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
"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)
I love this genre. Loved Ben Bova's story of Mars. Bought this because it was a Nebula Award winner. Must be good, right? This story went nowhere. It was a longwinded description of people living on Mars. Nothing much happened, except for a little anti-terraforming plot that was anti-climactic. There wasn't even much in the way of character development in all those hours of nothing.
The narration was great. The story can drag a little at times and its a lot like reading several books as once as the story is told from the perspective of many different characters. It can be difficult to keep going through some parts as the character of focus can be one you don't feel great about. Overall it was a great read if you are interested in Mars and space and more grounded sci-fi.
When I read the previous reviews of this book I thought twice about downloading, many of them criticised the narrator. A bad narrator can ruin even the greatest books. However I decided to download it and give it a try and it was fantastic. I really can't see what the other reviewers were talking about, the narrator was excellent. He manages to inject just the right amount of emotion into his performance without making it hammy, his characterisations were spot on, and his speed of delivery was perfect. I'll certainly be buying more from this narrator.
The story itself was exciting and thrilling, fast moving with just the right amount of tension and suspense. Part epic adventure, part colonial survival and part detective story, this was a great book. I'm just about to download the next instalment.
Very slow start but loved the end. Can't wait to listen to the next one. If you like hard science fiction then this is it.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
Red mars is a great piece of writing, which at times would have benefited by concentrating on a tighter timeframe.
Really enjoyed the story line and the creative approaches taken towards colonization etc...
Having said that... the narrator really killed it for me. The story was good enough to slog through the narrator. It really felt like he was reading it, instead of "telling" it, he also had some very odd pronunciation choices that persisted through the book and took me out of the story each time. Maybe i'm overly particular on that point, but I suggested this book to more that one person with the caveat that they should read it and avoid the audio production.
I note that it is highly rated by many people but I found it over-long with stereotypical characters one couldn't empathise with. The book is often commended for its well researched detail but the amount of detail acts as padding and gets in the way of the story - an encyclopaedia may have lots of well researched detail but that doesn't make it a good novel.
The books flits about from one (of the many characters) to another without going into depth and allowing you the chance to empathise. This makes their petty squabbles as to how the planet should be handled irrelevant to the reader. You never really get to understand the reasoning behind each characters stand point only their actions as to what they will do to protect their way of thinking. I also bought the sequels Green and Blue - and it doesn't get any better or more interesting.
Promised much but never delivered this book was so slow I gave up on it as not worth the time to listen
"Epic scope, pedestrian delivery"
Let's start with the positives: the audio production of this recording is excellent and the narrator is top notch.
The book itself is epic in scope and tells the story of the settlement and terraforming of Mars in great detail. As far as I can ascertain, the author's research is impeccable and the descriptions of Martian geography and scientific processes are inspired.
So, what's the problem?
Well, there's the length, and there's the pace of the story. Even if it were only half its current length, this would be a big book. To sustain such a long narrative, you would hope for interesting characters, lively prose and plenty of incident and excitement. Sadly, all of these ingredients are absent.
The story unfolds at a glacial pace and the author studiously avoids anything approaching adventure. There are storms, but everyone survives them without too much difficulty. There are many journeys, all of them long, during which little or nothing happens. A mystery is solved in a dull and perfuctory fashion.
Events do finally take a more interesting turn in the final third of the book, but even so, there is too little danger and too much talk.
The prose is functional and competent but nothing more. The characters are flat and two-dimensional and given to delivering set speeches on scientific and political topics. Many of the minor characters seem to be there solely to provide information dumps.
There is plenty of New Age philosophising and cross-cultural apologetics along the way, all of which is no doubt very worthy, but this listener soon tired of it and longed for something interesting to happen. Some sections of this book sound like an attempt at dramatising whole articles from Wikipedia.
So: a long book which is well read and which has some fascinating scientific detail, but which offers little in the way of excitement or interesting characterisation.
I love science fiction, but I'm afraid that I found 'Red Mars' very dull.
"I'd rather read an encyclopedia"
As a young boy I loved reading about the solar system and looking at the beautiful pictures in encyclopedias. Some time ago I was recommended this series by a fellow researcher and I have to say that this book and series is disappointing.
The book is stilted and plods, there is no real sense of drama or dynamism. You also never really get a sense of the scene being properly set, there are lots of place names thrown about but little or no descriptive writing that makes you feel anything about the place.
This also extends to the characters, I couldn't feel anything really positive towards any of them, I frequently found myself thinking so what? They all seem to be petty, small minded and a little annoying or otherwise bland stereotypes.
Getting through the book was very arduous and painful - even just listening. I have listened to the whole series and they don't get better. The book and series promised lots and delivered very little.
Bland and uninspired.
"no real story, shame"
sadly the hype was not lived up to, all I could handle was a few chapters, slow and tedious :-(
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