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Oxygen (Oxygen #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  574 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Valkerie Jansen is tough, beautiful, and has an uncanny knack for survival. But that doesn't explain why NASA picks her to be part of a two man, two woman crew to Mars -- or does it?

Bob Kaganovski, the ship's mechanic, is paid to be paranoid -- and he's good at it. After a teeth-rattling launch, Bob realizes that his paranoia hasn't prepared him for this trip. He can deal
Kindle Edition, Second Edition (Writers Journey Edition)
Published September 28th 2011 by DitDat, Inc. (first published May 17th 2001)
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Jul 07, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Oxygen” by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson is a great new science fiction/thriller. NASA wants to send a crew of four to Mars, two men and two women. While they are on their way to the Red Planet an explosion seriously damages their ship. Now the question is, who did it? And why?

I really enjoyed this novel. Christian fiction is not genre I normally read, and although there are religious questions throughout the book, I didn’t feel like it was being crammed down my throat. The questions were
Kelvin Liang
Originally I first heard of this book when I was fishing for tips on how to write novels and I came across Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. Then I noticed this book and thought I’d give it a read after having seen glowing ratings and compliments about its pace and story.

Upon finishing, my personal review was not one of glowing stars and meritorious comments.
The beginning of the novel sucked. Sure, I was thrown right into the fray with our protagonist, Valkerie fighting for her life, that
Jul 25, 2011 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so I was really disappointed in this book, despite its heralded, award-winning reputation. Maybe I'm just not as big a sci-fi fan as I once was, or maybe I'm too selective in this genre, but I grew tired of it quickly and just wanted to get to the end simply to see who survived and how. My biggest complaint was too many conflicts--one after the other, after the other. I couldn't keep myself in "crisis" mode and still maintain caring for the characters. The author strove to impress on us the ...more
Kyra Halland
Jun 27, 2015 Kyra Halland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Hard science fiction isn't my usual reading, but one of the authors of Oxygen, Randy Ingermanson, developed a popular outlining method for writers (the Snowflake method) and I found out about Oxygen on his site. I'll admit that what grabbed me was the romance aspect of "science fiction romance", but I ended up thoroughly enjoying everything about this book.

The story follows a team of four, two men and two women, who are to be the first astronauts on Mars. NASA is short on funds and has had to tu
Kyle Pratt
Jan 26, 2013 Kyle Pratt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Christian science fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
Oxygen is a well-researched and crafted, near future, Christian science fiction novel. Published in 2001, the story is set in 2014 during the first manned mission to Mars. Microbial ecologist Valkerie Jansen is assigned to the Ares 10 as late replacement. This alone would cause strain for the crew but her faith adds another level of tension. When a near catastrophic explosion occurs the crew of two men and two women must learn to trust each other or perish in the cold of space. While I pray that ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Violet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A while ago I took advantage of a cheap Kindle download of John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson's 2001 novel Oxygen. though I'm not a fan of its genre (near-future scientific thriller), I wanted to see if Snowflake guru Ingermanson could actually write fiction and was attracted by the "Bonus Goodies For Aspiring Authors" included in this edition.

The story is about a space mission to Mars. We meet the characters—the astronauts— when they are in training before the mission launches. The main male c
Timothy Bateson
Jun 02, 2015 Timothy Bateson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Science meets thriller while heading to Mars

With all the excitement in the last few years about discoveries that Mars might have once met the requirements to harbor life, I had to take a look at this book. I'm very glad that I did.
Olson and Ingermanson have taken four brave souls on a trip to Mars. Watch as an already assembled team has to take onboard an untrained and highly intelligent new member, and then decide who has to remain behind for the good of the mission. Then follow the drama build
Feb 28, 2015 Kira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy learning through fun stories, and without having to feel like they're learning
Shelves: sci-fi
My father-in-law gave me this book when he finished it, thinking I'd like it. Since we don't always have the same taste in media, and since I've never really gotten into sci-fi, I was reluctant to read it. It sat on my nightstand for several months. Finally one day, it was time to either read it or take it to the book exchange. I decided to give it a go and couldn't keep my nose out of it for the next few days until I'd finished it. This one is definitely going on my shelf for future reads, rath ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read-again
Okay, I know I say this a lot, but I absolutely LOVED this book!!!!!!!!!!! I really couldn't put it down until I reached the very end! At which point I still didn't put it down for about five minutes while the whole thing sunk in! The only complaint I have about this book was, as always, the ending. Or rather, lack thereof. Too many books that I read these days just don't work hard enough on the conclusion, leaving the reader frustrated and confused. Whether you need to sell the next book or not ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched tale of traveling to Mars. A resourceful months enroute with what could be total strangers. What could possibly go wrong. Apparently much in the manner of Apollo 13. As befitting most works of man, the best laid plans often go awry. In the far reaches of space, fear can overcome your thoughts and cloud your judgement.

I enjoyed the disasters, the suspicion and even the tortured thoughts of each player in this drama. The journey is filled with contradictions. Who to trust, how to s
I was surprisingly impressed by this book since sci-fi and Christian fiction are not usually a very good combination.
April Ann
ddddrrrraaaaawwwwwnnnnnnn out, way out.
Ed Tinkertoy
The best I can say for this book is it was OK. The first 25% of the book read more like a soap opera than a science fiction book. There is second guessing on decisions based on who liked or was friends with who. Then after the crew of the ship is set and takes off there is an explosion and the crew members are again at it blaming each other. And also blaming the mission controllers for the explosion. So it was more soap opera stuff.

The middle of the book does have some action that is akin to wh
Kerry Nietz
Nov 10, 2011 Kerry Nietz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were periods of my life when I genuinely dreamed of being one of the first astronauts on Mars. When I thought how great it would be to be on a rocket ship bound for another planet. (A rocket ship typically manned by my best friends, of course.) And then to finally reach the Red Planet. To stand under an alien sky. To see Earth as a distant blue star in the night sky…

What those dreams always overlooked, of course, was the reality of space travel over long distances. The myriad of dangers. T
Anne Campbell
Nov 08, 2013 Anne Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be one of the most intense romantic suspense/space adventure/science fictions I’ve ever read—I’m thinking it would make a great movie, but one you might want to watch early enough in the day that you have time to breathe for a while after it’s over.

Valkerie Jansen is interviewed as a possible astronaut on the first manned venture to Mars, one of four who will make the long voyage to the red planet. Her problem is that obviously the interviewers missed her grades as a freshman in
Anna Marie
Jul 12, 2011 Anna Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A sorta who-dun-it in space and actually really gripping. I am surprised how much I enjoyed this. At first I thought it might be getting a bit too technical, but it wasn’t too much information that I was lost. The suspense had me riveted. In fact, I got choked up in one part. Makes me wish NASA would attempt to go to Mars.

Biggest flaw to me was that the characters even though they all had backstory and personality, felt a little bit unrealistically perfect and borderline cheesey. Like they felt
Jul 31, 2013 Mex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, fiction
Rather surprised this book is always put forward as a christian book because christian content exists in this book only slightly more than the christian god exists in the real world (and as as Yahweh doesn't exist at all, it would be difficult for it to be less). The only spiritual content in the book is a couple of characters who happen to be christian, one of whom considers life the universe and everything at one point. She come to the conclusion there is no evidence what so ever for her choic ...more
Jo Murphy
May 21, 2013 Jo Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adult audience
Recommended to Jo by: Randy
John Olson and Randy Ingermanson have now complimented Oxygen by another eBook called The Fifth Man.
I hope the two books set the scene for series of enlightening outer space excitement! The main appeal of the books is the subtlety of the Christian message, which lightly winds throughout both texts
Although the writers ask Christian questions throughout, they do not hit the reader over the head with a moralistic bludgeon; rather, they touch on timeless issues, which lead the narrative through such
Feb 18, 2012 Carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Sci-Fi and Techno-thrillers, with a dash of mystery
Shelves: fantasysci-fi
[Edit--now available as an e-book! See my blog: ]

This is my friend John's first published book, so I suppose I'm a tad biased, but I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I started reading (stupidly) when I was supposed to be studying for finals back in my undergrad days, and ended up reading it all the way through ina bit under two day-- didn't get much studying done then!
It's unfortunate that the book went out of print, as this is a enjoyable and impressi
J.L. Dobias
May 23, 2012 J.L. Dobias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-shelf-10
I purchased the book Oxygen for two reasons one of those being to read the bit at the end for other Authors.

I wanted to thank the authors for a good read. I read the story first knowing it probably would have spoilers at the end.

I normally don't write much about what I read and it tends more towards the saccharin than anything else. Probably because mom said if you don't have anything nice to say...

In this case though I have so much nice to say I have to say a bit more.
I've read science fiction
Monica Rodriguez
I rarely read science fiction, and now I'm wondering why, I enjoyed Oxygen so much. This story of humans' first attempt at reaching Mars grabbed me right away. Once the suspense started, it rarely let me go. In fact, this story kept me up one (week) night until 2:00 a.m.! I think I can safely say I couldn't put it down. There were a couple of short lulls, when a character would go into some introspection about what finding life on Mars might mean for humanity and for their personal religious bel ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Karlie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have never of read this if I had seen this cover or synopsis. But I have read one of the two authors (Ingermanson) other work and loved it. I'd say more like 3.5 stars. The pace and energy picks up in the second half of the book and read like a great paced movie. The romance part was a bit eye rolling. I will read the sequel. I enjoyed some of its thinking ahead in the story.
Chas Funderburg
I must admit: this book was written by pros. They keep you turning the page, wondering how this particular conflict is going to resolve itself. I think the book covers every genre it undertakes well: romance, adventure, suspense, and of course, Sci-Fi. It is well-written and researched sci-fi, written by two guys who are very well educated geeks themselves. Their firm grasp of the technology of the space program, and of biochemistry and physics makes this book very believable. And they had a tec ...more
Nov 25, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a total surprise. It is a roller-coaster of fear and excitement, sorrow and joy. It is one of the few books that brought me to tears. Valkerie Jansen is a last-minute substitution for a manned trip to Mars. Shortly after lift-off (where one of the rocket's stabilizer fins clipped the gantry), and shortly after the Mars trajectory burn. One of the vessel's solar panels is destroyed by an Apollo 13-like explosion, which may or may not be sabotage. The four crew members, CAPCOM and th ...more
David Mitchell
Sep 04, 2015 David Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in less than a day. Really enjoyed the characters, plot and the tension. There were a couple of times when I skimmed through some of the more technical spots and the time when Valkerie was doing a lot of introspection, but it was because I was anxious to get back to the character interactions and some of the action.
Jan 25, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reread, after I watched the Martian again.

I HATE the cover of the ebook... it makes NO sense whatsoever.

It's aged a bit, but still a good hard sci-fi novel with a legit strong (and intelligent) female character,

One of my 2016 reading goals was a reread, so this one'll count for that.
H.L. Wegley
Apr 23, 2014 H.L. Wegley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No spoilers here. Oxygen is a story about the first manned flight to Mars. It starts a bit slow but, after introducing all of the main characters, the suspense builds to thriller levels by the climax. This is good, old-fashioned science fiction -- stuff that could happen in the near future -- not fantasy. There is some very light romance, but the astronauts' mission is what's central to this story.
I bought this book for the bonus material in the back for aspiring writers and didn't really plan on reading the story. The cover looked cheesy and the synopsis didn't grab my attention... I had just finished reading Hunger Games and the genre was so different I didn't know if I was up for it, but one bore night I started reading it. And then I couldn't stop. It was action packed and there was a point in the story where I could easily suspect any of the people involved for the explosion. The cha ...more
Ginny Jaques
Jun 04, 2012 Ginny Jaques rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like seat-of-your-pants suspense, and drama that keeps you reading until way past your bedtime, you'll love Oxygen. In this fast-paced space thriller/mystery/romance novel, Olson and Ingermanson put their very human and likable characters into situations where survival is impossible, over and over again. You're sure you're going to lose one of your favorites at any moment, but somehow they go on breathing, hanging onto every last molecule of oxygen, while you hold your breath trying to he ...more
Glen Kowalski
Dec 14, 2014 Glen Kowalski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oxygen was a fun read. It was science fiction, but done in a way the was believable for the very near future. A great story, with relentless action and suspense.
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Overall Impression/Thoughts? 6 10 Jun 05, 2013 07:38AM  
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John B. Olson is a novelist who lives with his wife Amy and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area. John earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and did postdoctoral research at the University of California at San Francisco. His books have won several awards, including a Christy Award, a Christy finalist, a Silver Angel award, and placement on the New York Pu ...more
More about John B. Olson...

Other Books in the Series

Oxygen (2 books)
  • The Fifth Man (Oxygen, #2)

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