Red Mars

Red Mars

Book - 1993
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Chronicles the colonization of Mars in the year 2026. In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars. For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitovna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life, and death. The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planet's surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces, for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed. Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1993
ISBN: 9780553560732
Branch Call Number: S ROBINSON
Characteristics: 572 p. : map ; 18 cm


From Library Staff

Colonists settling on Mars are faced with natural and political obstacles when their group splits into factions and corporations back on Earth try to exert their influence from afar. Realistic science and complex issues abound. First in a series.

A group of colonists begin the process of settling on Mars, but are faced with obstacles both natural and political when their group splits into factions and corporations back on Earth try to exert their influence from afar. Realistic science and complex issues abound.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 12, 2018

Enjoyed these books immensely back when I was a 15-year-old commie. Loved how readers can inhabit the characters' debates and inner lives. I always sympathized with practical peacemaker Nadia. But, I most admired hard-core conservationist Ann Clayborne.
Good ol' stubborn Ann. She gets some indelible (if not entirely elegant) love scenes. With whom? That's the best part! You'll just have to read to find out.

Jul 04, 2017

What more can be said about this book than already has been? Calling the story "epic" in scope doesn't do the book justice. From the moment a small number of people leave their homes to prepare to colonize Mars, through their stories and the stories of those who follow them up the gravity well, the novel describes the planet as if the reader truly were there. Tremendous, sometimes overly-technical description of the planet sets the stage for a new experiment in human society. Science, love, politics and, above all, Robinson's clear belief that humanity is capable of so much more than it's present state give the book a luminous glow.

ChristchurchLib Apr 05, 2016

A hundred settlers from a desperately overpopulated Earth are sent to make Mars' barren, freezing wastes habitable. Individuals with unique skills struggle to help ensure humanity's survival on Mars -- but as more and more settlers arrive from Earth, personal and political tensions threaten to make life impossible on either planet. Red Mars is 1st in the author's iconic Mars trilogy (continued in Blue Mars and Green Mars), in which human conflicts play out against a vividly drawn Martian landscape.

Oct 05, 2015

I have been a sci-fi devotee for 30 years, and can honestly say this novel ranks among the great of the genre. I still haven't changed my mind, though I've read hundreds of books since I first dived in to Red Mars 15 years ago. The previous comment remarks "I don't really want my science fiction realistic and scientific." I will overlook the obvious contradiction in terms of the latter point and address the former: If it's not at least partly believable, i.e. "realistic", then it ain't sci-fi; it's fantasy. The characters of the First Hundred are achingly human and the final scene never fails to bring me close to tears.

Sep 04, 2015

Some sci-fi fans distinguish between "hard" and "soft" sci-fi and if someone is telling you this, odds are they are firmly in the former camp. Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars," the first of his Mars trilogy, is hard sci-fi. It's not for the casual fan and it's unlikely to be made into a movie anytime soon. Robinson has a background and degrees in English lit., so his books are very well written, but not necessarily that engaging. I don't really want my sci-fi ultra realistic and scientific, so I found this book, which imagines the colonization of Mars, a bit dry and long-winded. It will appeal to fans of Clarke and Asimov. It won the Nebula Award. Followed by "Green Mars."

Aug 25, 2015

If you want to know minutia about Mars and its topography, read it and skip the parts about the people on Mars. If you are a social work/psychology major, if you want to learn about group dynamics, have at it. This book so so boring it is unbelievable. I skipped page after page and still knew what was going on. I couldn't even suspend my disbelief. I got to the middle of the book and read the last chapter. I read enough. I tried so hard as I don't give up on books but this is a stinker.

acecarruthers Apr 27, 2015

Just discovered this book and couldn't put it down.

PimaLib_JohnM Mar 18, 2015

During a recent Blog Picture Science podcast, Kim Stanley Robinson admitted that colonizing Mars won't be as easy as described in his Mars trilogy, in light of everything we've learned about Mars in the past 20 years. Robinson explained that his ideas about terraforming Mars — back in the 1990s — didn't take into consideration a few newly discovered show-stoppers. There could be bacteria living beneath the surface of Mars. "That's going to be very hard to disprove," Robinson said. "We (wouldn't want to) intrude on alien life." Also, currently, scientists see less nitrogen on Mars than they'd hoped for. Earth's atmosphere is 80 percent nitrogen, so a buffer gas for oxygen would be needed. Finally, the surface of Mars is covered with perchlorates, which are highly toxic to humans. Bacteria could be used to dispose of them, but that would require a long-term cleanup (centuries or even millennia). In the podcast, Robinson says it's still possible to inhabit and terraform Mars; but it would take longer than described in his books.

Jul 01, 2014

Red Mars --- by --- Kim Stanley Robinson. Over twenty years old. Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. It must have been a pretty thin year for SF back then. I gotta wonder how many of the guys that bought this book ended up tossing it. Me, I usually try to finish what I start. If a book’s bad I want to cut my losses early: so many books, so little time. This book does have its moments. But they are separated from one another by long stretches of bland in which nothing happens: you can almost hear the grass grow (not that they have any on Mars). I laboured on reading this book, guilty like tossing the body of a friend over the railing. But eventually, eventually, it was time to move on. So many books, so little time. Recommended for insomniacs.

Dec 05, 2013

How is it I didn't know about this series sooner? One part survival story, one part blue print, one part honest examination of the nature of human relationships...Those are three quality parts right there! Plus, the shocking and unexpected and repeated killing-off of seemingly essential characters makes it unpredictable, fun, and lacking in the usual tropes and cliches. Strong recommendation, but be warned: you'll need your full concentration.

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Jul 21, 2017

In 2026, the largest spacecraft ever built transports the first colonists to Mars, beginning a multi generational saga of man’s transformation of the red planet. A Nebula Award winner hailed as “staggering… the best novel on the colonization of Mars that has ever been written” (Arthur C. Clarke).

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings

No similar edition of this title was found at SAPL.

Try searching for Red Mars to see if SAPL owns related versions of the work.

Suggest for Purchase

To Top