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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,657 ratings  ·  135 reviews
On the North Pole of Pluto there stands an enigma: a huge circle of standing blocks of ice, built on the pattern of Earth's Stonehenge--but ten times the size, standing alone at the farthest reaches of the Solar System. What is it? Who came there to build it?

The secret lies, perhaps, in the chaotic decades of the Martian Revolution, in the lost memories of those who have
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by Orb Books (first published October 1984)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  1,657 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-ksr
Once we were taut bowstrings, vibrant on the bow of mortality — now the bow has been unstrung, and we lie limp, and the arrow has clattered to the ground.

Now that’s KSR that I love! Written in the spirit of Mars trilogy, it takes place in the same universe; could be regarded as a branch, if you disregard the minor discrepancies between the two.

Icehenge consists of 3 intertwined stories, each one with its own PoV, written at first person. I won’t make a summary – the blurb is highly accurate -,
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, mars
Icehenge, Kim Stanley Robinson's second-published novel, is an interesting artifact (that tells the story of an interesting artifact). It's comprised of three loosely-connected novellas spanning some 400 years of our solar system's future, and in a lot of ways it feels like an early proof-of-concept for KSR's celebrated Mars Trilogy.

My copy, while not a first edition, is a battered mass-market paperback printed in 1990, and it's clear Tor's marketers weren't quite sure what to do with this
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Icehenge is one of my favorite books that I will completely understand if you don't love. Just looking at its Goodreads reviews, it appears to draw quite a mix, either dislike or love, very little in between. Kim Stanley Robinson is also one of my favorite authors of whom I also loathe some of his books, so there's that. And I like that he's so ambitious I have such a visceral reaction to some of the ones I don't like. Here's why I love it:

1. A wide ranging look at semi-near future history and
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this! It is great for people who can't get enough of KSR's Mars trilogy. It's a much earlier imagining of some of the ideas that he must have developed over years of research in order to write those later books with his amazing attention to detail. At the same time, it's a completely different kind of thing - a science fiction book that is also a mystery. We see the story told through the experiences of three characters, each story set hundreds of years apart.

In this universe people can
Darren Vincent
May 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
This is the worst book I have read this year, and is quite possibly a top five choice for the last five years.

This book was either as bad as I thought it was or it was way too smart for me, which is quite possible. I knew that I should have bailed on this book about 1/4 of the way into it, but I decided to stick around because I was hoping that the ending would tie everything together with a clever twist or revelation. The more I hung around, the more I realized that there were fewer and fewer
Peter Tillman
I don't have much memory of the book, but in looking for my notes, if any ("Nice", I wrote, in 1993), I came across this little-known tribute:

Spirits in the Night
by Michael Swanwick
Ginhenge, a landmark on Pluto "was discovered in 2301 by Tristram Lee Robinson, a wealthy sportsman..." KSR is a pal of Swanwick's, and this is an amusing vignette. Be careful what you wish for! And of tasting, at -208 deg C....
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Part mystery, part political, this is three novellas that are interconnected. They look at a single event from different perspectives of age, and leave the reader to resolve the answer in the end - possibly with another mystery.

In this version of the future, lifespans have been increased far beyond today (500 years is not uncommon), and humanity has populated many places in the solar system, including many bases on Mars. A terraforming project is underway behind the scenes also, because by the
David (דוד)
Rating: 2.33

A political science-fiction mystery, although disappointing. Kim Stanley Robinson shows himself as a promising to-be-writer for those times though (1984), when the book was first published, with his good writing style. The mystery is good, but opens up into a not-so-great an ending. The book can be very interesting for someone who ventures into science fiction for the first time. This is a story, in which mankind has settled on Mars and the asteroid belt, a couple of centuries in the
Emilia Barnes
In 2248 A.D. Emma Weir, a life support systems experts on a mining expedition from Mars, discovers that there's a mutiny forming.

Three hundred years later, Hjalmar Nederland, an archeologist, uncovers the historical relics of what had happened during that mutiny.

And fifty years after that Edmund Doya is ready to dismantle every conclusion Nederland had come to.

The stories of the three main characters are told consecutively, and all lead to the solution to the central mystery: a structure
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Icehenge is about longevity and memory; archeology, history, mystery and conspiracy; the urge for exploration and scientific explanation as well as starships; power and corruption; politburo, rebellion and oligarchy.
It actually consists of three novellas, all autobiographical accounts, many years apart and inherently connected. Reading the second and especially third part of the story (/novella) is a great meta-reading experience by providing a so far unexpected view of the previous part(s).
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Golden-Age fans
"Once we were taut bowstrings, vibrant on the bow of mortality - now the bow has been unstrung, and we lie limp, and the arrow has clattered to the ground."

Icehenge is a really well-written example of Golden Age science fiction literature, with many of the grand ideas and detailed social analysis so characteristic of Asimov mixed with the grand mind-scapes of Le Guin and Clarke. The prose is beautiful, yet Robinson is one author whose interesting ideas have often been given immortality by other,
Christopher Hivner
May 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a novel I just couldn't get into, so much so I gave up and never finished it. It's well written from a technical standpoint and a clever idea but the middle portion of the book didn't hold my interest. The book is divided into 3 distinct parts. In the first, a mining vessel is converted into a craft capable of leaving the solar system by Americans and Russians who don't agree with the governing body in charge of Mars. Their way of getting out from under an oppressive regime is to find ...more
Adam  McPhee
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Almost a prequel to KSR's amazing Mars Trilogy.

Three novellas about a mutiny, a planned interstellar journey, a strange monument left behind on Pluto and their consequences for historians of Mars.

I liked Emma Weil's tampering with designs for a bacterial life support system, that's the sort of thing I love in science fiction. Doya's listless, tramp-like lifestyle and Nederland's exploration of what it's like to age beyond the natural human lifespan were also great. Kind of typical Robinson
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
...I liked this book a lot when I first read it and this second read has probably raised my admiration of the author another notch. It's a very well constructed tale, designed to make the reader doubt, puzzle and think. Icehenge is a good read for people who enjoyed the author's Mars trilogy but it's also a good place to start if you are not sure you're ready for three large volumes of detail on the red planet. Personally I loved the descriptive passages in those books but quite a few readers ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More philosophical than the other Robinson I've read. And given its age its prose is naturally somewhat clunkier than his later work. But all in all, a wonderful meditation on the nature of memory and personal identity. The essential conceit is that, in the novel's future, medicine extends the human lifespan to many, many centuries. But an individual only really remembers what happened over the course of a natural lifetime. So everyone becomes a kind of literal autobiographer. It's hard to say ...more
Tom Malinowski
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
In the 23rd century a mutiny happens aboard a starship. 300 years later, while excavating a collapsed dome on Mars, a journal is found that may have ties to the starship from so long ago as well as to the recent discovery of huge monoliths of ice on Pluto.

This sci-fi/mystery is a fast, intelligent read.
2nd read - 1 April 2011. Fix-up novel.

1st read - 5 November 1987.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Interesting how KSR right from the beginning was into the very things he'd explore in more successful novels - both terraforming and exploring the solar system, but also what happens to humans who live for hundreds of years, how our brains and our cultures and our societies might handle living essentially forever. He'd do that better in future novels, Icehenge gets a little too fascinated with its own history and in the end sort of fizzles out. But an interesting dry run nonetheless.
Tim Gunter
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-z-2019
Have you ever read a book, and once you finished it thought to yourself, 'was there even a point to all of that?'. That was exactly what I experienced by the time I forced myself to finish with this one. Maybe I didn't get it, that's possible, but a book where the entire thing feels like it ends in the realm of 'the truth is subjective and who knows what's real' just is not for me.
Aljaž Podgornik
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I personally liked this book. But I don't think I could recommend it , as it doesn't have any real closure to any plot point.

In general I dislike books that don't have a clear ending, but I didn't mind it here as I think that the book is about uncertainty of our knowledge, especially about historical facts. I think that the author wants us to think about how we can never really confirm that our current observations and beliefs are correct and won't be "corrected" in the future.

However the book
Eric Schmidt
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really have very little "negative" to say about Icehenge. I suppose Kim Stanley Robinson is guilty of some clunky prose, and that the middle novella is stronger than the bookends. But frankly, I'm so blown away by the ideas here that any criticisms like that would be missing the point.

This is high concept science fiction. Without giving away any plot surprises, I'll note that the backdrop for the story (which spans some 500 years) is a colonial Martian police state - one where gerontologists
Jens Rushing
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A minor work from KSR's early period that actually proved deceptively huge. In the 24th century, a formation of giant ice liths is discovered on Pluto. Who built it, why? Expeditions are launched, research is conducted, but the quest to discover the origin is almost irrelevant; this is a story about history and historicity; how do we know what we know? How is history used, and by whom, to shape political ends, and how do those ends shape history in return? What does the fight over truth actually ...more
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: speculative, reviewed
After reading 2321 and Aurora, and watching a lot of his talks and interviews on YouTube, Kim Stanley Robinson propelled himself to the forefront of my favorite authors. That is because he combines different persona in such an interesting way: a great observer of humanity, a sharp scientific mind, a poet, and a radical, utopian dreamer. I want to read everything he wrote, and so I started one of his first novels. Does Icehenge hold up to his most recent work?


Please click here to read the
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This is a book about memory, and what happens to it when humans start living four or five times their "natural" lifespan. Set in the solar system in the 22nd and 25th centuries, a giant monument is found on Pluto. Could it be the key to a forgotten rebellion on Mars?

Even early in his career, Robinson (who would later write the Mars Trilogy) seemed interested in Mars, hence a large chunk of this book being set there, and some aspects of the later series being foreshadowed here. The book raises
Apr 29, 2011 marked it as didnt-finish
Shelves: sf
I was into it at first, but then I realized this is one of those books where they tell the story by changing narrators all the time. (and not going back to them, either)
And sometimes that can be OK, but with full-on "hard SF" like this, I really need some characters that I care about in order to make me interested in the idea part.
And if I have to keep starting over caring about people every time we switch narrators, eventually I will just give up.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you enjoy dense and interminably ruminative text with no payoff, as well as exceptionally unsatisfying book endings, then this is the novel for you.

The intriguing and exciting set-up in the story's opening is a misdirect that ultimately leads to nothing of interest for an invested reader. Furthermore, the eponymous "Icehenge" doesn't even appear until approximately halfway through the book.

My recommendation: life is too short to waste time on reading books like this.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
I just could not get into this book. It was a great idea when I read it on the back cover, but the author's writing is BORING! I only made it to page 50 before I gave up. I may come back to it later.
Ian Turkstra
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quite a slow read for me to get through but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Guessed the ending with about 20% left in the book and liked the way the author tied everything together in the last 15 pages!
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
It reads like a dry run for what I remember of Red Mars, but blessedly much shorter. I did appreciate how unpleasant the various lead characters were.
Nicola Di Padova
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started a bit slow...but the second half is frikkin' amazing!! Love this and love KSR, can't wait to read more from this autor this year!
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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
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“It was that sort of sleep in which you wake every hour and think to yourself that you have not been sleeping at all; you can remember dreams that are like reflections, daytime thinking slightly warped.” 242 likes
“And in this curious state I had the realization, at the moment of seeing that stranger there, that I was a person like everybody else. That I was known by my actions and words, that my internal universe was unavailable for inspection by others. They didn't know. They didn't know, because I never told them.” 37 likes
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