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 can see why the book won awards. The thought that went into this work is VERY good. It kept me listening to the end but it was just so that I could get to the end. It is a detailed look at what colonization would truly be like with all the good and bad points. If you want an action book this is probably NOT for you.
This is a strange book. The writing is very competent. The aim seems to be to give a hyper-realistic account of what the colonization of Mars might be like, and some of the descriptive passages are startlingly evocative despite the audio narrator's relentless efforts to conceal the meaning of the sentences. The passages about science and technology are interesting even though most of them fail to advance the plot an inch. The plot is for all practical purposes nonexistent. There is a determined effort to shape realistic characters, but overall they are little different from soap opera people. There are long summary passages that sound like back story from notebooks. The characters argue and fight about things that might be important, but in their mouths sound trivial. Most action scenes come off as eighth-grade bullies' scuffles. Despite the intent to realism, I found it hard to believe that the first shipload of Martian colonists would be debating whether to completely throw out the colonization plans made on Earth (which by that time would have been decades in preparation) and with no replacement plans of their own, just naive political and social abstractions. Anyone with a disposition to disrupt the plans would have been screened out by NASA years before. The audio narrator is barely listenable; he is one of those readers with no ear for the rhythms and stresses of English, and who seems to believe words have no inherent meaning or feeling and he has to inject it, mostly resulting in relentlessly mis-stressed words and phrases to the disruption of the feeling that does reside there. The story being slow, the characters adolescent, and the reading poor, what allowed me to listen to this for the full 24 hours were that Robinson's workmanlike feel for English is usually strong enough to override the reader's misrepresentation of the sentences, and that occasionally a passage describing Mars arises vividly, worth waiting for over long, long stretches.
I had really high hopes for this series ... first settlers on Mars, should have been an adventure. But it's written as more of a slow, sweeping saga, and even then it fails.
Most of the books are devoted to the geography of the planet and the building of machinery. There are long descriptive passages of the landscape of Mars, and what caused the different geographical features described. There are equally long passages about the building of the machinery involved in making Mars ready for habitation.
These would have been interesting if there had been more of a story behind them. The characters are very shallow, and it's hard to become involved with any of them. The story line seems like it's about the sides involved in the planet's future - Terra-forming for surface habitation, or leaving it alone and living in shelters - but neither side is fully developed.
On top of that, it's not really clear what the issues really are. The dialogue of the main people on both sides is filled with lots of philosophical and metaphysical mambo-jumbo that is hard to follow.
The narrator tries really hard to be engaging, but it was still hard to get through the plodding story. I admit I only made it about a third of the way through the second book and had to stop. I've listened to some with poor narration but wonderful stories that kept me engaged. Others have been so-so stories with wonderful narrators who brought them to life.
I think that, even with a brilliant narrator, these stories would not have kept my interest. I'm surprised I made it as far as I did. Unfortunately, I bought all three ...
I've read these books twice and was thrilled to see them come out as audio books. They are a committment, not a quick sci-fi fix, but they are truly amazing in the scope, detail, character development and realistic approach the author takes in developing a society on Mars. I can say this is my favorite sci-fi series of all time - and I have read many. There are a lot of characters and I must admit I'm sure it helps I've read the books in print, but if you're used to really listening to complex books these will definitely be worth your time. The narrator is fine, steady and unobtrusive in his reading. I highly recommend this series if a major work of amazing sci-fi is what you are looking for.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
If one pretended that humans really did settle on Mars, this book is like listening to a Discovery Channel dramatized info-documentary on the process of settling Mars. We hear about the lives of the people and their squabbles, plus all the details of building a habitat and society in a new land.
It's not bad, but it's not terribly interesting either. The narrator is sufficient.
There is some plot but it's buried under hours of the (very creative) details about settling Mars. This doesn't make it bad, it just makes it... err... unsuspenseful. If you would like detailed descriptions of how a Mars survival suit, space ship or habitat would work, or how a new society would work out their political differences, this is a great book. If you like a mystery or action or wondering "what will happen next" in a story, you probably will be bored with this.
I put my ipod on the faster reading speed but still can't bring myself to spend any more time listening to this pseudo-documentary. I will not be buying any more in this series.
Far to slow for my taste. Long winded with very little action. Great descriptions of characters and environment, but the plot was confusing.
Kim Stanley Robinson has created the most imaginable colonization of Mars. I found the Audio book captivating. Having read all 3 books in the series, I can say that the concepts in the books are completely realistic. The reader does a really good job of portraying the characters in the Novel, each character is distinct in my mind.
I have really enjoyed this Audio book.
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.
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.
Science, yes, but also relationships, pathos and politics interact to make this a pretty fun listen. I like these long intertwined stories of science, world building, yet not necessarily space opera-y. Not so far in the future that you can;t imagine it ...kinda...
But you have to be interested in the science to enjoy this, it is an integral part of the story.
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