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The Empress of Mars | [Kage Baker]

The Empress of Mars

When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet - only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars. Mary Griffith and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.
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Publisher's Summary

When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet - only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars.

This is the story of Mary Griffith, a determined woman with three daughters, who opened the only place to buy a beer on the Tharsis Bulge. It's also the story of Manco Inca, whose attempt to terraform Mars brought a new goddess vividly to life; of Stanford Crosley, con man extraordinaire; of Ottorino Vespucci, space cowboy and romantic hero; of the Clan Morrigan; of the denizens of the Martian Motel, and of the machinations of another company entirely - all of whom contribute to the downfall of the BAC and the founding of a new world. But Mary and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.

Based on the Hugo-nominated novella of the same name, this is a rollicking novel of action, planetary romance, and high adventure.

©2009 Kage Baker (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Most writers’ alternate universes are fun to visit, but Kage Baker’s is one I wouldn’t mind moving to: the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs... seen through the eyes of a writer far more poetic, vastly more scientifically literate, and with an infinitely superior sense of humor. Even as science-fictional taverns go, the Empress of Mars is memorable, a joint I hope I’ll be able to return to many times.” (Spider Robinson)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (248 )
5 star
 (90)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.8 (223 )
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (222 )
5 star
 (92)
4 star
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3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Gerald fitchburg, WI, United States 05-27-12
    Gerald fitchburg, WI, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
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    5
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    "Classic... Just Classic"
    Would you listen to The Empress of Mars again? Why?

    This is a wonderful character driven sci-fi that in many ways feels like Heinlein's work. This is a wonderful little novel. Really... this is worth the credit.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Monroe, NY, United States 01-07-15
    Susan Monroe, NY, United States 01-07-15 Member Since 2009

    An avid reader living in NY.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    71
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    Story
    "Wonderful Story"

    I'm so glad to have discovered this Author, and so sad that she is not with us anymore. Her books a truly imaginative, and the characters are engaging. I wish she would have expanded it into a series....But taken as it is, its a great book. Thanks to audible for putting this on a special priced selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaye 11-03-14
    Kaye 11-03-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
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    87
    57
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    3
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    Story
    "Space Western with Promise But No Plot"

    A space western that has promise, but lost me in the end with no cohesive plot, just a loose conglomeration of vignettes that seem like ideas for episodes of a TV show, but which never really came together and gelled for me. Also, after having read the descriptions of the other books in this "series," I can't see how this one fits in with the master story-arc at all.

    Audiobook reader was wonderful, creating a multitude of characters with many different varieties of accented English, as well as mannerisms and tones. Would definitely listen to more of her work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 04-11-14
    Robin 04-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    134
    ratings
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    131
    103
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    19
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    Performance
    Story
    "Space Western with a woman's viewpoint"
    What made the experience of listening to The Empress of Mars the most enjoyable?

    The humor is delightful and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot. The characters are a collection of misfits stuck in a place that is a cross between the North Pole and the Wild West.


    What other book might you compare The Empress of Mars to and why?

    It's a lot like John Scalzi's books, like The Android's Dream or Redshirts, in that there is a futuristic outer space setting, yet what really counts are old-fashioned relationships. And the sense of humor is also similar.


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

    Her accents are great, she has to do everything from Incan to Nepali to the American West and she does them delightfully.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really but it was engaging and I could see listening to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    The audio really brings out the humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Jeffrey Chene en Semine, France 03-30-14
    Mark Jeffrey Chene en Semine, France 03-30-14 Member Since 2012

    Brit Abroad. Nearly six hundred Audible books heard, many more than once. Yes I'm hooked.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant, funny, and compelling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I had this on my wishlist for a long time after seeing it as a recommendation. Wish I had taken it earlier. The cast of misfits are adorable, the back story is different, and the sci-fi elements are pretty minimal (antigrav being the exception).

    Life on Mars is portrayed as a mix of European colonialism gone bad, with elements of life on the wild west frontier. Most of the people are reluctant colonists, either signed up from psychiatric hospitals, on the run from their previous life, or victims of "get rich quick" government and company propaganda.

    As the Company tries to gain leverage over their errant tenants, and to take control of their more valuable assets, the tensions builds to a climax.


    Any additional comments?

    The book manages to keep a high degree of action and tension while only showing a bare minimum of violence. No sex scenes or bad language. Shows how it can be done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sverre Bangkok, Thailand 12-23-13
    Sverre Bangkok, Thailand 12-23-13 Member Since 2014

    a can read person

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plesant interesting book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Empress of Mars to be better than the print version?

    The Woman reading this book is very good, very plesant, and it really made for a good read.


    What other book might you compare The Empress of Mars to and why?

    I read this book just after finishing the Mars Triology (Kim Stanley Robinson), and this book was a nice alternative universe for Mars. Not the NASA version but the British emperial version.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "A Beer on Mars"


    Any additional comments?

    I wish the book was longer, or that more books in same universe would follow. I really liked many of the characters, and the tone of the book. I am used to bigh thick books, and this one did feel a bit thin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 12-10-13
    Robin 12-10-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unremarkable"

    Narator's childlike voice makes it hard to listen to.
    Story unremarkable to science fiction. Could be anywhere anytime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy 08-12-13
    Peggy 08-12-13 Member Since 2010

    dragonfire393

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great story, good characters"

    I really enjoyed this book......it is not the space opera type. I found the story plausible and the character interesting. Going to check now to see if there is a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff Redondo Beach, CA, USA 03-27-13
    Geoff Redondo Beach, CA, USA 03-27-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Short, simple, light-hearted and fun"

    This is not an overly complex book, and you can kinda guess based on the title and the tone of the story how things are going to turn out, but it's still a fun ride.

    It's pretty much your typical story of the people versus The Corporation. The Corporation is the group that started the Mars colony, and the people are the colonists who always get the short end of the stick when the Corporation decides it needs to improve the balance sheets. And first amongst the people is Mary Griffith, proprietor of the only bar on Mars.

    The book is also set at some undetermined point in the future where Christianity is on the down and out and Organized paganism is now the popular religion. (Which might seem like a good thing depending on your personal beliefs, but as usual it seems that there's very little good about a religion that getting Organized can't fix.) It seems like there may be some tie-ins to other books she's written, but since this is the first book of hers i've read i can't be certain of that.

    It turns out that Organized pagans frown on intoxicants and it seems that beer (and thus bars) are illegal in a lot of places on Earth and aren't looked at too fondly on Mars either.. On top of that as the story progresses Mary and her unusual friends and patrons become more and more of an impediment to the Corporation's goals.

    The conflict isn't all light and cheery, there is some drama and tragedy, but one gets the feeling that one way or another Mary is going to come out on top in the end, and the fun is in seeing how exactly that will be accomplished.

    As for the performance of the book, it's quite well done. This is one of the few cases where a strong accent for one of the characters seems appropriate, perhaps because the character in question is such an outsider, and yes, because the language difficulties are sometimes used for comic relief.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth NC, United States 03-04-13
    Elizabeth NC, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2010

    thoughtful reader/listener/viewer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loaded with quirky characters"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The way characters frequently held conversations that should have been confidential in loud voices in public places really stretched credulity--that's a lot of naive characters!


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I'd have made the plot a little less dependent on loose talk.


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

    Character voices/accents are fun.


    Did The Empress of Mars inspire you to do anything?

    Stay on earth.


    Any additional comments?

    It was still fun to see how it all worked out. I did come to care about the characters and their outcomes, so overall--a success.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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