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Red Lightning (Thunder and Lightning #2)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  946 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
The son of one of the first men to fly to Mars and back, Ray Garcia-Strickland is now a disgruntled Martian, tired of the Red Planet's overdevelopment and the gravity-dependent tourist Earthies. But that doesn't stop him from fearing the worst when Earth is struck by an unknown object, causing a massive tsunami. Living high on his father's glory was okay, but now Ray must ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Penguin Group US (first published 2006)
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Apr 09, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be on a genre-fiction kick, and this was a satisfying dose of exactly what I was looking for. Varley knows how to write a good story with interesting characters and some surprising twists. Near-future Mars is completely believeable. This medium-length yarn packs in a tsunami (on earth), an invasion, and a revolution.

Also, left me wanting to look for a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Heinlein fans will recognize a lot here - both in themes and characters - and I say that in the mo
Dec 20, 2012 Tamahome marked it as lemmed  ·  review of another edition

Read the first chapter. Seems fun. From a young guy's point of view, living on Mars. Classic first line: "Mars sucks." Seems in that juvenile Heinlein tradition. Maybe I should find the first book in the series. Not on audible.

Pg 65/328 (kindle ver has page num's yay) (9 hr read time?) I'm a little disappointed they went back to earth. But there's been a big disaster with their earth relatives. Now their uncle is talking about oranges. Zzz. It was written post 9/11, so it's fairly timely.

Pg 109/
Jul 29, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A very well written YA coming of age tale with an excellent illustration of the law of unintended consequences. The challenge is that it feels like a short story and a novella that were pasted together rather than a single cohesive story.
Jul 24, 2010 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having reviewed the first of this series (Red Thunder) and being pretty impressed, I quickly moved on to the second of John’s books in this series.

As I had hoped, this is an interesting novel with many of the pleasing attributes of the first. It is, in simple terms, Red Thunder: the Next Generation. The tale here moves on from Manny, Kelly, Dak and Travis to the teenage prodigy of Manny and Kelly. Now living on Mars and helping run Manny and Kelly’s Red Thunder Hotel, the tale is told in the fir
Mar 26, 2008 Raja99 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sfdg, hardcover-v
I read this because it's the SFDG book for today, April 24 2008.

My expectations were low because of notes from two SFDG members; one said that we were "masochists" for reading the book, and the other said it told a less enjoyable story than Red Thunder. Thus I was a bit surprised to like this book so much ;-).

One thing I like is that it's really two books that pretty much stand alone; almost exactly halfway through, it switches from being one book to being another, complete with several pages th
Kathy Davie
Jul 12, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, homey, young-adult
Second in the Red Thunder Young Adult science-fiction series set in a futuristic Earth, er, Mars.

As a result of Red Thunder, man has colonized Mars and enjoys almost free, everlasting power thanks to Jubal Broussard. A man kept prisoner in the Falkland Islands as a "security measure" for his protection.

The Story
This story has two parts both of which revolve around Jubal. In the first half, some thing from space suddenly strikes and skids along the Earth starting up a tsunami of disastrous propor
Jul 24, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I raced through this book but found it decreasingly interesting. This is, in fact, my least favorite Varley yet. Although it was published this year, it also reads as the most "old school" scifi of all his books. As in many Heinlein or other Grand Master books, his characters spend most of their time either explaining physics to each other or excitedly discussing what's wrong with the political landscape. In either case, the characters themselves are mere mouthpieces for the author. The main cha ...more
Revives the great pleasures I had when I first discovered sci-fi as a youth. Wonderful coming of age story from the perspective of a teenage boy, Ray, whose parents run a hotel at a colony on Mars. Something fast and massive hits the Atlantic, causing tsunamis that destroy most of the east coast of the U.S. Ray rises to the challenges associated with a trip by his family to Florida to try to rescue his grandmother and later an invasion of Mars by mercenary forces from Earth. In the process, he l ...more
Oct 06, 2008 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Andy by: I used to like Varley
Shelves: sf
I was looking forward to being thoroughly entertained. Outstanding premise, fascinating characters, and Mr. Varley always writes a good tale. For the 1st 1/4 of the book, it moved slowly, but he was establishing his characters, I'll give him that. Then, the next 1/4, we're slogging through a swamp, and I'm as tired as the characters. Where's the Science? Where's the fun? But it's a great tale of sacrifice and adventure, as people are trying to help other people in a disaster.
Then, he starts thro
Mar 27, 2011 Andreas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sequel to the wonderful Red Thunder does not disappoint. A generation after the events of Red Thunder, the children of Ray Garcia and Kelly Strickland are growing up on Mars. An unexplained impact in the Atlantic and a consequent tsunami to dwarf all previous tsunamis are catalysts for the action. But this is not a disaster novel. It’s a novel about how Ray Garcia-Strickland grows from just another teenager into a man. Told strictly in Varley’s favored first person, we see the world through ...more
Nov 14, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, John Varley sets out to prove that science fiction doesn't have to be a jumble of made up nonsense. Instead, he focuses on Ray, the son of Manny and Kelly from Red Thunder, and his friends and family, as they deal with the consequences of the first book. Ray has grown up on Mars, and probably the coolest "sci-fi" parts of the book are when Varley examines what people growing up in 1/3 of Earth's gravity would be like (taller, for one thing). The book also eerily examines the fallout ...more
The other John
Aug 04, 2008 The other John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This one's a sequel to Red Thunder, the story of how good, ol' American ingenuity beat the Chinese to Mars. (Well, okay, it was American ingenuity backed by the nigh magical invention of an idiot savant.) It's some twenty years later and two of those first humans on Mars have settled onto the Red Planet. They run a hotel. Humanity is reaching for the stars, while the less adventurous settle for an interplanetary vacation. The story, however, really doesn't deal with that. The focus of Red Lightn ...more
Apr 15, 2008 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love John Varley. He is one of the most readable SF authors, he's got a great sense of humor, and there is usually some kinky and/or steamy inter-special sex in his books. His Wizard/Titan/Demon series is one of my all-time faves, and I haven't read a book or short story of his that I haven't enjoyed. "Red Lightning" is a sequel of sorts to "Red Thunder" (which was better). Humans have been living on Mars for a generation. An alternative source of energy has been discovered that allows for unl ...more
I really don't qualify to write a review 'cause I've read less than 15 pages of this book and gave up, but I'll write one anyways. This book was like a slap in the face on my knowlegde on logic and science and I just couldn't read any further. His parents were one of the first people to land on mars... and just 10 years later they have built a functioning hotel?? and Don't give me the free energy bullcrap because it is a very vague idea the author put out. Even if the energy is there, humans are ...more
Marsha Johnson
This wasn't quite as exciting as Red Thunder, but it was still a good sequel. The author's note on the end about how he was originally writing about the tsunami striking exactly where it DID end up striking was a little scary, but like he fiction writers don't PREDICT the future, they just sometimes get lucky and have the future resemble their books.
I think the part that struck me the most about this book was the thought of what our country would really do in such a disaster. And
Roger Bailey
This actually seems to be two books in one. There is a lengthy description of the aftermath of a tsunami that hit the eastern seaboard of the United States and especially Florida. The devastation is tremendous and the story of one family that traveled through Florida is worth the reading of the book itself. The rest of the book concerns the effect of the tsunami and the fleeing of the character who was responsible for the technology that caused it on the colony on Mars. It seems that some really ...more
Jun 16, 2009 Goetz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost as good as Red Thunder. Again great characterization, the people come alive. I'll keep these two until my daughter is old enough to read them. I guess when she is 13, 14 it would a good age to start her on realistic SF with strong female (and male) characters and the topics of substance abuse, hangovers, sex, life... I do like that both these books do not shirk toilets, vomit, etc... these are parts of life. Some of the politics in here are interesting - quite existentialist, lots of self ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fine reading in Astounding/Analog tradition.

This and the other books in the series feel like Varley is channeling Heinlein - in a good way. I did enjoy it. The one (well, two) BIG idea(s) is/are fascinating to contemplate, even with the fantasy element that only one person has the "super-power" to manage the bubbles. Especially appealing to the Astounding/Analog lovers, and I'm exposing my age. There is nothing earth-shaking in style or philosophical impact - just a fine read.
I am looking forw
Apr 11, 2011 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book is a little more uneven, perhaps, than the first one in this trilogy. Dealing with the disaster in the early part of the book is a bit dark, but Varley's writing style makes it interesting. And the twists and turns from there take us all over the place, making for different feeling in the rest of the book. The first part reminded me of a lighter version of "Lucifer's Hammer", and the later part reminded me a bit of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Certainly not bad company to be i ...more
Mike Malaspina
Aug 02, 2007 Mike Malaspina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: science-fiction
Ray Strickland-Garcia is a Martian who's father was one of the first 5 people to visit the planet in a home made rocket. Ray and his family return to Earth after a disaster to search for loved ones. John Varley explores the ramifications of a catastrophy and the responsibility of those in power afterwards, scathingly accurate depictions of desperation and dereliction of duty are shockingly similar to the events of Hurricane Katrina. Especially considering the book was completed before the event. ...more
May 09, 2010 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, reviewed-2010
John Varley tells stories in what is probably my favorite way of telling science fiction stories - yes, there's science and yes, there's fiction. But it's not about the science and it's not about the fiction - it's about the people. It's about the human condition, and it's about the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Most importantly, it's about the consequences of our choices.

The particular choices and consequences are a direct effect of the actions of the characters in the first
A generation after the events of Red Thunder, the children of Ray & Kelly are living on Mars. Ray & Kelly are running a 4 star hotel. A fast moving object hits the Atlantic ocean causing a monster tidal wave. The first half of the book is a disaster scenario on the U.S. coastline as they travel through the devastation in search of Ray's mother at the Blast Off Motel. The rest of the book deals with once again trying to have the super technology that makes space and star travel possible, ...more
Mar 08, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2008
How many times have you read a good sex scene in a science fiction novel? Good, bad, or corny, here's one from RED LIGHTNING (note: the author is trying to be funny).

"My rendezvous probe was ready for another docking maneuver, and she guided me into her own fleshy capture latches, which were amazingly strong and versatile."

This post-coital moment is sort of funny.

"Afterward, we relaxed with a pipe of Phobos Red, reputed to be the best marijuana in the solar system. I wouldn't know; I'd never smo
Feb 11, 2009 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the sequel to Red Thunder. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first. I suppose the difference is that reduced sense of wonder I always experience with sequels. Anyway, the story continues with the son of the protagonist from the first book. The author's perspective on societal & social dysfunction and breakdown remains the same, and the characters overcome their adversaries through application of the usual grit, self-reliance and carrying a bigger stick. Particularly interes ...more
Jan 02, 2008 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I'd read John Varley since the early 1990s, when I was helping a friend who was taking a sci-fi lit course and I read short story "Air Raid." Until I'd already checked "Red Lightning" out of the library, I didn't know it was a sequel to "Red Thunder," but it stands alone just fine. Good stuff - the break between two very different halves in the novel kind of threw me a bit, and while there's a lot here that's been covered before (post-disaster survival; Mars settler uprisings), Var ...more
Steven Cole
Oct 29, 2010 Steven Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid, well written story (in two parts), but ultimately failed to recapture the magic of Red Thunder (the book one prior in this trilogy).

Part of that is due to the switch from the narrow focus of the first book (misfits fly to mars), with themes and story lines that involve two entire planets.

Our hero is also a lot whinier than the protagonists in the earlier book as well, so he's harder to like. (He's also probably much more like a *real* teenager for exactly the same reason.)

Clayton Yuen
Apr 08, 2012 Clayton Yuen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel by John Varley I am reading and it is an excellent way to start. Red Lightning is a great classical scifi story dealing with space travel, Mars and Earth, family and friends, disasters and ..... very cool scifi technology. I love these "space westerns" where there are confrontations and dilemmas, then very ingenious solutions. It is the basis of science fiction!

I give Red Lightning 5 stars for the fabulous story and concepts, the shoot 'em up action, and the mystery solve
Jul 31, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the first sentence, "Mars Sucks," the voice of the main character carries the narrative. I enjoyed the way current event mirrored the fictitious future ones portrayed in the book to create a more believable story. The only thing I didn't like about it was the writing of the dialog for Jubal, a scientist with a creole accent. It was too much to decode and could have been done more with grammar and less with word chunks. I would recommend this to anyone.
Sep 13, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picking up a couple decades after the first novel, this time the Garcia-Strickland family, now living on Mars must face the most colossal disaster the Earth has ever seen, deal with another new physics-defying invention and find a way to live with the unimaginable power that squeezer technology has unleashed upon humanity. ...more
Horia Ursu
A follow-up to Red Thunder, this novel did not manage to make me anxious to read the next installment in John Varley's series. Characters aren't that much interesting (maybe because they seem to be over-competent, again?), the plot is a bit hectic and there are too many ex-machina instances along the way. In all, a fun read, but not Varley's best.
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Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...

Other Books in the Series

Thunder and Lightning (4 books)
  • Red Thunder (Thunder and Lightning, #1)
  • Rolling Thunder (Thunder and Lightning, #3)
  • Dark Lightning (Thunder and Lightning, #4)

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