Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)
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Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  30,005 ratings  ·  1,304 reviews
In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.

For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. No...more
Mass Market Paperback, 572 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Spectra (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
I just finished reading this for the second or third time. I wish I could bump this up to 3.5 stars, which more reflects what I feel about it.

To begin with, I should come forward with my biases. This is a book you'll either love or you will hate. For my part, I love the planet Mars. Or at least, I love the idea of the planet Mars, because I've never been there. I'd love to go though. If someone from NASA told me that I could go to Mars, and there was only a 50/50 chance I'd survive, I'd be like...more
Cassie
I found this book to be intensely frustrating, because I had such a love-hate relationship with it. At one hand, I was fascinated to learn all about the colonization of Mars, the various technologies used, and I really loved seeing what the scientists came up with to develop the planet. Likewise, I enjoyed reading about the experience of exploring the planet's surface and learning about it's unique geography. The landscape descriptions are breathtaking.

It's such a shame that I hated just about...more
Clouds

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
...more
Brad
A long time ago in a city far, far away, the end of a friendship began over a disagreement about Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. D--- was so close to the material, so desperate to relive the nostalgia of the original trilogy, so deeply invested, that when we left the theatre and I expressed not just my frustration but my rage at what I'd seen, he took it as a personal insult. A slag of his taste (or what he thought I must have been declaring was his lack thereof). A debate raged between us for...more
Paxnirvana
Instead of re-hashing my own old review (did one at Amazon already yanno), let me offer up this BRILLIANT routine about Jaws 4: The Revenge by the late (and lamentedly so!) Mr. Richard Jeni:

"Have you ever seen a movie where they don't even try to have it make sense, they just slap you in the face with how shitty it is? You're sitting there, and you're going, "Maybe this movie isn't so bad and maybe I'm not wasting my life," and the movie slaps you in the face and goes:

Yes you are.

and you say "Ar...more
Jamie
Nov 13, 2007 Jamie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hardcore sci-fi heads only
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
An extremely detailed and ridiculously well researched novel on the colonization of Mars, this book is absolutely maddening. The characters veer from believable three dimensional humans to weird caricatures and plot devices within a few pages. And the author's exploration of the political implications of a newly habitable planet filled with resources for civilization is at first fascinating and then just boring. At least five or six times someone would yell out "This isn't like the discovery of...more
David
Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is well-regarded by SF fans, but it didn't really live up to the hype for me, though it's an excellent entry in the hard SF genre. Robinson's prose is not as lyrical as Ray Bradbury's, but it's not as dry as Ben Bova's either. Red Mars seems to synthesize elements from all of Robinson's predecessors — it's a Heinleinesque adventure at times, with hard SF infodumps, but actual characters, and shout-outs to every author who's ever touched Mars, including Burroug...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
The last long science fiction I read was Dune the year it came out. Then a long period of no science fiction, and in the past year a return to the genre. And one thing I have liked about the mid-century sf I have been reading is its low page count. Most of these guys, and so far I have read only guys, get the story done in under 300 pages. And I really go for the ones that clock in at around 180. There's a good idea, the story moves fast, outrageous things can happen but the story can also be qu...more
Willray
As an avid reader of Science Fiction, this book bored me to tears with its utterly one dimensional characters and utterly predictable plot (once one figured out, in the first 50 pages or so, that the characters were entirely linear and incapable of deviation from their preassigned courses). The "climax" is like a tiny pimple of added dimension, which Robinson apparently thinks is somehow highlighted and made more dramatic by the 500 previous pages that scream "Look, I really am this flat!". For...more
Apatt
I have just returned from Mars.

Well, I haven't of course but it feels a little like that. I feel like I have been one of the pioneer colonists struggling to tame Mars for posterity. That is how immersive this book can be, though it is not actually quite so engrossing throughout every page but even to attain that level of engrossment at times is a significant achievement by the author.

I believe this is one of the most popular sf series ever, I have certainly seen it in many "best of" lists, each...more
Lobeck
I debated between a 3 and 4 on this book. The whole time I was reading the series, I was fascinated and bored at the same time. Kim Stanley Robinson gives a very realistic picture of the colonization of Mars beginning with the first hundred scientists, engineers, and other specialists who were selected to live on Mars. Everything from his descriptions of the clouds to his formula for transforming the atmosphere into something breathable are very accurate based on available information, and it wa...more
Mitch
Dec 27, 2007 Mitch rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Powell's used book buyers
Shelves: action-adventure
Some interesting plot events (the space elevator, its destruction, the interplay between Earth and its "colony", some of the practical concerns about living on Mars [but not bathrooms]) cannot paper over the enormity of this book's mediocrity. Consistently boring word choice, ideas that get argued but not connected, looong descriptions of landscape that add nothing to the story, regular use of the run-on sentence and a general use of 10 words when one will do (JK Rowlings's editor...?). Only the...more
Stephen
5.0 to 5.5 stars. It has been said before but it bears repeating...this is the BEST NOVEL on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written. For all of the technical informaiton conveyed and the "hard science" employed, the book is amazingly readable and the characters are very well drawn.

Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1994)
Winner: British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1993)
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1993)
Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Awar...more
Mykle
Robinson's Mars trilogy is the worst kind of trilogy: it hooks you with an excellent first book, then drags you through an uneven second book and halfway through a kind of boring third book before you finally scream "ENOUGH! I will no longer particiapte in this trilogistic marketing conspiracy!" (Then you skulk off to watch Star Wars Episode 6, and get even more depressed.)

But Red Mars, the first book, is really wonderful. Like a lot of SF, it gets away with some flaws because the ideas are so e...more
Eric_W
Stanley Robinson has written a very interesting series of novels (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) that speculate about what would happen should Mars be colonized. I have completed only Red Mars so far, but if the others are as intriguing as the first they will be well worth reading. Truly the book is a political treatise as much as an action science fiction novel. As soon as the first ship lands and the colonists begin to build a base they are bifurcated into two factions: those who would p...more
Sesana
Perhaps what stands out most about Red Mars is the sheer attention to detail. Robinson obviously went to great length to make his account of the colonization of Mars believable from a technical standpoint. Is it entirely accurate science? I don't know, and frankly some of it was above my head. This is probably going to be where this book succeeds or fails for most people. Admire the level of technical detail and consider it a shining feature of hard SF? This may be the book for you. Prefer the s...more
James
A fantastic piece of work - to write this, the author had to have a solid working knowledge of a lot of fields, from cultural anthropology to psychology to astrophysics to chemistry to botany to... I don't know how he does it. And then to take the story and make it flow, weaving all those elements together and creating drama and tension - he's a master.
Terran
Nov 18, 2008 Terran rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: drooling KSR fans
Recommended to Terran by: drooling KSR fans
Shelves: reviewed
IT'S SOOOOOOO BIG!!!!! I MEAN, GEEZE YOU GUYS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW AWESOMELY AMAZINGLY OVERWHELMINGLY BIG IT IS!!! THINK OF THE BIGGEST {CLIFF,CANYON,OCEAN,MOUNTAIN,EGO} THAT YOU KNOW OF AND MARS HAS IT EVEN BIGGER THAN THAT! YOU JUST CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE ITS OVERALL BIGNESS!!!!![pant, pant, drool, drool]

Aside from the fawning adulation with which KSR treats our pink neighbor, the plot is just unbelievable. KSR gifts them with nearly magical technology in order to conquer the Red Planet, starts t...more
Martin holley
One of the greatest books about teraforming Mars. Robinson goes beyond the SciFi and goes into social aspects and how political agendas, religion, culture, racism, and just plain bias play in the outcome. There are many important characters and all have background, so character development is long and slow, but well worth it, being that the character of the characters is a big part of the story. This is more a book about the people that happen to be on mars doing a job, than the job they are doi...more
Chadwick
I usually don't go for super hard sf, but this book totally pwned me. Red Mars is a supremely well thought out imagining of the colonization of Mars, with time and research put in to all of the scientific aspects as well as the cultural facets of transplanting human beings to a truly alien world. I found especially interesting Robinson's consideration of the question, how will Terrans become Martians? How will their minds begin to work differently? How will their metaphors, their standards of be...more
Hillary Hall
Since I talk about these books nonstop and everyone around me is tired of hearing about it, I figured it's time to write a review. They are totally, totally good. The premise is that 100 colonists travel to Mars in 2028 (or so) and create a life there... Immigration, transnational corporations, the UN, terraforming, politics, social change, revolution, more revolution, and liberal Martian hippies in low-g ensue, all across the span of 200 years. And since everyone lives a long time thanks to new...more
Ken-ichi
Red Mars deserves a place in the American literary canon, and not as an exemplar of "hard SF," scifi's most pocket-protected sub-genre, but as a compelling, substantive text that has something distinctive to say about life in the present and, perhaps, about being American. Let me fail to explain:

SPECULATIVE REALISM

Much as I detest "X is the new Y" comparisons and describing anything as "like Yelp for dogs" etc, Kim Stanley Robinson might be science fiction's George Elliot. Minute in attention, b...more
Nathaniel
As a matter of principle, I try not to review books that I don't finish. After nearly 300 pages of agony, however, I've decided to make an exception to that rule. I can't finish this book, but I can warn others not to read it. It's the least I can do.

In terms of plot and story, this book isn't *that* bad, and if that's all that was wrong with it I'd give it 2-3 stars. It's the type of sci-fi story that wins awards not because the story is any good, but because of how meticulously researched it i...more
Simon
You need to know what you're getting into before you embark upon reading this novel. If you're in the mood for an in-depth and realistic chronicle of how humanity might go about the colonisation of Mars in the not to distant future, if you love hard science fiction, if seeing how huge technical problems are overcome with spectacular feats of engineering excites you, if a somewhat slow-paced and long-winded story doesn't bore you and a large cast of generally realistic but not particularly sympat...more
Anja
I love Kim Stanley Robinson as an author. He writes very interesting sci-fis about space and exploring the universe but he also ties the book into current day issues (no matter how far in the future it is.) He creates in-depth characters that explore realms of science, religion, and relationships in all of his stories.

Red Mars takes place several decades in the future, around 2040ish (it begins) with Earth slowly collapsing because of population growth and depleting resources U.N. creates a gro...more
Mike
Sep 04, 2007 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
This book is the first in a trilogy about the colonization and terraforming of Mars, told (mostly) from the perspectives of the first hundred colonists. It is grand in its scientific scope, but it is also a very human story. There is always something a little bit inspirational about exploring stories, about people who risk it all to learn something new, and this book is really the ultimate.

It starts a mere 30 years in the future, and given that the book is 15 years old, it's more like 15 years n...more
Kribu
Sigh.

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Suffice it to say that it took me, what, ten days? more? to read it, which is forever for me, for one book, even a relatively hefty one, and I can't blame it all on exhaustion from work.

There were things about Red Mars that I really liked. Descriptions of the planet. Some of the general ideas, I felt, were fascinating; not just the general idea of what life on Mars would be like "realistically" for the first human settlers, not just the explan...more
F.R.
There is something so fascinating about Mars. In a way Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren’s visit was the worst thing to ever happen to the Moon, as it took away the mystique of it all. No longer was there any possibility that the moon was made of cheese; there were no Selenites or moon calves – there was just a fairly uninteresting piece of rock floating in our orbit. (That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want to go should the chance arise. If you are reading this with the intention of finding recruit...more
Ron
Dense. Heavy. Hard going. But worth it. Better than average hard science fiction.

Many data dumps and long narratives slow the story, though Robinson interweaves enough personal drama to script a soap opera. The whole story could have been much more dramatic if we'd been shown, rather than told, most of the narrative.

Despite the apocalypse on earth back story--or maybe because of it--the immigration of a million people to Mars in less than a decade seems unrealistic. For that matter the whole thi...more
C
It's a very well-written, dense, fascinating book that explores the colonization of Mars from the first settlers, to established cities, to terraforming, and then to revolution. Lots of interesting science; the research alone must have taken years. It's about geography, politics, economics, various hard sciences, psychology, and pretty much everything else. The characters are strong and interesting; Robinson writes from a different perspective in each long chapter. He also gets my Not-Sexist Sea...more
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1858
Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, probably best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy.

His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the 15 years of research and lifelong fascination with Mars which culminated in his most famous work. He has, due to his...more
More about Kim Stanley Robinson...
Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, #2) Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3) The Years of Rice and Salt 2312 Forty Signs of Rain (Science in the Capitol, #1)

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“Beauty is power and elegance, right action, form fitting function, intelligence, and reasonability. And very often expressed in curves.” 23 likes
“We were outside the world, we didn't even own things -- some clothes. . . . This arrangement resembles the prehistoric way to live, and it therefore feels right to us, because our brains recognize it from 3 millions of years practicing it. In essence our brains grew to their current configuration in response to the realities of that life. So as a result people grow powerfully attached to that kind of life, when they get the chance to live it. It allows you to concentrate your attention on the real work, which means everything that is done to stay alive, to make things, or satisfy one's curiosity, or play. That is utopia.” 13 likes
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