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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings


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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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very Disappointed

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 ...

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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

  • Overall
  • Tim
  • Br|hlGermany
  • 09-01-09

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

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Phillip
  • Lino Lakes, MN, United States
  • 10-01-13

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

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Hudson, WI, United States
  • 07-31-11

RED planet

The physics are way off. This book is more about communism and marxist dogma than science fiction.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jan
  • Encinitas, CA, United States
  • 11-05-10


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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall


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

  • Overall
  • Jef
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 04-25-08

Wake me when something happens

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.

11 of 20 people found this review helpful