I found this book to be intensely frustrating, because I had such a love hate relationship with it On one hand, I was fascinated to learn all about the colonization of Mars, the various technologies used, and I really loved seeing what the scientists came up with to develop the planet Likewise, I enjoyed reading about the experience of exploring the planet s surface and learning about it s unique geography The landscape descriptions are breathtaking It s such a shame that I hated just about every single character in this book Certainly I spent the majority of it irritated at the three characters who form the main love triangle of the book I didn t find the numerous descriptions of zero low gravity sex to be meaningful, interesting, or even vaguely erotic and I found myself longing to reach into the pages to slap the main character, whose name eludes me because she was memorable only as being emotional and attractive Ick.This book would be five stars, if not for the awful characters that people it The descriptions of political alliances that form, the debate over what you should do with a newly habitable planet, and the arguments over whether or not people should even be there, trying to make it habitable are all worth reading It s a tribute to the author s skill that, even with me hating everybody in it as much as I did, I was still willing to read through 572 incredibly dense pages in order to find out what happens. In His Most Ambitious Project To Date, Award Winning Author Kim Stanley Robinson Utilizes Years Of Research Cutting Edge Science In The St Of A Trilogy Chronicling The Colonization Of Mars For Eons, Sandstorms Have Swept The Desolate Landscape For Centuries, Mars Has Beckoned Humans To Conquer Its Hostile Climate Now, In , A Group OfColonists Is About To Fulfill That DestinyJohn Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers Arkady Bogdanov Lead A Terraforming Mission For Some, Mars Will Become A Passion Driving Them To Daring Acts Of Courage Madness For Others It Offers An Opportunity To Strip The Planet Of Its Riches For The Genetic Alchemists, It Presents A Chance To Create A Biomedical Miracle, A Breakthrough That Could Change All We Know About Life Death The Colonists Orbit Giant Satellite Mirrors To Reflect Light To The Surface Black Dust Sprinkled On The Polar Caps Will Capture Warmth Massive Tunnels, Kilometers Deep, Will Be Drilled Into The Mantle To Create Stupendous Vents Of Hot Gases Against This Backdrop Of Epic Upheaval, Rivalries, Loves Friendships Will Form Fall To Pieces For There Are Those Who Will Fight To The Death To Prevent Mars From Ever Being ChangedBrilliantly Imagined, Breathtaking In Scope Ingenuity, Red Mars Is An Epic Scientific Saga, Chronicling The Next Step In Evolution, Creating A World In Its Entirety It Shows A Future, With Both Glory Tarnish, That Awes With Complexity Inspires With Vision Update I found my copies on eBay Now, let s hope they get here Son of a damn it I was surprised I loved the hell outta this book and of course I can t find my paperback copy I listened to this on the library s audio and I swear it better not have ended up in the trade in box I want the other two books in the old cover like this one I m supposed to own I went to order them and they changed the damn covers I mean the new covers are pretty FINE But I want the the covers like the one I had have Looked on one online used store and they have the hardbacks in good condition, which means shit condition Besides, I want the mass markets I can only hope my used bookstore has them when I can ever get over there Anyway, that was an impromptu rant So, I loved it I want all three in the covers I want The end Mel Christmas 2010 I realised that I had got stuck in a rut I was re reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works Something had to be done.On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci Fi award That s 35 books, 6 of which I d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life so far.Strictly speaking,Red Marswasn t part of my reading list as it didn t win the Locus Sci Fi award Bujold s Barrayar beat it to the 1992 award But it s the first book in Robinson s Mars Trilogy, and as the secondGreenand third Blue books both were on the list for winning the award, I felt I needed to readRed Marsto properly appreciate its sequels If I m being completely honest, that should say re read because I had readRed Marsonce before, back in my early teens First time around I didn t really get it I remembered it being too slow, too dry and too serious to enjoy As such, when I began my Locus mission I was apprehensive about coming back to pick up the series.Aside from the Mars trilogy, Robinson had one other book on my list The Years of Rice and Salt I plumped for that one first as it had less negative associations and took it on my honeymoon as holiday reading I loved it and have given it a 5 star review Rice and Salt convinced me to disregard my teenage impressions and approach the Mars Trilogy from a blank slate, with an open mind The cover boldly declaresRed Marsto be the ultimate in future history It s a phrase I found myself returning to repeatedly when describing the book to friends.Let me start by stating that this book is good It s very good It covers a broad spectrum of sci fi themes in a carefully considered, extremely believable way The science, politics, sociology and philosophy all mesh together in a troubled terraforming tale of the first hundred scientists to settle on Mars The characters aren t always likeable, but they are always utterly convincing The plot isn t quite a page turner, but I frequently found myself pondering it whenever I put the book down I wasn t exactly amazed by the author s vivid imagination, but I was truly and deeply impressed with the depth of knowledge and scientific understanding that underpin every sentence.The phrase future history seems so apt, becauseRed Marshas the same devoutly researched feel of a historical novel We go through the story with a handful of characters, feeling the twists and turns from their perspective, but there s always an objective distance, as if describing respected historical events There s very little levity or humour to be found it s inarguably a very dry book.Two of the characters introduced in this book, Nadia Chernyshevski and Sax Russell have secured their own little corner of my heart I feel as if I know them well, like a dependable Aunt and eccentric Uncle Likewise, I feel that if I climbed one of the salt pyramids outside Underhill and looked out over the Alchemists Quarter I d feel a wash of nostalgia for a much loved old stomping ground It s a world you can get lost in, if you let yourself, with people who will stay with you for a long time I definitely really liked it , so I had to give it at least 4 stars But I found myself reluctant to go the whole hog and give it 5 stars.Despite my best efforts I never completely shook my original, teenager impression that this book is just too slow and too serious Opening the book with the flash forward to Boone s death puts a cloud over the rest of the tale, dampening the mood throughout There s no joy taken in the telling and very little in the way of a playful spirit among the cast Some of theinteresting plot threads mostly revolving around Hiroko the stowaway, the secret settlement, the details of the Mars viridatis worship, etc are all covered from a distance by Robinson, as if shying away to leave an air of mystery is somehowpowerful than fully embracing their complexities.I just couldn t bring myself to like Frank Chalmers or Michel Duval very much, and although Maya Toitovna grew on me in the finale of the trilogy, her constant melodrama grated in this first instalment John Boone is loveable, but it s hard to get particularly attached when you know he s due to be axed For all these reasons, I likedRed Marsvery, very much but I couldn t bring myself to love it I am, however, very glad that I ve read the whole series PS This is the first review I ever wrote for GR After this I read Green Mars An extremely detailed and ridiculously well researched novel on the colonization of Mars, this book is absolutely maddening The characters veer from believable three dimensional humans to weird caricatures and plot devices within a few pages And the author s exploration of the political implications of a newly habitable planet filled with resources for civilization is at first fascinating and then just boring At least five or six times someone would yell out This isn t like the discovery of the New World on Earth This is Mars And occasional flashes of drama are intercut with some of the most boring passages I have ever read I swear to god at least a fifth of this book was just descriptions of people driving endless distances around Mars and writing about the landscape in flat prose With a harsh editing job this could have been a great book As is it s a lumbering Frankenstein monster with all the seams showing. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Going into this book 20 years later, the feeling I had was one of trepidation Would the book have stood the test of time And the answer is Unfortunately no.One of the things that I ve noticed almost from the onset was a huge dissonance I don t remember spotting it 20 years earlier, but now I did Why plan the mission without firmly establishing at least some sort of general idea about what sort of terraforming might be done Hard SF novel about the colonization of Mars An initial group of 100 colonists, men and women, is shipped off from Earth to Mars to try to terraform the planet and make it a better fit for human life Kim Stanley Robinson explores all of the science involved in doing that, as well as the political collusions and maneuvering involved, and the relationships and psyches of several of the colonists This is a well known and respected SF novel thoughtful, scientifically minded and very detailed, if a little dry at times There are two sequels I bogged down in the second one and never got to the third, but this one is still downstairs in my collection of SF novels I should probably reread it sometime I d probably do better with it now than I did back in the 90s when this came out. When primitive man looked up at the heavens wondering what that red light was, during the cold nights, trying to keep warm in the long dark, they told stories around the camp fires, about the mysterious object, the best liars and fables, were remembered and from generation to generation these tales were believed, until modern times Even at the start of the twentieth century, some astronomers saw canals on the red planet But progress continues to roll relentlessly, and science catches up and dull reality discovered People of Earth, will have to make that distant, hostile world livable, and forever change the beautiful rock, so the greedy and the adventurous, can live there Finally technology arrives and spaceships are sent by the blue planet John Boone, leads that first expedition in the year 2020, and steps down alone, becoming an icon, the man on Mars, famous everywhere back home, but radiation from the Sun, causes major damage to his body, the deadly rays will always harm humanoids, unless the 4th planet is altered John immense prestige at the highest levels on Earth, sends a second visit to Mars, vastlyadvanced, than the previous one, with a huge sophisticated spaceship, and 100 passengers inside, biologists , geologists, physicians, astronauts, physicists and builders The colonists, will need shelter, little atmosphere breathable, in fact deadly gases there Ares, Greek god of War , the rocketship, blasts off on December 21st, 2026, from Earth orbit, much easier than from below, saving a lot of precious fuel, but still takes an endless, boring nine months, to get to their destination, by a slow rotation of that vessel, a gravity, one fourth of terrestrial, is made, but the leery Russians and Americans, live separate existences on ship, they comprise 70 of the crews members, of equal numbers The other 30 are split from different nations After many tests, along with everyone else, John Boone, gets on board also, but so does his rival, and jealous friend Frank Chalmers, a fellow astronaut, buta politician, with hate Maya Toitovna, leader of the Russians, falls in love with Frank and then John, a sticky situation, causing much friction but she can t make up her mind Landing at last, the crew scatters, to every part of the weird planet, seeking a place to live The pink sky, the desolate surface,orange than red, full of craters, temperatures often 100 F, brilliant stars in the evening, the short horizons, and the small dot above, they say is Terra, it will take a while to get used to it The building begins and very slowly the huge land starts to be modified, a little Nadia, Russian master builder, from frozen Siberia, makes homes for the people underground, Arkady, Russian engineer, anarchist, and independence seeker, for his new world, goes up to one of the two moons, Phobos, Deimos, is the other , it looks like a potato to help in communications with his former planet, but has his own ideas Sax Russell, American physicist, who wants to transform Mars, and make it like Earth Anne , an American geologist, she likes this sphere, as it is, and will fight for that Hiriko Ai, Japanese biologist, and a person who can grow anything on the surface of this unfriendly place, in greenhouses, they will need her, the crops will save all, from starvation These colonists will have cult followers, soon The United Nations, and big corporations, who paid the bills , want the benefits returned, billions of dollars and conflicts begin immediately, between the two worldsyou may change planets, but humans never do Re read With buddies I originally read this way back in the mid 90 s and was struck by how brilliant and entertaining it was, of how wide a sweep of characters could bring Mars alive, from inception to travel to the first habitats all the way to the first revolution 30 years down the line.What I remembered with the most love, however, wasn t the characters It was the science and the various aspects of making Mars habitable That, and I just geeked out I went on to read all the slew of Mars colonization novels that came out at the same time in response to how popular this one was and had to admit that none of them did quite the same job on the topic KSR Wins Woo Woo But now My re read isn t so much critical of the way the novel felt bloated with people stuff as it was only wishing that we could do away with all the people altogether.I was almost cheering with every death during the revolution Is that wrong of me sigh Don t get me wrong I still love the novel but I m knocking off a star The science is fantastic and all the well researched ways to change Mars still makes me geek out It s STILL one of the very best Mars books, INCLUDING The Martian. In the Mars trilogy, Robinson proposes to have us imagine a Mars that is terraformed initially by the First Hundred 50 woman and 50 men chosen after extensive training in Antarctica The story is told via third person narratives which each chapter focusing on a particular character inor less sequential order with the exception of the first chapter about the events in Nicosia leading to the disaster of 2061 The author does an excellent job of making the story and the characters are real as possible and using science to make it all geeky and interesting I really enjoyed many of the juxtapositions of the various characters If I did not give this first book of the trilogy a 5 star rating, it is because there were certain plot devices no specifics given to avoid spoilers but feel free to ask me in the comments or via PM here on GR that I disagreed with and felt were unnecessary Overall, the book is highly engaging and truly makes the reader impatient to read the sequel, Green Mars.