clever forehead-smacking solution. There are hints of Martian life that don't really develop into much by the end of the book, though they are enough to whet the appetites of scientists, and readers of subsequent books in this series. There is some political intrigue between Jaimie Waterman, his ambitious journalist girlfriend back on Earth, and the opportunistic Vice President of the United States, each of them trying to get what they want from the other to advance their own agenda.

    An enjoyable if slightly dry hard SF novel that should certainly go on your "Mars or Bust!" reading list. 3.5 stars - good book, though not very exciting.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Clyde Valdosta, GA, United States 07-08-12
    Mr Clyde Valdosta, GA, United States 07-08-12
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    "Good sci Fi"

    To much Politics for me. Kind of ruined the story.Not bad - just not as good a sit could have been

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Lier, Belgium 10-05-11
    Alex Lier, Belgium 10-05-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome read"

    I was sucked into the story line right away and wasn't able to put it down once I got started. The narrator's performance was equally awesome, making every character come to life with each its own voice and accent. Sublime. I was so disappointed I reached the last chapter, just to find out there are two follow-on books. Made my day! Recommended A++.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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