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Marsbound (Marsbound #1)

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  2,353 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
Young Carmen Dula and her family are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime-they're going to Mars. But Carmen's rebellious streak leads her to venture out into the bleak Mars landscape alone, where she is saved by an angel. An angel with too many arms and legs, a head that looks like a potato gone bad-and a message for the humans on Mars: We were here first...
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Ace (first published August 5th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 02, 2015 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2015
Wait, what... there are more of these. *blows out cheeks*. Dreck. Readable dreck. And from such a legend of sci-fi. I don't get much practice writing really negative reviews because usually I would have given up on a book like this. And I just delete books I don't finish usually. But hey. It's Joe. It'll get better but... it didn't. Where did it go wrong? Well, let's have some characters. There aren't any. Carmen handles the recounting in a drone of words as if she's telling you about a dream sh ...more
A.R. Norris
May 13, 2011 A.R. Norris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this book last night and couldn't wait to write a review.

Not normally a fan of first person -- you lose the connection to the story -- I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Within the first couple of pages I fell into the "I'm reading a journal of a girl" mode and submerged into the story of a young woman heading off to Mars with her family.

I liked Carmen as a MC. She was just imperfect enough to be realistic and impulsive enough to lead the reader into an adventure. Her relationship wit
Aug 14, 2012 Bondama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These three books, "Marsbound, (I can't find the second installment - and "Earthbound" are really, honest, truly terrific science fiction (the hard type of sci fi - concerning "logical" means that might eventually, during the future, develop such technological breakthroughs which might actually come into being.

No fantasy here, just a really, really good book that carries its' readers into space, descriptions of crowded quarters for a reasonably long time -- Haldeman excels at that, and at charac
Mar 23, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 2008
I saw another review that pretty much sums up my feelings. Haldeman's recent books have been breezy and interesting, but ultimately light. This reminded me a lot of Heinlein's teen books, except for the addition of some unnecessarily graphic sex. I don't have any problem with sex in fiction but this didn't seem to serve any purpose. I liked that the narrator was a teenage girl, and that she was an intelligent teenage girl without major hangups. That said, some of her actions -particularly when i ...more
Nov 18, 2008 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, space
Haldeman delivers another great sci-fi story. He handles the nuts and bolts of a trip to Mars and what life there would be like with his usual readable style that gives you some real science without a lot of technobabble. Best part of this story is the main character, Carmen. Telling a sci fi story from a slightly angry and rebellious teen-age character is a nice change of pace from the type of astronaut heroes we usually get in these stories.
Originally posted on SpecFic Junkie.

No, you're not going to see me rip apart this book. This one wasn't entirely awful; I just didn't like it. Trite is a good word for it. Uninspired. Thrown together using a random plot generator as necessary. Okay, maybe I'm in denial. It was pretty bad.

I'm kind of sad about this one. I enjoyed The Accidental Time Machine (although I didn't think it was the best thing since sliced bread... keep in mind, though that I am allergic to wheat) and expected Marsbound
D.L. Morrese
This is a story of the relatively near future, the first Mars colony, and some interesting aliens. In this respect, it’s quite good; the technology is realistic and well described, the plot makes sense, and the aliens are wonderfully alien.
A number of things did not suit my personal taste, though. The first is that the story is told in first person. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I find it works best for detective novels. It’s probably great for romance novels, too, but those have no appeal for
Dec 07, 2012 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Haldeman has done it again. His brilliant Forever War seemed a counterpoint to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, a sort of pointed "here, this is what war is really like" riposte (although I have heard he says that is not true at all; that in fact he's a big Heinlein fan). Be that as it may, it is hard to read those books without thinking one is an answer to the other one.

Haldeman must be a Heinlein fan however, because this time he has written his version of Podkayne of Mars. Marsbound has the
Nov 03, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-friends
Good, solid piece of science fiction. At first glance, the story is fairly straightforward---young girl's family "wins" a lottery to go to Mars and join the small colony there, but once arrived she finds herself both involved with an older man and at odds with the administrator who makes her a kind of "special project", especially after the girl inadvertently discovers sapient life sharing Mars with the humans---but it subtly veers into the more complex on two (at least) levels.

One is, it transi
Seán Gardner
I probably would have rated this a 3/5 if it had been written by almost any other author, but this is a Joe Haldeman book and I have come to expect far more from him than a story like Marsbound. The main character is likable and believable. The dialogue is realistic and typically Haldemanesque. The story just didn't engage me, though, and it isn't helped by a group of aliens that I just wasn't buying into. Haldeman knows to how create cool and weird aliens (see Camouflage, a really underrrated b ...more
Jack Burnett
Oct 18, 2011 Jack Burnett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carmen Dula is a likable, relatable, realistic main character, and a sometimes dispassionately honest narrator. At some point, particularly since she starts the book 18 years old on the uncertain, anxious, stressed-out side of a pretty big family relocation and ends it with a graduate degree and unlikely place of prominence in human history, you would like to see her grow and change, leave the smartassery behind in favor of introspection and insight. She doesn't, and that's to the book's detrime ...more
Chris Aylott
Haldeman proves the old Heinlein juvenile is alive and well, though I'm not sure his take on it will hold up as well as Heinlein's did. Carmen Dula's family is on its way to the first human Mars colony, where they will spend the next five years and possibly settle for life. On the way, she sort of falls in love with the ship's pilot -- he's in his thirties and she's nineteen, which makes their relationship just a bit creepy. Once on Mars, of course, she makes a Discovery that Changes Everything. ...more
Apr 28, 2010 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book really didn't pick up until about 100 pages into it, but I found the trip to Mars, as well as life on Mars fairly well-thought out. One thing I like about Haldeman is he's able to tell a convincing story without getting into the minutiae of everyday life. He does throw science at you regularly, but I find it easily digestible and fun. Once the story started to pick up about 100 pages in, it was a hard one to put down. I will be looking forward to reading the second book in the series, ...more
Dec 22, 2008 Chessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf_fantasy
I really liked this book! A great first-contact SF story, with a good female narrator.

18-year-old Carmen and her family have been selected to participate in the Mars Project - living on the planet's outpost for 5 years. When they arrive, Carmen attracts the ire of one of the post's administrators and spends a lot of time doing menial work. One day she rebels and takes an unauthorized walk on the planet's surface, alone. She is nearly mortally injured but saved angel with a potato head a
Robert Laird
Feb 07, 2010 Robert Laird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a simply written story from the perspective of a young woman in her late teens, in the mid 21st century, about her family's journey to Mars. Even before it took an odd turn, I really enjoyed the perspective. The writing throughout was very clear, and Haldeman did a good job fleshing her out, and making her not just believable, but someone you'd want to know. Overall, a short read but an interesting story, and I look forward to reading the next novel in the series.
Fred Hughes
Dec 14, 2011 Fred Hughes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Haldeman books are what I call easy reads. The storys track fairly fast and there is minimal character development, but enough. Haldeman has a potty mouth sometimes which I don't find offensive but younger readers may not appreciate his vivid language.

All his books are entertaining and easily read. There is not too much complicated plot lines so again easy to read.

Two of the most classic themes of science fiction--colonization and first contact-- put into a charming package. Told from the perspective of a teenage girl, so we get a coming of age story *too. Satisfying read, but it missed the mark a bit in conveying a sense of wonder about her experiences, and the characters could have been more compelling.
Sep 25, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I believe it would be a great intro book, to science fiction, for a person of middle-school age, except for a little too much sex, and gratuitous bad language. I have probably become over conservative in my old age.

I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.
Jamie Collins
2.5 stars. Haldeman's books are always readable, and I liked the narrator and the setting. But the book felt way too short, had too much exposition, and I found the ending abrupt and unsatisfying.
Excellent, solid science fiction that can be enjoyed by young readers and older ones. My longer review of this book can be found here.
Nov 30, 2010 Gendou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good hard science fiction.
Good hard sex in space.
The main character has an interesting tone.
The plot was interesting.
I liked it.
Jun 21, 2017 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra Askanase
Jan 25, 2017 Debra Askanase rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
To say I read this is a misnomer. I quit about 2/3 of the way through. The first half was light and easy to read -- like a teen comedy that is not boring or utterly stupid. The narrarator is a 19-year old young woman and she has that POV. I found her narrator's voice annoying. Then they land on Mars. The teen-YA angst started getting to me. Then a big surprise (no spoilers) but honestly, I stopped caring much by then.
And then I gave up about 40 pages into the surprise, thinking that I just didn'
Zack Wussow
Fun but a bit... childish?
Gamma Mouse
“People who don’t know us might wonder why a kid with jet-black hair would be named Red.” – Carmen Dula, “Marsbound”

Unfortunately, this horrible instance of parental naming abuse continues as Carmen and her husband further add to Red’s future teenage angst by giving him the middle name “Mayfly”. In a way, “Marsbound” by Joe Haldeman is the story behind this unique naming. (And with a name like Red Mayfly, only a very good story would justify it.) Luckily, “Marsbound” is a very good story. It’s a
J.L. Dobias
Oct 01, 2015 J.L. Dobias rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SFF Simon Pure but light Science lovers
Shelves: book-shelf-08
Marsbound by Joe Haldeman

I bought this as a light read and since I've only read a few older books by Joe Haldeman ,Mindscape, and all my sins remembered, I would have to say I didn't come into it with great expectations. The pace of the novel is rather sedate, which is good for a light read; it's not a novel that starts the reader by hitting the ground running and ramping up the pace every few pages. My impression of the character was that she was written from the point of a 17 year old and poss
Rita Monticelli
Feb 07, 2013 Rita Monticelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, urania
Scroll down for the English version

Space opera e ironia

Che carino questo “Dula di Marte”! Questa è stata la mia prima sensazione nell’iniziare a leggerlo ed è continuata per tutto il romanzo, che in realtà è il primo di una trilogia. Per qualche strano miracolo è approdato anche in Italia. In realtà la motivazione è semplice: è un romanzo di medie dimensioni. Questo però non è, a parer mio, di certo il suo pregio, anzi tutto il contrario.
Ma andiamo per ordine. In questo romanzo fa la sua appari
Aug 24, 2012 Mardel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read anything by Joe Haldeman before and I picked up Marsbound on a whim (looking for some new Sci/Fi). I've finished reading it, read it pretty quickly, but can't say that I feel wowed by it. It was interesting - or I wouldn't have been able to finish reading it. But it wasn't "DAMN!" for me.

Marsbound is about a young woman and her family. They've decided to go to the planet Mars for a year to study. Carmen, Card (her brother) and her parents go to Mars after a year of studying in p
Michael Sentman
I found this book fairly entertaining, enough for perhaps 4 stars, but the more I think about it, the less I actually liked the book. There were just somethings I thought could have been better and a few things were overly common in these types of novels.

So, the book is divided into three parts, literally, but it follows the action pretty well. The first part is almost a character focus on our protagonist, a 19-year old soon to be college student going to be a colonist on Mars along with her fam
I picked up Marsbound at my local library because I had heard a lot of great things about Haldeman's writing but hadn't read any of his work. I was looking so see if they had anything from the Forever series but grabbed this as his only available work that day. I went into it with very few expectations.

Marsbounds takees place in a pretty reasonable and typical future. A space elevator exists and has successfully been monitized for those who can afford the trip to stay at the hotel at the far end
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Brother of Jack C. Haldeman II

Haldeman is the author of 20 novels and five collections. The Forever War won the Nebula, Hugo and Ditmar Awards for best science fiction novel in 1975. Other notable titles include Camouflage, The Accidental Time Machine and Marsbound as well as the short works "Graves," "Tricentennial" and "The Hemingway Hoax." Starbound is scheduled for a January release. SFWA pres
More about Joe Haldeman...

Other Books in the Series

Marsbound (3 books)
  • Starbound (A Marsbound Novel)
  • Earthbound

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