Terry's Reviews > Red Mars

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Jan 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, audiobook, science-fiction
Read from January 21 to 28, 2012 , read count: 1

I liked Red Mars for two main reasons:
1) The characters are well developed. You get to know them in a way that rarely happens in science fiction where characters are much more disposable especially when a narrative spans 40 years. After the first half, I felt able to know what Hiroku, Arkady, John, and Frank would largely do and the deviations from this were well done.

2) The author did his homework and this background improves the experience for the reader. Two cataclysms occur in the book that are both imaginative and detailed in their aftermath and the descriptions of destruction and beautiful in their correctness. (Deliberate vagueness to avoid spoilers).

This homework is seen in a thousand little things like picking up the utility of Arabic in a desert-like landscape, the chemistry of some of the building materials and the modifications made to things to accommodate Martian g. The author creates his own just so stories to explain the features of Mars which are realistic enough that I think an imaginative Martian parent could use them well.

The second comes at the cost of some clarity. I had no concept of where anything took place as location names are explained once and relative positions of something about a sphere get somewhat messy. Also, the author uses the shortcut of telling us what a character is thinking rather than showing it in enough cases that he's either avoiding words, is being kind to the reader, or is unsure of how to do it.

The end leaves an opening for the second book but I don't feel compelled to have to read it just this minute which is polite to ones audience.
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