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Finches of Mars

2.44  ·  Rating details ·  328 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
‘My final Science Fiction novel’ - Brian Aldiss

Brian Aldiss has announced that this book, Finches of Mars, will be his final science fiction novel. And what a way to end one of the most illustrious careers in the genres.

Set on the Red Planet, it follows the stories of a group of colonists and the problems they have in setting up a new society. Life can be sustained by new
Paperback, 187 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Open Road Integrated Media (first published 2012)
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Aug 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
I am thoroughly disappointed.

There are a few parts of the novel that I can latch onto and say, "Yes, this snippet seems fairly interesting," but they are too few and far between, suffering from either a lack of imagination or a serious review of what good authors have already accomplished over the last two decades when dealing with the familiar topic of Mars colonization.

Even that might have been forgivable if the common thread tying each snippet had been strong enough to make me want to keep re
Text Addict
I would like to be able to say something nice about what is (according to his own statement) to be Mr. Aldiss’ last work of science fiction, but this present year is still 2015, and I expect quite a lot more of my SF than I found here. The book contains no plot, only a series of incidents culminating in what I will gently call a “classic” deus ex machina cop-out. The book contains no characters, only paper dolls draped in quirks and pushed about by impulses that neither they nor we have a chance ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Synopsis: Omnipresent war, resource depletion, and overpopulation rule a dystopian 22nd century vision of our Earth. Universities set out to rescue humanity. They found six colonies on Mars, their colonists choosen from the best, severe restrictions like no religion and no pets at all imposed upon them, and they know that it is a one-way trip. All hope seems to be lost when they find that all children are stillborn. But then, they find life-forms on Mars.

Analysis: SF Grandmaster Brian W. Aldiss
Bea Pires
Sep 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galley, 2013
Despite Brian W. Aldiss' huge presence in sci-fi, I came into Finches of Mars not knowing his work and with no expectations whatsoever so, while I can't say I was disappointed, like other reviewers, I will say I disliked the book.

Finches had a good premise and several good ideas which is what, I think, ended up shooting this book in the foot. My impression was that most of the time the author was trying so hard to express every single thought and idea, that the story itself completely lost its f
Mar 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

Publisher: Open Road

Publishing Date: August 2015

ISBN: 9781504005890

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publisher Description: Doomed by overpopulation, irreversible environmental degradation, and never-ending war, Earth has become a fetid swamp. For many, Mars represents humankind’s last hope. In six tightly clustered towers on the red planet’s surface, the colonists who have escaped their dying home world are attempting to make a new life unencumbered by the corrupti
Lis Carey
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
This is not an easy book.

Humans have established a colony on Mars. It's driven and funded by an international consortium of universities--the United Universities, or UU. The colony consists of six towers, of which the West, Chinese, and Sud-Am towers figure most prominently in the story. The colonists have been chosen for atheism and emotional stability. It's not altogether clear that they succeeded on the second point. Among the odd choices made is that the colonists get assigned computer-gener
Jon Mountjoy
Purportedly the last book by this great author, which is perhaps why I expected it to be an outstanding book. If you know you're writing your last book, you may want to put everything into it. It must be a tricky situation, and I don't envy the author.

Sadly, this will not be a book I would remember him by. There are far better ones by this author.

It wasn't a convincing book at all. The speculation of life on Mars just couldn't be believed. He may have stood a chance if he selected a different pl
Jul 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great premise--stranded colony on Mars faces existential threat--but clunky writing and technical errors discourage reading.


“… high-kneed gait the lessor gravity of Mars encouraged.” No, look at the moon walkers.
“Such water as there was flowed…” No, such water as is on Mars is frozen. Unlike the Earth, Mars does not have a warm core.

“…left leg enclosed in plaster…” Plaster? For a broken leg on Mars? When everything else is so high-tech?

“It was Rooy who spoke next. ‘…?” he said. No nee
Artur Coelho
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A acreditar no que se lê sobre este livro, é com esta vénia que Brian Aldiss despede-se da ficção científica. E que vénia. Finches of Mars é FC depurada, mais próxima do experimentalismo literário legado ao género pela New Wave do que da rígida estrutura narrativa entre aventura e infodump que caracteriza a maior parte desta literatura. O enredo é traçado com grandes pinceladas, sem mergulhar em pormenorizações. Se este livro fosse um quadro, seria uma obra impressionista. Ou uma paisagem abstra ...more
Apr 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015-rev, reviewed

1.5 stars

A set of six vaguely nationalist colonies have been established on Mars, reliant on precarious assistance from a coalition of universities on a fractious, threatened Earth. Despite extensive social planning, life on Mars is difficult. Reproduction has so far proven impossible.

I've read a number of Brian Aldiss' books over the years. While I've never really been taken with any of them, they've left behind a memory of intellectual musing - of a submerged quality o
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I look back over the legendary Brian Aldiss' Science Fiction works, it will be with fond memories; as I'm sure it will be for many others, who have had the pleasure of reading them. It also pleases me to think that there are still many that I am yet to read. It then becomes all the more unfortunate, that Finches of Mars will be his last. It provides a good piece of trivia for future pub quizzes, but sadly this book falls short in many ways.
At around two hundred pages in length, it's rathe
Casey Wheeler
I received a republication copy of this book (August 4, 2015) through NetGalley with the understanding that I would publish are review on my blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google + pages along with NetGalley, Amazon and Goodreads.

I requested this book because I am interested in science fiction and I have never read any of the books by Brian Aldiss. This is to be his final book and I thought that I would give it a try based on the ratings of several of his other novels.

I must confess that
Ray Palen
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Aldiss provides a mostly speculative vision of what life on Mars would all be about.

Earth has become mostly uninhabitable due to a number of reasons ---over-population, constant warfare and lack of natural resources. A small grouping of humans is sent to begin colonizing Mars. They live in 6 separate towers and face the challenges of life on a new planet --- breathing, no above-ground oceans, climate, etc.

Of course, life on Mars brings it's on woes --- the most puzzling is the fact that every ba
Aug 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
It's been a long, LONG time since I have abandoned a book part-way through (1998 'The Two Towers' - Tolkien) but I have admitted defeat with this one. I had great hopes for it, but I found it extremely dull. The premise is interesting, and having loved 'The Martian Chronicles', I looked forward to a new take on the colonisation of Mars, but the characters were 2 dimensional, there's no hint of a plotline that I can see, and it reads as flat and tedious as a blandly written science paper by someo ...more
Ray Ellis
Nov 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate the idea of giving a one star review to a Brian Aldiss book, but this was truly awful. If it had been written in the 1950s, I would say it had aged badly. But it was written in 2012. Not a great note for such a great writer to end on. Four hours of my life that I won't get back. And yes, I know, I should have just stopped reading when it became very obvious that it wouldn't get better (about 1 or 2 very short chapters in).

The premise is a Mars colony set up by the brightest and best from
Dec 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Read it, sort of: I gave up on this book halfway through. I kept hoping it would get better but it didn’t.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kat-c
Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

In accordance with current FTC Guidelines, please let it be known this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

At first glance, The Finches of Mars seems to be riding the wave of popularity from other near-future space exploration books like Andy Weir’s The Martian. In the first few chapters it becomes clear that this is not at all the case. Author Brian W. Aldiss is a long-standing giant in the world of science fi
Clare O'Beara
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, dystopian
The finches referred to in the title, are the Galapagos finches which helped Darwin to understand that birds had evolved to suit specific circumstances and were equipped to survive in particular locations.

Aldiss, whose major work was the Helliconia trilogy, says that this will be his last book. It seems to me that he is now not concerned about possibly offending anyone and so he says again what SF has been saying for generations - Earth is doomed to die from overpopulation.
He presents a stagge
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

I grew up around a lot of science fiction as a kid/teen: Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova and, of course, Brian Aldiss. When I saw that this was to be the great man's last science fiction novel, I had to take a walk down memory lane and see what he had in store.

Sadly, the truth is that this was not a great read. There were flashes of his best works but they were just that - momentary sh
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
It seems grandmaster Brian Aldiss at one time declared that Finches of Mars would be his last science fiction novel. He has since published a mainstream fiction novel - Comfort Zone. He has had an amazingly long writing career spanning from the 1950s until now, but is best known as the leading British writer and editor of New Wave Science Fiction in the 1960s and 70s.

In this short novel, a colony has been established on Mars, consisting of six towers filled with academics from a declining Earth.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this 2 stars. I feel bad about what I am going to say. So I will start with my bad thoughts. What is the deal with short books lately? If your going to provide all these grand little tidbits and then < >, see that empty space.That is what happens to the grand little tidbits. Nothing. At first I thought, religion? really? Not in the mood. Then I thought, childbirth on a new planet, well that's interesting. Trying to live on Mars, that's interesting. Sustaining said colony, ...more
Owain Lewis
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, this was a bit of a wade. It's an odd one to go out on, if this was actually his last Scifi title. I found I didn't really give a shit about anything that was going on. Really, I only pushed through out of a sense of duty to the grand old master of British Scifi. Aldiss has written so much that you can allow him the odd dud now and again. The problem is, when you announce that it's your final title in the genre people are going to expect some kind of grand summing up. And I suppose that's ...more
Peter Dunn
This really reeled me in into its melancholic tale of Martian colonisation. There was a simple elegant scientific reason behind the colony’s sorrow and the narrative and characters were strong. OK there is a bit of a pointless distraction in the shape of something called a “normon” which seems to veer from being a particle to an amino acid, but overall it was shaping up to be one of Aldiss’s greatest books, and then a visit to the colony suddenly dissolves it all into a big puddle of drivel. Dee ...more
Ben Thurley
Jul 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Leaden characterisation. 'Plot' consisting of things that happen (some on Mars, some on Earth, some bearing some sign that they bear some narrative relationship to some of the other things that happen). Tired and sexist tropes. World-building almost literally by-the-numbers.

I almost gave Finches of Mars an extra star for being mercifully short. Almost.
Ted Cross
The book has some interesting ideas but does not make for a good story overall. To me it seems like a story that only got published because of who the author was, i.e. if I submitted this story under my name the publishers would have rejected it. It is full to the brim with exposition and the few human interactions in the story feel paper-thin in characterization.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review is from 2013 and I just discovered today I had never posted it on Goodreads. Review written before the release of Andy Weir's The Martian.

This colonization story takes a somewhat different approach to the story of a Mars colony than the typical science fiction book does. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series is the gold standard of Mars colony fiction in my opinion, but this book seems to spend more time on philosophy than on colonization. The author never explains how the towers where
Anne Lydolf
Apr 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just a mess. Nothing felt completely connected. The conversations were awkward and every time anyone opened their mouths all I could thing was "urgh". Furthermore, there was a lot of randomly inserted, non-relevant sexual scenes. No warning, no buildup, no relevance, just sex for the sex appeal. All in all this was difficult to get through.
Ross Mcneil
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was a real struggle for me. I have never read any of Aldiss' previous work so can't judge based on this book alone. There was so much work spent in character development - some things that to me just didn't need to be said. Overall I enjoyed the read, but it just didn't grab me. Seemed like we spent the whole book building to an ending and then it just kind of happened.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ugh! This one was miserable to get through. The author is a good writer, but this particular story was terrible. It manages a paltry star because it was refreshingly weird once or twice, but even that wasn't enough to save this time sink.
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Brian W. Aldiss A...: New novel - Finches of Mars 1 10 Jun 04, 2013 03:01AM  
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss was one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative lite
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