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.
“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)
a can read person
The Woman reading this book is very good, very plesant, and it really made for a good read.
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.
"A Beer on Mars"
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.
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.
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.
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I loved Kage Baker’s “Garden of Iden” so much, I was eager to read more!
Sadly, I did not enjoy this story as much – it felt too jumbled to me and I had a hard time keeping it all straight. I liked the main schemes in the book (the development of space, colonizing planets, terraforming Mars), but the multitude of storylines confused me and I never really learned who was who, who wanted to do what, and what the purpose of certain plots were all about… like the blue bees for example: I didn’t get it.
I still can’t figure Mr Cochevelou out and who the Hell was Vespucci again??? I guess I was not in the right mood. Too bad.
Dust, wind, and people. Even in the harsh environment of Mars, people are people everywhere. Great characters, nice twist at the end, excellent reader.
Ottarino Vespucci, the poor little rich boy with the serious Wild West fantasy obsession. In spite of being a loon, he was a caring and creative person who made life work for him the way he wanted it.
She made the characters come alive and didn't overpronounce any words.
I enjoyed this story of the little guy in difficult circumstances pitted against the big inflexible conglomerate. There were some excellent plot twists that I did not see coming.
Great space western with women in some of the important roles.
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.
This is the first Nicola Barber narrated book I listened to and I was hooked ever since. She adds an extra element to this already great story. Don't expect star trek, or laser gun fights - its just a well written story that happens to be set on Mars. Highly recommend.
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!
I'd have made the plot a little less dependent on loose talk.
Character voices/accents are fun.
Stay on earth.
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.
Author Kage Baker creates a fully imagined, logical world peopled with colorful characters. Listening, especially during the cold season, you can almost imagine yourself being there. On the down side, the characters do not change or develop. Rather than building, the conflict tends to bump along, occasionally breaking down like one of the dust-covered vehicles that roam the settlements. Everything comes together in the end, as expected, but the journey benefits from some fast-forwarding through the repetitive problems the characters encounter.
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