Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)” as Want to Read:
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  42,714 Ratings  ·  1,843 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
Mass Market Paperback, 572 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Spectra (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Red Mars, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

blakeR I'm not sure I understand the question completely but I would argue that fact is given priority over fiction here. Characters are thin and the story,…moreI'm not sure I understand the question completely but I would argue that fact is given priority over fiction here. Characters are thin and the story, while interesting, sort of plays out like any colonial history. Fascinating for me as a history buff, but maybe not for someone who prefers literary narrative.(less)
Jon I read "Rendezvous with Rama" some years ago. I just started reading "Red Mars". The Rama books (four in all) might seem a bit slow and enigmatic.…moreI read "Rendezvous with Rama" some years ago. I just started reading "Red Mars". The Rama books (four in all) might seem a bit slow and enigmatic. Especially the first novel. But that is exactly what is so fascinating about them. "Rama" is a huge, ancient spacecraft, passing by the Earth. But where does it come from, what is its purpose and WHO are the "`Ramans"? I would recommend "Rama" to any science fiction fan. (less)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
65th out of 5,497 books — 18,373 voters
Dune by Frank HerbertEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Best Science Fiction
55th out of 2,097 books — 3,258 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 17, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Henry Avila
Nov 16, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it
When primitive man looked up at the heavens wondering what that red light was, during the cold nights, trying to keep warm in the long dark, they told stories around the camp fires, about the mysterious object, the best liars and fables, were remembered and from generation to generation these tales were believed, until modern times. Even at the start of the twentieth century, some astronomers saw canals on the red planet. But progress continues to roll relentlessly, and science catches up and du ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Cassie rated it it was ok
Shelves: hated-it
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

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
Nov 13, 2007 Jamie rated it it was ok
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
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
Apr 01, 2008 Paxnirvana rated it did not like it
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
Jul 30, 2009 Willray rated it did not like it
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
Charles Dee Mitchell
Mar 16, 2011 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-sf
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
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
Dec 27, 2007 Mitch rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 17, 2016 Nathaniel rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, gave-up-on
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
Jul 03, 2007 Lobeck rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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
Jun 14, 2013 Apatt rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2015 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf

Red Mars is a big book in many ways. The first of a trilogy it imagines the first few decades of colonisation of Mars. It's a well thought out book taking into account the complexity of politics and religions that shape our life on Earth and how these divisions in human society will also affect life on Mars. Can I also whisper that I also found it just a little bit boring and slow in places. Not because of the detail that Robinson goes into describing the colonisation process, the geography and
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:


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
Jul 10, 2008 Mykle rated it really liked it
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
J.L.   Sutton
Aug 06, 2015 J.L. Sutton rated it it was amazing
Red Mars is a fantastic beginning to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy. The book is part science, part character study and a lot of adventure as mankind colonizes (and begins to change) the red planet. But it's not just Mars which is changed. Those who colonize Mars are profoundly impacted by the new environment as are the next generation (the real Martians who might be part of mankind's future?). Red Mars is not always an easy read, but it has a big payoff for those who stick with it! And the ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-ksr
A stunning sociological and political sci-fi novel, following the first people on Mars and their struggles in establishing the colonies.

In each part, the narrator is focusing on a different character, observing her/him and the others through her/his eyes and the interaction between them. Religions, political views, personal beliefs, petty schemes, anguish, lust, love, selfishness, etc – are all observed through the participants’ eyes. You’ll be amazed by the colonists’ behavior and the results
Dec 28, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Hillary Hall
Oct 05, 2007 Hillary Hall rated it really liked it
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
Fantasy Literature
May 19, 2016 Fantasy Literature rated it it was amazing
When the First Hundred arrive on Mars, they find a beautiful red planet that’s all but untouched by humanity. What should they paint on this amazing canvas?

The question turns out to be very political, and the discussion of politics in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars perhaps begins with ecology. The relationship between people and their environment is introduced when the Martian settlers consider whether they should change the red planet to suit human needs. Ann Clayborne maintains that they shou
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.
Oct 01, 2015 Jeraviz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Tengo la sensación de que, en el futuro cuando el ser humano llegue a Marte, esta historia se convertirá en un libro de culto.
¿Por qué? Porque Kim Stanley Robinson realiza aquí un tratado social, psicológico, político, geográfico y moral de la existencia de seres humanos en Marte.
En ocasiones he tenido la sensación de leer un libro de historia de lo que ocurrió en ese planeta hace años, en otras, un estudio arquitectónico de cómo construir una lugar habitable en Marte.
Todo esto es muy bonito e i
Nov 27, 2013 F.R. rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2013 Sesana rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Martin holley
Sep 11, 2008 Martin holley rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2015 Ivan added it
Shelves: sci-fi
DNF @ 50%
Reviewed on my blog - Books by Proxy

4 Stars

Following a resurgence in popularity this year, it was about time I jumped on the bandwagon and showed some appreciation for the Red Planet. I picked up a copy of Red Mars after it became Book of the Month for Dragons and Jetpacks and, having heard very mixed reviews, wasn't sure which way it would swing for me. But I'm so glad I got on that Mars train because this is truly a science fiction epic - dazzlingly real, daunting in its scope and scale, and
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Stations of the Tide
  • Moving Mars (Queen of Angels, #3)
  • No Enemy But Time
  • Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1)
  • Mars
  • The Healer's War
  • The Quantum Rose (Saga of the Skolian Empire, #6)
  • The Falling Woman
  • A Time of Changes
  • Slow River
  • Helliconia Spring (Helliconia, #1)
  • The Terminal Experiment
  • The Cassini Division (The Fall Revolution, #3)
  • Timescape
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3)
  • Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1)
  • A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2)
  • Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)
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 about Kim Stanley Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Mars Trilogy (3 books)
  • Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, #2)
  • Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3)

Share This Book

“Beauty is power and elegance, right action, form fitting function, intelligence, and reasonability. And very often expressed in curves.” 32 likes
“Science was many things, Nadia thought, including a weapon with which to hit other scientists.” 21 likes
More quotes…