Home > Science, Uncategorized > You should definitely read Red Mars

You should definitely read Red Mars

I just got finished reading Red Mars. It’s the first of The Mars Trilogy, followed by Green Mars and Blue Mars, both of which I plan on reading in the very near future. Red Mars deals with the first colonization of Mars, and is epic in every sense of the word. Author Kim Stanley Robinson surely did his homework here, as the book paints a very vivid picture of how the colonization would go. While it’s science fiction, there is a lot of plausible science there, from biology, sociology, physics, psychology, chemistry, meteorology and probably a couple of others that I’m missing. That right there is a wet dream for me, but the story surrounding all the science is incredible too. The novel is split up into a number of chunks, each chunk deals with a segment of the trip and colonization and follows a different character. Each main character is fully realized with their own flaws, strengths, weaknesses and motivations. One of the driving forces of the book is seeing how the main characters view each other. Each of the characters start off in the same boat, literally, with the first 100 taking the year long trip to actually reach Mars. Once they get to the surface, they start to go their separate ways. Some wish to terraform the planet, some wish to keep it the way it is, and some have other ideals. As the novel progresses, the group breaks and joins and breaks and joins while more and more colonists join the first 100.

While the first 100 were never perfect, they had enough room in which to not step on each other’s shoes. With more and more people on the planet, politics and ideals follow with them. Eventually the planet, which was seen as a possession of the world was seen as a place to dump those who were overcrowding the Earth, and became cash cow for materials which are quickly running out on Earth.  Unfortunately, the expansion happens faster than the planet can handle and things become…messy. Awesomely, awesomely, AWESOMELY messy. To put it another way, shit hits the fan. Then that shit hits another fan. And so on, and so on. It’s basically a matryoshka doll of shit hitting faniness.

The book makes a bold, but necessary move to explain how the main characters can do what they do through the duration of the novel. When the book starts, most of the characters are in their 40s, and the book ends about 40 years later. All long the way, there’s a number of adventures that they go through. It’s like watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull except instead of simply being very old, the first 100 go through an anti-aging treatment. Like the rest of the book, the treatment is steeped in realistic science, which allows you to forgive the slight deus ex machina. That’s really the only complaint that I had with the book.  I can’t wait to start the sequels.

Since we’re on the subject of books, I must plug dailylit.com. As someone who bashed e-readers recently, it might seem odd for me to recommend reading books on a computer or palm device. The thing that I love about dailylit is that I can read while at work. The hook of dailylit is that you get books sent to your e-mail, a couple of pages each day.  Since I’m not allowed to surf the internet while working, but I can check my email, and having a book waiting for me can alleviate the boredom on slow days. Even for people who can easily access the internet, it provides an easy way to add another book to your reading belt. It’s not great for reading anything really long, or indepth, but it makes a great way to read shorter works that are a little less dense.

While a large chunk of the books on dailylit are “classics” which have fallen into the public domain, there are more and more books added each day which are released under the CCL. I’m currently reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom a book by Corey Doctorow of boingboing.com. It falls in the shorter/fun category of books. It’s easy to pick up or put down at a moments notice and is short enough to be read in a reasonable amount of time, even if you’re only reading a couple of pages a day. I’m planning on reading the rest of his books on their as well as a couple of other interesting choices they have. As a film buff, it seemed my civil duty to add Leonard Maltin’s Best Movies You’ve Never Seen to my book queue. It only contains an excerpt of the actual book, but enough reviews to keep you interested.

So give it a try. If you don’t like it, you can always quit.

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Categories: Science, Uncategorized
  1. June 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    My Dad read “The Mars Trilogy” a number of years ago, and he must still have the books lying around. I always told myself I’d get to them one day, because the idea of them has always interested me.

    Thanks for the Daily Lit recommendation! I’m sure I’ve heard of the website before, but I’ll give it a look through, and maybe it will help me get more reading into my day.

    • DJ
      June 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      I’m sad because I couldn’t find the sequels at the used book store I frequent. Guess I’ll have to buy it new and actually support the author.

      I hope you get some use out of dailylit. It’s easy to get behind on the reading. I found the best thing to do is save all the installments in a separate email folder so that you can keep track of them and not gunk up your regular inbox. In gmail, you can have mail forwarded to specific folders automatically. It’s very useful.

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