Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1993, Bantam Spectra
Review Summary: An okay book, well reviewed by another site whose opinion I respect, but not one of the best stories I have read. The author needs to let go of some of the science and detail and make the fight to establish a new colony and culture worth reading.
Unfortunately I only found two or three of the characters in Robinson’s Red Mars at all interesting – the rest, with their struggle for control and power on the developing planet were too driven, or too dramatic for me to identify with them. The characterization was realistic, I believe, but just not enjoyable.
Plotwise, a lot of time was spent on the science of the expedition – otherwise narrative itself, the story of the people going through the colonization attempt, was rather sparse. Especially during the final action sequence, too much was staked on getting the geography correct, to the detriment of the story being told. I became less and less invested in whether these mostly unlikeable characters survived, and less and less interested in which particular Martian geological formation they were driving past, with each successive page.
Thematically, the author may be able to pull something interesting from the ashes of the initial colonization attempt detailed in this first book, as the revolution against the corporations attempting to take over and strip Mars bare enters its second phase, and those with a stronger interest in beginning a new Martian culture take on the fight – but the author needs to let go of some of the science and detail and make the fight worth reading.
An okay book, well reviewed by another site whose opinion I respect, but not one of the best stories I have read.