Going to Mars Word-by-Word: the Landis Way

The next stop in our Going to Mars Word-by-Word tour is Mars Crossing by Geoffrey Landis. Published by Tor Books in 2000, this is the first novel by an experienced and award-winning short story author. It won a nomination for a Nebula and won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2001.  Hop aboard for a gritty, near-future science fiction tale of the exploration of Mars the Landis way.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT By 2028, two missions have been sent to Mars. Both the Brazilian and the American expeditions met with catastrophe and death on the Red Planet. A NASA-private venture hopes the third mission to Mars will be the first to return. Their plan relies on a return vessel sent to Mars years earlier, capable of manufacturing fuel for the return trip from the Martian atmosphere. The mixed-gender, multi-national crew of six lands on Mars successfully but their celebrations are short-lived. A catastrophic failure kills one of the crew and causes irreparable damage to the return ship. And there is no hope of a rescue mission coming from Earth. As a last-ditch effort to survive, they set out to cross 4,000 miles of Mars to the north pole […]

Going to Mars Word by Word With Kim Stanley Robinson

The next stop in my blog series, Going to Mars Word by Word, is the Nebula Award-winning novel Red Mars written by Kim Stanley Robinson, published by Bantam House Science Fiction in 1993. It is the first of a trilogy(Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) about the red planet that explores technological, scientific, political and social changes that might occur in the process of colonizing and terraforming the Mars. So let’s get Going to Mars WOrd by Word with Kim Stanley Robinson. WHAT IT’S ABOUT To say that Red Mars is the story of the colonization of Mars is to oversimplify. It is a multi-character saga about the first fifty or so years of the colonization and transformation of the planet. We follow several major characters in the first one hundred persons (mostly scientists) sent on the long journey to Mars. Once they land and begin to study and understand Mars, conflicts arise between various characters and their visions of their future on the red planet. As the overcrowded Earth sends more and more colonists, the struggle intensifies and ultimately ruptures into a violent revolution. The irony is that the damage the revolution does will probably speed the process of […]

Going to Mars, Word by Word with Man Plus

The next stop on our Going to Mars, Word-by-Word tour is the Nebula award-winning novel, Man Plus by Fredrik Pohl, published in 1976. By the mid-seventies, Pohl had been writing and publishing stories for almost 40 years. The writing reflects that. Smoothly written, it is a quick and entertaining read.   THE SET-UP In reality the early 1970’s were a time of disco dances like the hustle, world wide unrest and fear of terrorist bombings, hijackings, kidnappings, and assassinations. There were economic worries and hardships and a huge energy crisis. The United States, USSR, and France were doing nuclear tests on their own soil. Space Mountain opened at Disneyland and Jaws by Steven Spielberg had its premier. The television show The Bionic Man was popular. Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 rendezvoused in space. And the Viking 2 Mars probe was launched. Man Plus takes place in the not-too-distant future when the overpopulated earth is on the brink a world war battling over the few remaining natural resources on the planet. The fate of humanity rests on the people and the project inside a building in Tonka, Oklahoma.   WHAT IT’S ABOUT When former astronaut Col. Roger Torraway volunteered to be […]