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Red Mars | [Kim Stanley Robinson]

Red Mars

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Red Mars is the first book in Kim Stanley Robinson's best-selling trilogy. Red Mars is praised by scientists for its detailed visions of future technology. It is also hailed by authors and critics for its vivid characters and dramatic conflicts.

For centuries, the red planet has enticed the people of Earth. Now an international group of scientists has colonized Mars. Leaving Earth forever, these 100 people have traveled nine months to reach their new home. This is the remarkable story of the world they create - and the hidden power struggles of those who want to control it.

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Red Mars is the first book in Kim Stanley Robinson's best-selling trilogy. Red Mars is praised by scientists for its detailed visions of future technology. It is also hailed by authors and critics for its vivid characters and dramatic conflicts.

For centuries, the red planet has enticed the people of Earth. Now an international group of scientists has colonized Mars. Leaving Earth forever, these 100 people have traveled nine months to reach their new home. This is the remarkable story of the world they create - and the hidden power struggles of those who want to control it.

Although it is fiction, Red Mars is based on years of research. As living spaces and greenhouses multiply, an astonishing panorama of our galactic future rises from the red dust. Through Richard Ferrone's narration, each scene is energized with the designs and dreams of the extraordinary pioneers.

©1993 Kim Stanley Robinson; (P)2000 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1993

"Generously blending hard science with canny insight into human strengths and weaknesses, this suspenseful sf saga should appeal to a wide range of readers." (Library Journal)
"The ultimate in future history." (Daily Mail)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1282 )
5 star
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3.8 (701 )
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3.9 (684 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Angela Knoxville, TN, USA 10-09-09
    Angela Knoxville, TN, USA 10-09-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A true masterpiece"

    Red Mars (and The Mars Trilogy in general) asks big questions: How can we start over and recreate society, taking out the bad stuff and saving the good stuff? Can we escape history and remake ourselves into something that overcomes oppression of women, slavery, racism, greed, militarism, environmental destructiveness? Can we turn our society into a means for giving every member of that society a chance to achieve his or her own potential? These are big questions; they can't be answered with bumper sticker slogans. It takes a lot of detail and careful, thoughtful discussion to address them. So while a lot happens in this series, it isn't Star Trek. Problems aren't easily resolved. Situations are never black and white. The characters change, grow, and even forget how they got to the present.

    For readers who like a lot of meat to chew over, these books are probably among the greatest written in the 20th century - obsessively researched, thickly layered with meaning and analysis; the whole series is something that you can listen to time and again, and hear something different every time. The characters are archetypes; even their names express who they are - but they are also real people, with real emotions, amazingly and skillfully brought to life. The issues discussed are both a comment on the present (and history) and, in the best tradition of science fiction, an analysis of future possibilities. I can't recommend the entire series more highly for the reader who enjoys this sort of thing. But be forewarned - there are bad reviews here, and I'm guessing they are from people who were looking for something different - lots of plot and action, perhaps a little less analysis. I enjoy those books too, so I'm not saying that as a criticism of those who didn't find this to their liking. I'm just saying that there are plenty of other books that fill this role. The Mars Trilogy is something else entirely.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathaniel BROOKLYN PARK, MN, United States 02-19-15
    Nathaniel BROOKLYN PARK, MN, United States 02-19-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Not the hard sci-fi I was hopoing for"

    ** spoiler alert ** I had been hoping for a hard sci-fi book when I started reading this, but didn't really get that. It has a combination of hard and soft sci-fi that didn't really work for me. I also find that I don't really like Rated R sex. It always seems like it's trying to be PG while really wanting to be XXX and so the love/sex scenes were really annoying. I would have been much happier with either PG or XXX. Also the time frame of the stories is hard to get as the characters have unnatural life spans, so even though about a hundred years have passed it really doesn't feel like that since most of the original characters are still around. I'm going to finish the series but only because I have it on audio. I really don't understand the hype that this series got.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill W. 06-29-14
    Bill W. 06-29-14
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    "A great book, but a poor reading"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I have read the book before and enjoyed listening to it as an Audiobook.


    What other book might you compare Red Mars to and why?

    There are a number of sci fi books that cover similar territory, such as Mars, Moving Mars, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Ferrone’s performances?

    I would look for other narrators before listening to another book read by Richard Ferrone. This book, with a large international cast of characters, calls for someone who could do at least basic accents to differentiate the characters. Ferrone doesn't attempt this. Even if you forgive that, he often puts emphasis in strange places that obfuscate the meaning of the words. He also clearly does not have a background in the sciences and much of his technical vocabulary is mispronounced. For a book with as much technical vocabulary as this, that gets really annoying.


    Do you think Red Mars needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It has one (Green Mars). It also as a prequel (Antarctica), which is unfortunately not available as an audio book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Shingle Springs, CA, USA 09-27-09
    Eric Shingle Springs, CA, USA 09-27-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Tedious"

    This is a very tedious book to read. No main characters or even character development. Everything the author started to develop a character they were killed off. There are a lot of blind alleys ... interesting things at the beginning of the book that I thought may be clues to the story but were never developed. Almost like this book is a bunch of bits & pieces of stories all loosely glued together.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 05-11-08
    Ryan 05-11-08

    Most of what I read is too serious or too long. I think that the more audiobooks you buy you might haveto admit that some are your favorite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I waited a long time"

    I don't mind admitting that there were parts that were slow/boring. There are parts that might never work as a movie. Is this the Lord of the rings of hard science fiction? Part of the apeal of this series is having a strong feeling of how much time has passed, making a possible future have a sense of history. It was an intellectual challenge but not a literary one. It was an exellent audiobook and I'm learning more than I ever did by reading with my eyes. thats why I'm here

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Br|hlGermany 09-01-09
    Tim Br|hlGermany 09-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well researched, needs work by a real writer"

    Some books are long for a reason. This isn't one of them. You could remove two thirds of the words from Red Mars without losing anything. The background of hard science is excellent and fascinating but Robinson can't write his way out of a paper bag. He can't create characters, can't do dialog, can't plot and writes love scenes like a 14-year-old. If it could be completely reworked by someone who can write this could be an excellent book.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Lino Lakes, MN, United States 10-01-13
    Phillip Lino Lakes, MN, United States 10-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Good story w/ outdated science"

    After reading several series focusing on sci fi war, it's nice to listen of a more mellow book heavy on science. There are only 3 issues with the series: (1) Richard Ferrone's performance is completely w/out emotion or conviction, it's like listening to someone reading the phone book; (2) the books show their age in outdated science; and (3) the Mars colony is founded in 2026, we won't land on Mars before 2050 at the rate we're going, and that really depresses me. Robinson never clearly never foresaw the bush years.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Encinitas, CA, United States 11-05-10
    Jan Encinitas, CA, United States 11-05-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious"

    Although there are some interesting descriptions in this book, they are WAY too long and get in the way of the story. I found the book so tedious, I simply didn't finish it, which is very rare for me.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Old Hippy PA 03-14-10
    Old Hippy PA 03-14-10 Member Since 2013
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    "Most boring SciFi I've ever read ...."

    Would give this zero stars if allowed. I lasted about 6 hours, and couldn't take it anymore. It starts off with the protagonist setting up and observing the killing of his "friend" and de facto leader of the colony. Then reverts back to before they left for Mars and drags you through hours and hours of tedium (and adolescent sex drives) while on the flight out. The protagonist (Frank) is a self-centered, unlikeable sort. The dead guy is actually quite a good fellow. So, where do you go with this? The author goes nowhere. Finally, I started skipping forward hour by hour to see if things pick up, but it just crawls on with more of the same. It would appear the only thing going on of any note are the various political struggles. The author seems incapable of making you give a red rat's rear about any of it. Save yourself (and a credit) while you can.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Aurora, CO, USA 08-10-09
    Brandon Aurora, CO, USA 08-10-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "slow"

    I am sure the book is good, But it is slow. A lot of intricate details that do not add to the story.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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