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Yesterday, last night I finished two books at almost the same time. Not exactly the same time, but almost. I don’t sit there holding two books or anything like that. Both books were about trips to mars. This review is for Red Mars.

Red Mars is a science heavy story about the first Martian colonist. Most of the story follows the activities of the first 100. That is the first 100 colonist on Mars. By the end of the book thousands of new colonists are arriving and most of the original 100 are dead.

I enjoyed the science. I wish I had the patience and knowledge to write a detailed account of how the trip to Mars would be for humans. From the months in space traveling, to the precautions taken to avoid excess solar radiation. Even the town building was fascinating.

I would have to do a little research but the only thing that struck me as off on the science was the idea that windmills could be rigged up to capture wind energy and transform it into heat energy that is pumped in the surrounding ground. Wind would generate some amount of heat based on friction already. I don’t know if stopping an amount of wind and turning directly into heat would generate any more heat than the heat already generated by the wind friction. I could be wrong.

The book also a large amount of politics in it. Not exactly the politics of the writer but the politics of the colonist. It makes for good drama in a story, but I don’t always care for it and I have yet to write something myself with politics in it. I think my characters live in a world with politics and they are often affected by politics but they don’t chose to interact in them. I think that makes the characters more like the people I know but also sometimes boring.

Red Mars for different parts of the book follow different characters and we see the world from their small point of view. By doing this you end up seeing a very large picture made up like a mosaic of individual points of view. I like being able to see characters as villains and also how they see each other. I think perhaps no one has done this better than George R. R. Martin. You care about all of Martin’s points of view and you know the character’s very well. I would hope though that after 5,000 pages (the first five Song of Ice and Fire books are collectively at least 5k pages) you would know the characters. The Red Mars characters though for me were not always as well defined. I think this was because we had a lot less time with the point of view characters. There were times where I was saying to myself whose story am I reading right now. I will admit this may have been me not paying enough attention but I don’t like not knowing whose story I am following once you get past the first couple of dozen pages.

Its a good book though. I got some ideas for a book I plan on writing next. When I say I plan on writing it next that does not mean I will even start it. It is just the idea I have right now for my next story which will be somewhat of a sister story to my first novel. Where Clean Room dealt mostly with a generally well balanced social character with important relationships in his life, the next story idea would be in the same world but follow a character that does not make those connections. A character that would in some ways be an extreme of a side of me I don’t always like.

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