The Martian Race
The Martian Race plays the trick of moving forward from two points in the story at once, alternating between chapters about the prelaunch to Mars and the preparation for return. The drama is all about wheth ...more
An international consortium has offered a $30 billion prize to the first team to complete a successful manned mission to Mars. When a disaster forces NASA out of the contest, an American entrepreneur steps in and essentially turns the mission into a hugely successful r ...more
Congress just couldn't stomach NASA's estimated $450 billion price tag to send a manned mission to Mars. So the USA and a group of other interested countries agreed on a different approach - a $30 billion prize to the first people that went to Mars and returned with a completed set of specified scientific explorations including geologic mapping, seismic testing, studies of atmospheric phenomena, core samples and, of course, searches for ...more
Nicholas Sansbury Smith continues his exciting series with this second book, Extinction Edge. At the close of Extinction Horizon, we are told there is a cure or rather that Dr. Lovato has created a “larger monster.” We expect things to go much better on Plum Island and the rebuilding of civilization can begin. Uh, no!
Lovato sets the “larger monster” loose in the U.S. killing off most of the varian ...more
The narrator is quite good at capturing both male and female voices, including the ...more
Actually it deals with the first two missions, as the political collapse of NASA opens the way for two independantly funded private ventures to mount missions to be the first to send manned expeditions to Mars and return. The winner claiming billions of dollars in prizemoney.
As in most of the other novels Be ...more
Unfortunately, this causes the plot to slow to a crawl, as Benford runs through what feels like a xeno-biological primer. Up to this point, though, The Martian Race is a taut and quite believable account of how priva ...more
So, let's consider that when this was written, 2015 and 2018 (the prima ...more
In the early 21st century, after NASA's Mars program has been grounded because of a Challenger-like catastrophe, a $30 billion prize is announced to be awarded to the first private organization that can land a spaceship on Mars, do serious science and return in one piece. Enter John Axelrod, eccentric billionaire and space aficionado. His Consortium launches a bare-bones Mars expedition that is closely followed by a Chinese-European attempt, and the race for Mars is on.
It didn't displace Timescape as my favorite science fiction novel, but it's certainly high up on the list.
The story arc on Martian life felt like an interesting blend of a modern Kim Stanley Robinson style of explaining science and SF Golden age romanticism.
As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare wit ...more