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Icehenge

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,448 Ratings  ·  111 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 Stonehengebut 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 liv

...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 15th 1990 by Tor Books (first published October 1984)
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Darren Vincent
May 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 p
...more
Angela
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Meagan
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 a
...more
Thom
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 e
...more
Emilia Barnes
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, mystery, sci-fi
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 remi
...more
Mazzy
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).
Whil
...more
Lance
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
Christopher Hivner
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 s ...more
Rob
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...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 se ...more
Adam  McPhee
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 sub
...more
Tom Malinowski
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ryan Flett
This book was organized in a very unique way. The structure of the narrative deserves much praise.

That being said, I'm glad this book was short, because large chunks of it were very boring. Of the three parts the story is divided into, the first and third are excellent. The middle part, Hjalmar's part, is very redundant and irritating. The whole section was, "Hjalmar is an ass, he's old, living beyond your time puts you in a funk, blah blah blah," ad nauseum.

The payoff for how all three parts r
...more
Aljaž Podgornik
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 h
...more
Eric Schmidt
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 h
...more
Raj
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 in
...more
Steven
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 t ...more
KB
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.
Jenne
Apr 29, 2011 marked it as didnt-finish  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jimmy
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.
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!
Miki Habryn
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ian Turkstra
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Powerschnute
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Kim Stanley Robinsons Bücher und ich haben eine sehr angespannte Beziehung miteinander. Während mich eines seiner Bücher maßlos begeistern kann, schafft ein anderes mich zu Tode zu langweilen. Trotzdem klang der Klappentext so spannend, dass ich es einfach mal wieder ausprobieren musste. Und ich wurde dieses Mal nicht enttäuscht. Erstveröffentlicht wurde der Roman 1984, also fast 10 Jahre bevor er den ersten Band seiner Mars-Trilogie veröffentlicht hat. Überhaupt scheint das Buch keinen allzu gr ...more
Kasey Reese
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of my favourite authors, and having read his Mars Trilogy (Red Mars published in 1992, Green Mars published in 1993 and Blue Mars published in 1996), as well as several other books such as Aurora (published in 2015), 2312 (published in 2012), and Galileo's Dream (2009); I found myself delighted numerous times reading Icehenge (originally published in 1985) as I recognized themes and concepts which the author developed and wove into a number of his later works. For exa ...more
Kiril Valchev
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Айсхендж" е сред най-ранните книги на К.С.Робинсън (втората му, всъщност). Разделена е на три части.
В средата на XXIII век, Марс е на прага на революция, а група идеалисти се готвят да напуснат Слънчевата система. Инженер (протагонистът ни) описва събитията в дневника си.
300 години по-късно, ровейки се в пясъците на Марс, за да открие истината зад провалената революция, археолог попада на гореспоменатия дневник. От деветата планета пък (книгата е от 1984г. и Плутон все още не е понижен :D), д
...more
Andre Chiasson
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Early Book

Having read most of Robinson's recent work I've been going back to his earlier books. I haven't been disappointed. Although this is about Icehenge on Pluto, it is mainly set on and about Mars. It has been terraformed and the politics are problematic in the relationship with Earth and its superpowers. The Mars Trilogy written later, explores a different aspect of that story in much more detail. The mystery of Icehenge is intriguing. I found the transitions in the book a but jarring a
...more
Mike
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Icehenge contains 3 linked shorter works. They all have their weaknesses and strengths. I think I liked the middle one best, and probably the last one least, however there was not much between them. I found it rather more enjoyable than I thought I would. I might go back and reread the Robinson's Mars trilogy.
Zoran Zola
I love science fiction, but somehow the new writers are trying to make it more "human". The book covers four hundred years of the Martian "history". Regardless that human history is as muddled as the book suggest the future one will be, it is slightly odd to read it.
Summer
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I get what the book is trying to say about history and memory, and I like the insight. I really enjoyed the first 50 pages or so but after the time-jump and the POV switch, I just couldn't get back into it anymore.
Cynthia
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not much really to say about this one. The way it jumps about time-wise was a little disconcerting and threw the story off I felt.
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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.” 226 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.” 36 likes
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