Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel • Discover the novel that launched one of science fiction’s most beloved, acclaimed, and awarded trilogies: Kim Stanley Robinson’s masterly near-future chronicle of interplanetary colonization.
“A staggering book . . . the best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written.”—Arthur C. Clarke
For centuries, the barren, desolate landscape of the red planet has beckoned to humankind. Now a group of one hundred colonists begins a mission whose ultimate goal is to transform Mars into a more Earthlike planet. They will place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light onto its surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels drilled into the mantle will create stupendous vents of hot gases. But despite these ambitious goals, there are some who would fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.
The first installment in Robinson's ( Blind Geometer ) new trilogy is an action-packed and thoughtful tale of the exploration and settlement of Mars--riven by both personal and ideological conflicts--in the early 21st century. The official leaders of the ``first hundred'' (initial party of settlers) are American Frank Chalmers and Russian Maya Katarina Toitova, but subgroups break out under the informal guidance of popular favorites like the ebullient Arkady Nikoleyevich Bogdanov, who sets up a base on one of Mars's moons, and the enigmatic Hiroko, who establishes the planet's farm. As the group struggles to secure a foothold on the frigid, barren landscape, friction develops both on Mars and on Earth between those who advocate terraforming, or immediately altering Mars's natural environment to make it more habitable, and those who favor more study of the planet before changes are introduced. The success of the pioneers' venture brings additional settlers to Mars. All too soon, the first hundred find themselves outnumbered by newcomers and caught up in political problems as complex as any found on Earth.
This book pours on the science of Mars as it is and might well be to colonists. It’s very well written, extraordinarily well researched and offers a compelling story. A great read. It may be, however, a little dry for readers who are used to gripping drama and heroic battles. Here we get a lot of protracted scenes of individuals driving across landscapes, making observations. Mars itself is the main character, called Big Man, and he id dead, though perhaps not for much longer.
Striking desciption and meticulous detail, but not much story
This will appeal to those who enjoy hearing about how gigantic feats of engineering make Mars habitable. But while it is generous with such scientific detail, it is weak on human story, reading mostly like a documentary with some scant soap opera thrown in to give it some drama. I wanted it to be over before I was halfway through, but I deeply respect the work that went into creating it, and I suspect the readers who love it will love it a lot.