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1. Sixty Days and Counting
2. The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson
3. Antarctica
4. Galileo's Dream
5. Forty Signs of Rain
6. The Gold Coast: Three Californias
7. A Short, Sharp Shock
8. Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
9. Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy)
10. Icehenge
11. The Martians
12. Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book
13. The Wild Shore: Three Californias
14. Liftport - The Space Elevator:
15. Fifty Degrees Below
16. THE MARS SEQUENCE:Book (1) One:
17. The Lucky Strike (Outspoken Authors)
18. Escape From Kathmandu
19. The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific
20. Pacific Edge: Three Californias

1. Sixty Days and Counting
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 560 Pages (2007-10-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553585827
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
By the time Phil Chase is elected president, the world’s climate is far on its way to irreversible change. Food scarcity, housing shortages, diminishing medical care, and vanishing species are just some of the consequences. The erratic winter the Washington, D.C., area is experiencing is another grim reminder of a global weather pattern gone haywire: bone-chilling cold one day, balmy weather the next.

But the president-elect remains optimistic and doesn’t intend to give up without a fight. A maverick in every sense of the word, Chase starts organizing the most ambitious plan to save the world from disaster since FDR–and assembling a team of top scientists and advisers to implement it.

For Charlie Quibler, this means reentering the political fray full-time and giving up full-time care of his young son, Joe. For Frank Vanderwal, hampered by a brain injury, it means trying to protect the woman he loves from a vengeful ex and a rogue “black ops” agency not even the president can control–a task for which neither Frank’s work at the National Science Foundation nor his study of Tibetan Buddhism can prepare him.

In a world where time is running out as quickly as its natural resources, where surveillance is almost total and freedom nearly nonexistent, the forecast for the Chase administration looks darker each passing day. For as the last–and most terrible–of natural disasters looms on the horizon, it will take a miracle to stop the clock . . . the kind of miracle that only dedicated men and women can bring about.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great science, characters, systems, novel, but a progressive fantasy
These are very wonderful in almost all ways.

The presentation of science and scientists, their points of view, passion, ... is the best I have ever seen.

The characters are strong, consistent.The very many social settings he puts them into are amazing in their detail, and all seem very real to me.

The systems aspects of ecology and the weather are explained very well, the inter-relatedness of everything is a central feature of the novels.The 'failure modes' of the systems are part of the dynamic that pushes the novel forward.

The interactions of the political system with the external events are also very well done.If you want to understand the political world of Washington DC and its interaction with the scientific establishment, this is the book.All of the descriptions of the National Science Foundation and the funding are real, at least as I saw them (from the outside), some years ago.

However, Robinson fails to continue his systems analysis into the political arena, so his political response to the "Global warming" crisis is the standard progressive fantasy : elect the right people and give them more power.This despite all of the detail he presents on how FDR's progressive reforms are now part of the problem, how all of the regulatory agencies are taken over by the regulatees.He doesn't even mention how all of the farming practices that contribute to global warming are driven by the federal subsidies, ditto forest management, ...Nor how all nations with progressive policies have stagnant economies, 20% unemployment, and don't produce enough jobs for the young people.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but if you made it through two, why not finish?
The third and final book of Robinson's eco-trilogy that started with Forty Signs of Rain.The protagonists, scientists Frank Vanderwal and Charlie Quibbler, are now working with President Phil Chase to solve the world's spiraling ecological problems.As always, Robinson's science is very convincing, even if his politics is less so.Meanwhile, Frank's unlikely relationship with the mysterious Caroline has embroiled him in a battle of nerves with mysterious "black" government operatives, providing a level of action and suspense that the previous volumes lacked.And in keeping with Robinson's obsession with sporting activities, there are lots of lengthy (and unnecessary) backpacking and kayaking interludes, which one supposes are all of a piece with the whole "green" California lifestyle.

What's a little harder to overlook is the fact that this novel is just as preachy as a revival meeting.At times the final volume is a little more exciting than its predecessor, but overall this series is too mired in realism to qualify as a truly entertaining adventure.True converts of the ecological left can take these books as a rallying cry, and those who want a fairly realistic take on how science gets done in today's world may be somewhat intrigued, but those fans who enjoyed Robinson's earlier, more imaginative sci-fi works may be disappointed.But if you enjoyed the previous two volumes enough to finish them, then you may as well see this story through to the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars sophisticated Eco SF For Adults
If you need your science fiction to have a rocket ship on the front cover, to begin with adolescent melodrama/action and to close with snappy moralistic conclusions, don't read Kim Stanley Robinson's books. There are better authors around who do that.

If, on the other hand, you prefer sci-fi so close to the present it is poignantly modernist, so artfully written it is powerfully literary, so full of wise reason, kind feeling, and down to earth body-pleasures that only mature adults, able to prefer good things over merely pleasant things, can appreciate it - well, you have met your match with Kim's marvellous 'Sixty Days and Counting".

I won't review the plot or characters. Others have summarized this part of the book.

But I would like to point out that the entire Science in the Capitol trilogy is charged with considerable ethical and psychological sophistication. Robinson knows that science fiction is a sub-genre of history, a genre where fact and fancy must blend, and he does this by mining the transcendentialist and federalist traditions of American culture. That's the new aspect of these books. Now for the old aspects:

Constantly we must refer back to Robinson's previous books - for example, we see in Frank's brain injury the brain injury of Sax Russell in "Green Mars", and again the brain and the mind collide over moral dilemmas. The images of nature also resonate back to the Mars books constantly by poetic contrast. Anyone who has read Virgil's Aeneid and compared it with Homer's Illiad will understand the deep emotional and moral resonances the Science in the Capitol books share with the Mars trilogy and the three Californias.

What to say about the politics and economics? Well, first I want to congratulate Robinson on his courage in including speculative political and economic thinking in his work. Science fiction is richer for the effort. And may I suggest that criticisms of Robinson's books based on political and economic views fail to be adequate to the novel form - that is to say, if you cannot integrate your ideology into a novel, don't bother trying to critique how Robinson works it into his; you're not qualified to an informed opinion. Most importantly, the critics fail to see that Robinson uses economics and politics as poetic and figurative tropes, not as academic dissertations- they are fancy, not fact. Criticism of Robinson's sophisticated imagining in politics and economics is simply a failure of the grasp of the critics' imagination.

Robinson is surely the boldest American SF writer. The trilogy takes risks and they pay off. But the limitations of the Robinson's writing are more obvious than in the Mars trilogy because the book deals with the present day, not with mythical and epic events on another planet. Yes, sometimes the dialog is too dry and flat - but the nature writing is superb. Sometimes Robinson's female characters are two-dimensional - but as novels for men, about the experience of being a man and developing masculinity alone, with women and with other men, his work is the best fiction I know. The piece on the Sierra with the group of men hiking in silence are so fine, they show just how it is with guys.

Oddly enough, the ending reminded me of Shakespeare's As You Like It. I cannot go into detail, but count the number of civil unions that occur and you will see what I mean. The fourfold marriage in the conclusion As You Like It is an archetypal and alchemical symbol of completion, unity and establishment in the four elements of fire, earth, water and air. It symbolises complete restoration to wholeness and sanity. I cannot imagine Robinson dreamt this up consciously, but nevertheless it is there: a successful depiction of a modern utopia, messy human bits included. His depiction of Shambala is just flat out wonderful - a synthesis of realistic and idealistic, human and mythical. The Khembalung passages are so deeply moving.

Robinson explores subcultures in a fascinating way; no other science fiction writer depicts the shattering of consensus culture into a thousand youth cultures more successfully than him. Freegans, ravers, geeks and wonks - the sheer bulk of anthropological detail is really cool.

I think the frustrating thing for science fiction readers is that this book is by far Robinson's most realistic writing. Nothing is concluded, everything is open to second interpretations - but that's life for you. Joe and Charlie are a marvellously mad unfolding relationship, and Robinson fills the incidents between characters with a sly indirection; you have to work to understand the characters, just like in real life. The book takes time and contemplation, just like in real life. It follows that if readers cannot be reasonable in real life will also lack the skills to enjoy this most reasonable of novels.

I also like how completely Robinson ignores the streak of teenage narcissism inherent in science fiction, and gives us a mature and whole work, that includes body and heart and mind in the action of the story. "Sixty Days and Counting" is not escapist literature; a reading of it engages you deeply with reality.

My suggestion to purchasers: if you want real, powerful, and sophisticated science fiction, get this book; if you want escapist sci-fi then buy a secondhand Heinlein.

My suggestion to readers: for greatest enjoyment I suggest you lay aside politics and a weekend and treat Robinson's book as a kind of cheesecake for the mind. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Time to get serious
I give this series 5 stars. I think of it as "scientific fiction", not science fiction.As one who has been married since the earth cooled, I think his descriptions of family life are spot-on.His affection for the outdoors is luminous and inspiring.I read a lot of serious fiction; I think the three books in the trilogy held together very well.No way are these books disappointing to a serious minded reader who thinks hard about the future of the planet, the sociology of change, or the wonders of family living.

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Progressive President Takes Charge
This is the final volume in Kim Stanley Robinson's eco-thriller trilogy, and must be read only after reading the previous two works: Forty Signs of Rain and Fifty Degrees Below.
Although perhaps not entirely as edge-of-your-seat a book as its two predecessors, this conclusion to the Global Warming political alternate future envisioned by Robinson is a great read for 2009, since the title is derived from a newly-installed progressive president's platform for action within sixty days (This is Sen. Phil Chase, elected in the previous volume in the midst of a climatic catastrophe). The parallels with last year's momentous election is quasi-prophetic, but here Robinson also neatly concludes the various personal adventures of the characters introduced previously.
Robinson's entire trilogy is a must-read for anyone who enjoys not only speculative fiction in a contemporary setting, but also the idea that progressive politics can make a difference in a world gone haywire. ... Read more

2. The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2010-07-27)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$17.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801844
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Editorial Review

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Kim Stanley Robinson has been an ongoing force in the Science Fiction genre for over twenty years, with his novels (Year's of Rice and Salt, Forty Signs of Rain) crossing over to the mainstream, and routinely appearing on the New York Times best sellers list. During the 80s and early nineties, his short fiction continued to push the boundaries of science fiction, defining the science-focused side of the science fiction genre. Award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan worked with Kim Stanley Robinson to select the stories that make up this landmark volume. In addition to these reprints, The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson features a brand-new short story, "The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942." ... Read more

3. Antarctica
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 672 Pages (1999-07-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574027
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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From the award-winning author of the Mars Trilogy comes a thrilling new novel....

Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Hugo and Nebula award-winning Mars trilogy, is one of the most original and visionary writers of fiction today. Now, in his latest novel, he takes us to a harsh, alien landscape covered by a sheet of ice two miles deep. This is no distant planet--it is the last pure wilderness on earth.

A stark and inhospitable place, its landscape poses a challenge to survival; yet its strange, silent beauty has long fascinated scientists and adventurers. Now Antarctica faces an uncertain future. The international treaty that protects the continent is about to dissolve, clearing the way for Antarctica's resources and eerie beauty to be plundered. As politicians and corporations move to determine its fate from half a world away, radical environmentalists carry out a covert campaign of sabotage to reclaim the land. The winner of this critical battle will determine the future for this last great wilderness....Amazon.com Review
In the near future, Wade Norton has been sent to Antarctica bySenator Phil Chase to investigate rumors of environmental sabotage. Hearrives on the frozen continent and immediately begins making contactwith the various scientific and political factions that compriseAntarctic society. What he finds is an interesting blend ofinhabitants who don't always mesh well but who all share a common loveof Antarctica and a fierce devotion to their life there. He alsobegins to uncover layers of Antarctic culture that have been kepthidden from the rest of the world, and some of them are dangerousindeed. Things are brought to a head when the saboteurs--or"ecoteurs" as they call themselves--launch an attackdesigned to drive humans off the face of Antarctica. This is KimStanley Robinson's first book since his award-winning Mars trilogy, andwhile some of the themes may be familiar to seasoned Robinson readers,the book is never less than engrossing. As usual Robinson does amasterful job with the setting of his story, and anyone interested inAntarctica won't want to miss this one. --Craig Engler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (74)

2-0 out of 5 stars Pointless remix of other KSR works, without a plot
What would you would get if you took all the interesting and exciting things out of the Mars Trilogy? You'd get Antarctica, a book with no plot about people who go on hikes and romanticize feral living. Or you'd get the "Science In the The Capital" trilogy, which is basically the same thing.

Kim Stanley Robinson is so frustrating. His Mars Trilogy was so good, so epic, so exactly what I want from hard near-future sci-fi. It was too good, because I keep reading his other works expecting similar genius, and they are all exactly alike, and all terrible in the same ways.

After 300 pages I gave up on Antarctica. I am very close to giving up on KSR.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning,magnificent continent with great characters/fiction plus real past explorers' stories
Another great Kim Stanley Robinson book. The Mars trilogy Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars each 5 stars. Icehenge 4 stars.See my other reviews. Now 5 star Antarctica.

As a younger man 30 years ago I had a ham radio CW contact for almost an hour with an operator at Mcmurdo Station Antarctica. It was a wonderful learning experience and Ithanked the operator for such a nice contact and have the QSL card from him. So I was really interested in reading Robertson's Antarctica.

As usual Robinson's character development and interaction is great. We see Val a 6ft 4in mountaineer women, X ( for extra large) 6ft 10 in general handyman and helper of scientists ,andWade a US Senator's representative as some of the major characters.

Robinson actually was in Antarctica in 1995 courtesy of the National Science Foundation so he has first hand experiences. His description of the beauty and harsh weather in Antarctica is interesting and keeps the reader wanting to read more. We see a fictional group of "feral" people and another faction plus a group of oil, methane hydrate want to be producers in Antarctica. Some small dwellings and equipment are blown up. GPS satellites are temporarilydisrupted. No one dies but its is an exciting well developed plot of renegades with beautiful visualizations of Antarctica. Mcmurdo Station is explained, the Ross ice shelf, the South Pole and more sites are vividly and beautiful shown. The past explorer expeditions by Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen are mentioned and little tidbits of their quests to try to be the first to the South Pole are mentioned. Absolutely fascinating.

Roald Amundsen was the first to make it to the South Pole. My family and I actually were on the "fram" Amundsen's ship in a museum in Norway. Took a picture of my Dad holding the "fram" steering wheel.

I liked the part about the past great explorers so much I bought Scott's The Worst Journey In The World, Shackleton's Endurance, and Amundsen's The South Pole 1 An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "fram" plus a 3 DVD collection of Shackleton's Endurance adventure ( supposed to be the best survival story ever told).

Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica is a fantastic novel, with rich character development and a great story. 5 stars. After reading it maybe you will want to try reading about the great explorers that raced to try to be the first to the South Pole.

4-0 out of 5 stars Immersive, thought-provoking and rich - an excellent depiction of Earth's last wilderness
"Antarctica" is the tenth novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, the author of the highly-acclaimed Mars Trilogy. The story takes place in the near future, at a time when the Antarctic Treaty - designed to prohibit military involvement on the continent and to establish it as a scientific preserve - has expired, bringing Earth's last wilderness under threat. When scientific sites begin to be attacked in Antarctica, sabotage by underground environmental groups is suspected, and Wade Norton, advisor to the influential and eco-conscious US senator Phil Chase, is sent to Antarctica to investigate.

As with all of Robinson's novels, "Antarctica" embodies a vast amount of detailed research, including an extended visit made by the author in 1995, sponsored by the United States' National Science Foundation. Such first-hand experience shows in his superb evocation of place: from the confines of McMurdo Station, the largest settlement on the continent, to the heights of the Transantarctic Mountains and glaciers, to the inhospitable polar ice cap and the South Pole itself. Moreover, the landscapes are infused with a heavy sense of history, with numerous stories and legends of Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton - the first explorers - referenced throughout the book. This is a wide-ranging novel concerned with heritage, science, the struggle for survival, and the balance between exploitation and understanding of our natural environment.

Indeed - in common with much of Robinson's writing - it is the complex relationship of humans with their environment which lies at the heart of this novel. Although Robinson's sympathies lie ultimately in the environmentalist camp, it should be said that he is careful to acknowledge competing attitudes. Every one of his characters has their own Antarctica, so to speak, and we are made to feel sympathetic not only to the scientific establishment, but also to the industrial interests of the less economically developed world, the ecoteurs, and those (the 'ferals') attempting to live self-sustainably and permanently on the continent. The novel's single failing in this respect is that it is hampered in the end by a search for resolution, rather than allowing the debate to linger in the reader's mind.

For most of the novel the pace of the narrative is slow, and except for a period of about 150 pages in the middle, there is little action or tension - two factors which many readers may find frustrating. However, this is a novel driven more by ideas rather than by plot or by character. It is hard to imagine that a shorter book - or one more tightly-plotted - could have done justice to the vastness of the subject as Robinson achieves here.

All in all, "Antartica" is an absorbing and rich imagining of what is often perceived to be a sterile and hostile place. With global warming becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it arguably has even more relevance now than when it was first published in 1997, depicting the unspoilt environment we could lose all too soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars climbing and trekking scenes are riveting
I was reading this book as we approached Antarctica on our cruise, Robinson's done it again - his geology is rock solid, [only John McPhee can write so captivatingly about plate tectonics] so much so, that once again, I started thinking of his fictional Antarctica as the real thing.As we drove thru the Beech tree forests of Tierra del Fuego, it conjured his images of a former Antarctica covered with hardy Beech forest, to be re-discovered as fossilized beech leaf mats by Robinson's scientists.Elegantly weaving in Antarctic history, Robinson's story proceeds on multiple lines, with the modern day plotlines paralleling the explorers.The science is least fictional of any of his works, but the climbing and trekking scenes are riveting; the crevasse scenes are white knuckle memory time for anyone's who's ever traversed a glacier, even though his mountaineers have tracking toys we never dreamed of.

5-0 out of 5 stars Been there done that
Having spent 3 seasons in Antarctica as the Photographic Officer for the Naval Support Force, I have been to many of the locations mentioned, brought back memories. A little far fetched in some of his locations and activities, but it was classed as Science Fiction. Very enjoyable read. ... Read more

4. Galileo's Dream
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Hardcover: 544 Pages (2009-12-29)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553806599
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The winner of every major science fiction award, Kim Stanley Robinson is a novelist who looks ahead with optimism even while acknowledging the steep challenges facing our planet and species: a clear-eyed realist who has not forgotten how to dream. His new novel offers his most audacious dream yet. At the heart of a brilliant narrative that stretches from Renaissance Italy to the moons of Jupiter is one man, the father of modern science: Galileo Galilei.

To the inhabitants of the Jovian moons, Galileo is a revered figure whose actions will influence the subsequent history of the human race. From the summit of their distant future, a charismatic renegade named Ganymede travels to the past to bring Galileo forward in an attempt to alter history and ensure the ascendancy of science over religion. And if that means Galileo must be burned at the stake, so be it.

Yet between his brief and jarring visitations to this future, Galileo must struggle against the ignorance and superstition of his own time. And it is here that Robinson is at his most brilliant, showing Galileo in all his contradictions and complexity. Robinson's Galileo is a tour de force of imaginative and historical empathy: the shining center around which the novel revolves.  

From Galileo's heresy trial to the politics of far-future Jupiter, from the canals of Venice to frozen, mysterious Europa, Robinson illuminates the parallels between a distant past and an even more remote future—in the process celebrating the human spirit and calling into question the convenient truths of our own moment in time.  
  ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars galileo's dream
i'm a 73 year old retired professor of philosophy. kim's book is outstanding! i taught a university course in the history and philosophy of renaissance science. galileo was my favorite scientist covered by the course. kim's treatment of galilieo moved me to years!truly outstanding!

3-0 out of 5 stars Oddities in Galileo's Dream
I'm surprised that not one of the previous reviews has mentioned several oddities in this book.First and most striking, Robinson adds 3 or 4 gas giant planets to our solar system.He gives no context, no explanation for this, so it seems a rather obvious signal from Robinson that the future that Galileo repeatedly visits is a sharply alternative future--after all the addition of multiple gas giants is a pretty large alteration in our local physical environment!Whether those gas giants exist in Galileo's present, his nature timeline, is not apparent, as they haven't been discovered yet--if they were there to be discovered.So the questions of whether Galileo's timeline is even the same as the future timeline he visits is undeterminable.

Then there are a few oddities in the narration of this novel.In two isolated and widely separated paragraphs, the POV switches to the first person, that of Cartophilius.He becomes the narrator of the story, but only for those two paragraphs.There may have been more such paragraphs which I missed, but no more than a handful.Then there are a scattering of further paragraphs that focus on Galileo's household and their collective reaction to events, most particularly Galileo's physical or mental state at his crisis points.In those paragraphs, the narrators suddenly begins to use "we" and "our" to describe the household's reactions and thoughts.Otherwise, throughout the novel, the narration from is an impersonal third person POV.

These shifts in POV do not seem to me to be intentional and don't add at all to the narrative effect.In fact, they are so isolated and so striking in their abrupt shifts that I am left guessing that they are oversights, missed in a final revision of the novel.I should mention that I read the Kindle version--could it be that these problematical shifts in POV did not exist in the printed versions?

I don't mean to say that these oddities mar the novel in any significant manner.I admire Robinson's work and writing style and have read most of his long form fiction.Rather, I wonder at the other readers who didn't bring these issues to the forefront, as they really are pretty striking!

Galileo's Dream is carried by Robinson's exploration of who Galileo might have been, the writer's surprising strength in conveying the society and landscape Galileo lived in, and the very interesting exploration of issues scientific and philosophical, posed in a manner that relates them very strongly to the questions with which the historical Galileo clearly grappled.

Dan Carmell
Oakland, California

4-0 out of 5 stars Bizarre but enjoyable
The mix between history and science fiction in this novel reminded me of Dan Simmons's Ilium and Olympos.All were enjoyable if also a bit disconcerting and confusing.On the whole I enjoyed this but I wish I didn't feel quite so befuddled at times.

4-0 out of 5 stars great book!
another great book by KSR & timely to celebrate Galileo's 400th anniversary of his discovery of Jupiter's moons.

3-0 out of 5 stars Kind of a snooze. Couldn't finish it.
I loved the premise Future colonists on the moons of Junpiter go back in time to bring Galileo to the moons to manipulate the political problems they are experiencing. I loved the idea but I didn't feel drawn into the story. i didn't get the sense I was on the moons of jupiter in the future. Everything was vaugely described and not relly aprt of the story at all. I didn't feel the experience of being there. I couldn't finish. I gave 3 stars because the idea was so good and the reasearch into Galileo's life was good. Didn't do it for me. Sorry. ... Read more

5. Forty Signs of Rain
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2005-07-26)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553585800
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt returns with a riveting new trilogy of cutting-edge science, international politics, and the real-life ramifications of global warming as they are played out in our nation’s capital—and in the daily lives of those at the center of the action. Hauntingly realistic, here is a novel of the near future that is inspired by scientific facts already making headlines.

When the Arctic ice pack was first measured in the 1950s, it averaged thirty feet thick in midwinter. By the end of the century it was down to fifteen. One August the ice broke. The next year the breakup started in July. The third year it began in May. That was last year.

It’s an increasingly steamy summer in the nation’s capital as Senate environmental staffer Charlie Quibler cares for his young son and deals with the frustrating politics of global warming. Charlie must find a way to get a skeptical administration to act before it’s too late—and his progeny find themselves living in Swamp World. But the political climate poses almost as great a challenge as the environmental crisis when it comes to putting the public good ahead of private gain.

While Charlie struggles to play politics, his wife, Anna, takes a more rational approach to the looming crisis in her work at the National Science Foundation. There a proposal has come in for a revolutionary process that could solve the problem of global warming—if it can be recognized in time. But when a race to control the budding technology begins, the stakes only get higher. As these everyday heroes fight to align the awesome forces of nature with the extraordinary march of modern science, they are unaware that fate is about to put an unusual twist on their work—one that will place them at the heart of an unavoidable storm.

With style, wit, and rare insight into our past, present, and possible future, this captivating novel propels us into a world on the verge of unprecedented change—in a time quite like our own.Here is Kim Stanley Robinson at his visionary best, offering a gripping cautionary tale of progress—and its price—as only he can tell it.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

2-0 out of 5 stars Too many pages, not enough happens
Reading along in Forty Signs of Rain, I kept having flashbacks to the Niven & Pournelle classic Lucifer's Hammer.It wasn't until I got to the end of Forty Signs that I realized how apt that comparison really was.

This was a disappointing book.So many pages for so little to happen, especially when compared to Robinson's Red Mars, where he got us to Mars early on in the first book of the trilogy.We get pretty much nowhere in this book.

Niven & Pournelle did all they needed to do in one nice, fat book.I'm not interested enough in where Robinson is going to see if he does a comparable job in three books.Definitely not his best moment.

3-0 out of 5 stars ????
What? Why in the world would the book just end like that?!? There is no cliff hanger. No ultimate reason to read the next book other than to find out what else happens.

I would have to say that the story was okay. The characters are likable and pretty real. But the end was lame. I've liked some of the other books by this author and while I knew it was a 3 part story I didn't think it would be that bad of a transition.

Please remember that this is a work of fiction...just like Algore's books and movie.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring - too much like real life in DC
Government jobs, NSF jobs, red tape, DC traffic.
Gee, if I didn't have a government job and get stuck in DC area traffic it might be news to me. Nothing actually happens and I can't even finish the book. Such a letdown from RED-GREEN-BLUE Mars. Repeat - NOTHING HAPPENS. Boring boring boring. Some things you will find odd though. One guy seems to really want to imbibe his wife's breast milk. Also a character from the west coast (same guy - can't recall) seems oppressed by the amount of trees in the DC area. He longs for the open space of California where everything is brown and dead. Well excuse us for having growing things here.........jeez.

I just skipped to the flood at the very end. Still boring.
BTW, no one is letting all the animals out of the zoo in case of a flood. What one earth gave the author an idea like that?

2-0 out of 5 stars Not enough to deserve a reading
I expected more from KSR in this book. His Mars trilogy book were slow but had a clear theme. In this case, I do not recommend this book.
Main reasons for my dissatisfaction are: slow construction of the story, weak characters, dialog not always realistic, non-exciting finale. Many times it seems the book was written to become a blockbuster movie, and I am not sure it would even make a good one.
Overall, the story is in the near future, the world is warmer, sea level is rising and scientists are concerned. It really takes a long while in this book to reach a climax, which is not even that. I may read the 2nd part of this series (whenever I have time) and if I see a reason to read this, I will update my review. In the meantime, I suggest you read a Stephen Baxter book instead (if you want good sci-fi).

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story
I read KSR's Mars books and enjoyed them, but there was nothing outstanding about them.Forty Signs or Rain, on the other hand, is one of the best books that I have read in a long time.I enjoyed his descriptions of people and places.I appreciated it more since my daughter has lived in the DC area for over 8 years and is currently living a few blocks from the NSF building.

Other than placing Anna on an eastbound platform at Metro Center on the way to Arlington which is West of the city, his descriptions were accurate.His descriptions of the flood by the Mall and in Rock Creek Park was very convincing. Even his description of a bunch of zoo animals marching down a flooded Connecticut Avenue was believable. The politics, both office politics and national, was interesting.He does exhibit a liberal bias, but that doesn't really detract from anything.

So far I have not mentioned climate change, mostly because Mr. Robinson does not really dwell on it.It is really just a setting for the story.It is not really an attempt to promote a global warming agenda, although it is a push for the value of science.

If you buy this book, be prepared to purchase the other two books in the trilogy.I finished "50 Degrees Below" and am ready to start on the third.

... Read more

6. The Gold Coast: Three Californias
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 400 Pages (1995-05-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312890370
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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2027: Southern California is a developer's dream gone mad, an endless sprawl of condos, freeways, and malls. Jim McPherson, the affluent son of a defense contractor, is a young man lost in a world of fast cars, casual sex, and designer drugs. But his descent in to the shadowy underground of industrial terrorism brings him into a shattering confrontation with his family, his goals, and his ideals.

The Gold Coast is the second novel in Robinson's Three Californias trilogy.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Futuristic 21 Century Drug Infested Dealers, Defense Contractors and Rescue Squad California
I'm a big fan of Kim Stanley Robinson. His epic Mars series is fantastic as well as some of his other Sci Fi ( see my reviews).

Again KSR in The Gold Coast is great with charter development and a rich detailed plot that flows well. The book reads well,fast and there are no boring spots. I am not going to sugar coat this book but give readers of this review my true feelings.

The main character is Jim a part time night Jr. college teacher who is a drug head. His father Dennis is an executive in a defense contractor company and there are major disagreements between the two. Jim's mom is the steady rock in the family that tries time and again to patch things up. We see Jim's many "friends" the majority are drug heads and or dealers. Much non detailed sex is in the book in this futuristic loose culture KSR writes about. The freeways are magnetically controlled so cars are remote controlled by programs.

Half of the book for me was 5 stars. The parts describing past Orange County were excellent as well as the problems Dennis the defense contractor executive is having with his company and defense bids and projects. Also the bloody experiences of 2 rescue paramedics are shown. Not too graphic.

This book could of been one of KSR 5 star books. For me the book had too much drug dealer, drug user glorification. KSR makes the drug-heads and dealers in this book look like the "good guys". Jim even joins a terrorist organization that blows up defense contractors plants. INMO the character Jim and his drug head "friends" are nothing but a**holes. I'm sorry I don't want younger members of my family getting the wrong opinion of drug heads and dealers from reading this book. I realize its just a story and KSR is trying to tell that much of California's young people's morality has collapsed in the near technologically increased future. However I didn't like that part of the book.

For those that can distance themselves from the drug-head and dealers glorification this book maybe a 5 or 4 star book for you. For those more conservative like me I can only rate this book 3 stars.

2-0 out of 5 stars My least favorite of the series
The Gold Coast: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych)

This is my least favorite of the three books. In this story the characters, who match up with similar characters in the other two books, seem to be pretty useless since they spend their time partying and doing customized drugs of the day. This book was hard to get into and I never really got to know or like any character. The main character spirals out of control and the book never really goes anywhere. All three books are unsatisfactory but this one more so. This author has other books that I like much better.

In each of the three books the individual concept sounds like a good story line. But it's like the author just wants to experiment with placing the same characters in different settings. So each concept seems like back ground for that process.If there was a message about society, in it's variations or anything else, I missed it.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Plodding Pace, But Has Its Moments
This novel is far less well written than Robinson's much more recent novel, Forty Degrees of Rain, a cautionary tale about the climate crisis.I think it could have benefitted from cutting out about a third of it.There are too many boring discussions among the bored, drugged characters, for example, a silly discussion about which is better: a Big Mac, Whopper, or Jumbo Jack.Some of the dialogue is just too trite and silly.There is very little suspense, and I have to disagree with the commercial review above: this novel has none of the menacing atmosphere of a 1984 or that kind of dystopia.Indeed, it feels more like the 80s or 90s, with a few added things like strange new drugs delivered via eye droppers, and "alliances" instead of marriages or partnerships.Somehow Robinson was too rambling in his plotting here, and even his theme gets lost amid all the disjointed events.I hope the other novels in this series are better than this one.Normally I like dystopian fiction, because I like the critique of society that genre permits.But this one is deeply flawed.Also, the chapters from the POV of Jim's father, the military industrial complex worker, are kind of boring, unless one is into the technicalities of defense contracting and weapons design.He should have whittled some of these scenes way down, conveyed more through summary.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dated vision of the future
The premise of this novel is an interesting one: in the near future, in an overdeveloped Orange County, California, a dissatisfied poet becomes involved with industrial terrorists bent on subverting the war and weapons industry, in which his father is employed. But the writing is stilted and disjointed and interrupted at odd points by rather nonsensical poems. And Robinson's vision of the future doesn't ring true either. Even writing at the end of the 1980s and able to foresee sprawl run amuck and auto-piloted cars on unending freeways, he still completely overlooks the importance of the Internet or digital information in future society. The presence of videotapes and CDs in Robinson's 2027 now makes the novel seem hopelessly dated.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reade
A decaying California?Basically, Robinson's weakest work, this lot.Not something I am interested in, in general.Three Californias is perhaps two and a half Californias too many, in this case.This is perhaps close to mundane.Orange County is not a nice place to start with, not too suprising it will be less nice in the future.Prefer others to this, particularly his newer books.

... Read more

7. A Short, Sharp Shock
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 208 Pages (1996-02-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574612
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Kim Stanley Robinson, award-winning author of the bestselling Red Mars, Green Mars, and the soon-to-be-published Blue Mars, was called "a literary landscape artist, creating breathtaking vistas" by The Detroit Metro News. Now he confirms his reputation for brilliance and for the unexpected in this luminous short work.

A Short, Sharp Shock

A man tumbles through wild surf, half drowned, to collapse on a moonlit beach. When he regains consciousness, he has no memory of who he is or where he came from. he know only that the woman who washed ashore with him has disappeared sometime in the night, and that he has awakened in a surreal landscape of savage beauty -- a mysterious watery world encircled by a thin spine of land. Aided by strange tribesmen, he will journey to the cove of the spine kings, a brutal race that has enslaved the woman and several of the tribesmen. That is only the beginning of his quest, as he struggles to find her identity in this wondrous and cruel land -- and seeks out the woman whose hold on his imagination is both unfathomable and unshakable.

Haunting and lyrical, filled with uncommon beauty and terrible peril, A Short, Sharp Shock is an ambitious and enthralling story by one of science fiction's most respected talents.Amazon.com Review
Kim Stanley Robinson, justly famous for his science fiction,has created a mesmerizing fantasy work in A Short, Sharp Shock.Each brief chapter (with evocative titles such as "Beauty Is thePromise of Happiness") explores a little further along the pathof the amnesiac protagonist, Thel.Thel finds himself on an amazingworld, which has just one narrow ridge of land encircling the globe,with endless ocean on either side.And Thel is on a quest, searchingfor the woman who was with him when he first awakened, but who wastaken by the murderous spine kings.In his travels along the ribbonof land, Thel encounters exotic local peoples and their legends of theorigin of the world, and learns more about his companions and himself.Robinson's imagination is far-ranging and he has a pointed way withwords: in a scene where Thel is slowly pushed through a magicalmirror, Robinson's evocation of pain is unforgettable.A Short,Sharp Shock is guaranteed to haunt the reader for a long time.--Blaise Selby ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Unexpected and Intriguing
This shorter work by Robinson was totally unexpected. Like all of the Robinson's writing it is more character driven than plot driven as are his other works I've read - The Mars series and Years of Salt and Rice, and his climate change trilogy. This one was more enigmatic, but very provocative. It is the story of an amnesiac on an improbable world that allows the author to explore, but not answer, themes such as the nature of beauty, memory, relationships, the essence of being, and the perils or rewards of social interactions. It is as strange a story as I have ever read, but oddly satisfying, despite its abrupt ending. Read it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not like his other work
I have read the Mars Trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt and admired the author's ability to take a science or fantasy concept to the next level with detailed descriptions and well developed characters.Though I knew it would be different before reading, this short story was quite a shock.

Dream-like in the way events transpire, the main character's journey seems to be a vehicle for the telling of many disparate ideas.The world and it's inhabitants are interesting as concepts, several of which are quite good, like the plant people, but the characters never reached the level of development that would have have made me believe or care about what was happening.I finished it unsatisfied.

I can not recommend the book for fans of the work of Kim Stanley Robinson.Read The Years of Rice and Salt instead.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A man wakes up on a beach, and has no idea what is going on.He meets a woman, and must struggle to find out where the hell he is, and what is going on with this society, as the pair quest to find out who they are, what they should do, and where they should be.

All this while avoiding being eaten, or torn apart, and other nasty things.

4-0 out of 5 stars Poetic...Very Clearly Robinson's Work
A man ends up washed up on a beach, next to him lies a mysterious woman.When the man regains full consciousness, the woman is gone and the man soon discovers that he cannot remember even his name...but soon finds himself to be on a world that is hugged by a single strip of land wrapped around an ocean-planet.

This man's exploration of this strip of land, and his hunt for the woman who washed ashore with him, provides the setting and plot for what turns out to be a beautifully written short work by the author who is more famous for his Mars Trilogy.Though at times the plot can be a bit thin, there is no shortage of peculiar people for this man to meet and, it would seem more important for the author, no shortage of exquisite scenery for Robinson to immortalize with a writing style quite unique to any other author.

Ultimately, the ending is a bit of a disappointment, however, this work should not be read for ending, but for the process that gets the reader to the end.For it is filled with haunting, elegant, ephermeral prose that isn't easily forgotten.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn good for an early work
KSR is one of the better contemporary writers around. His Mars series and the California trilogy are tremendous modern fiction works - full of imagination, humanity, hope, and intelligence.

This book, one of (if not the) first he published, shows many of recurrent concerns apparent in later works. It is rather stark - as the title would suggest - and has much influence from his friend and fellow writer, Ursula K LeGuin. In fact, the tone and conceit of the book are much like her Rocannon's World.

The plot doesn't really come to much in the book - a man (we suspect a space traveller) ends up on a planet without recall of how he got there or who he is. He meets various people and dangers while hiking along the Spine, which is the only landmass on the planet, apparently. The book's not so much about the plot as it is about exploring this man's existential"being-in-the-world" or becoming against nothingness that typifies KSR's other thought-experiments. One of the questions posed is who is this man - not so much who-he-was, as who he wishes to become as a kind of tabula rasa in a world alien to us.

As such, and as an initial work, the reading can come off a bit sterile at times. But as a package it's readable, indeed short (if I may say so), and as a work stands alone. It makes more sense, though, viewed as a window into KSR's overall project as a writer. ... Read more

8. Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 592 Pages (1993-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553560735
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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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 Toitavna, 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 and 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 planets 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.Amazon.com Review
Red Mars opens with a tragic murder, an event thatbecomes the focal point for the surviving characters and the turningpoint in a long intrigue that pits idealistic Mars colonists against adesperately overpopulated Earth, radical political groups of allstripes against each other, and the interests of transnationalcorporations against the dreams of the pioneers.

This is a vast book: a chronicle of the exploration of Mars with someof the most engaging, vivid, and human characters in recentscience fiction.Robinson fantasizes brilliantly about the science ofterraforming a hostile world, analyzes the socio-economic forces thatpropel and attempt to control real interplanetary colonization, andimagines the diverse reactions that humanity would have to the dead,red planet.

Red Mars is so magnificent a story, you will want to move on toBlue Mars andGreen Mars. Butthis first, most beautiful book is definitely the best of thethree. Readers new to Robinson may want to follow up with some otherbooks that take place in the colonized solar system of the future:either his earlier (less polished but more carefree) The Memory ofWhiteness and Icehenge, or 1998'sAntarctica.--L. Blunt Jackson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (406)

4-0 out of 5 stars These Colors Won't Fade
"Red Mars" is the first of the trilogy, and is the only one I have read so far.But "Green" and "Blue" are next on my list. The author's detailed discription of conditions on Mars, and what we would face if we went there, are as accurate as I can ascertain from my studies in astronomy and physics.This isn't just a science fiction about Mars, but a prediction of how man's behavior will be shaped by the planet's brutal conditions, and how the planet's evolution will, in turn, be shaped by man's competance.A scientific, sociologic, pychological thriller that compels the reader to head for the sequel.By the end of the novel you realize that each color in this series represents a physical evolution of planetary conditions. Red is brought about by nature, and the colors to follow by man's inhabitation. Green and Blue sure don't look like improvements over red.

1-0 out of 5 stars Possibly good in its time, but not lasting
The wisdom offered to politicians and sociologists, and to us all, in this long-winded account of colonization is stultifyingly flat and commonplace. Every subject in this book is dealt with much more entertainingly and better written in a myriad of other books, including sci-fi.
Maybe it is our recently painfully increased acquaintance with Arab culture that makes this aspect of Red Mars so contrite and simplistic in retrospect, but all the other themes are also over-explored in a dull and patronizing fashion that cannot appeal to but the hardiest of Mars lovers. For all its many characters, described in the blurb as 'varied and engaging' there is but one type of human in the whole book, a sort of idealized American character taken from its own history, combined with socialist, communist, anarchist stereotypes with have nothing in common at all with real people.
Finally, the science in the book (it is science fiction after all) is often wrong, basic, badly described and boring. There is nothing to this aspect that has even remotely anything to do with actual colonization technologies. At best, it is unimaginative and dull.
The book is a political soap opera of the most basic kind, in the bad disguise of a hard-core SF book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit over-rated considering all the hype
Red Mars was mildly compelling if not exactly riveting.I honestly expected more after all the awards and recommendations by friends.Considering its minimal character development and dry, documentary style, I expected more detailed and descriptive world-building.While some claim this is a science-heavy tome, I found the descriptions of the tech fairly slim.Another thing that struck me is how such a devastated earth had an endless supply of both resolve and money for the Mars colonizers.On top of that, all of that tech seemed to work flawlessly for the most part, which is very hard to swallow.Also, not sure why it bugged me, but the speed at which the early colonists could move around the planet seemed quite improbable.There was also a fairly ginormous coincidence where a notable character they were searching for was found, seemingly at random, from among tens of thousands of colonists.

Upshot is, I felt obligated to finish it, and might even read the next couple in series, but it felt like more of a task at times than a pleasure, though I admit I was hooked in just enough to keep going.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important hard SF novel on the settling of Mars
Kim Stanley Robinson's epic Mars Trilogy chronicles humanity's colonisation of Mars, beginning in the early 21st Century and extending over a period of some two centuries. The first book, which covers a period of some forty years, sees the initial settling of Mars by the First Hundred, the welcome arrival of additional waves of colonists intent on scientific research and then the more challenging problems of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of economic migrants, refugees and outcasts on a world that is not ready for them, and the resulting tensions between the newcomers and old-timers, and between the authorities on Mars and Earth.

The success of the trilogy as a whole is debatable, but this first volume, at least, is a masterpiece. Robinson's story rotates through a number of POV characters amongst the initial settlers, the First Hundred, and it rapidly becomes clear that most of them are somewhat unreliable narrators. Maya's complaints in her own POV of her 'important problems' being ignored by the base psychiatrist are given another perspective in her friend Nadia's POV, which reveals Maya is more interested in a trivial love triangle between herself and two Americans rather than in the colonisation of Mars, whilst the psychiatrist Michel's POV reveals that he is giving Maya colossal amounts of time and attention (to the detriment of his own mental health) which is unappreciated. Character is thus built up in layers, from both internal viewpoints and external sources, making these central characters very well-realised (although characters outside the central coterie can be a little on the thin side).

However, it is Mars itself which is the central figure of the book. Robinson brings a dead planet to vivid life, emphasising the differences in terrain and character between the frozen northern polar icecap and the water-cut channels in the depths of the Valles Marineris, with the massive mountains of Tharsis towering high into the atmosphere and colonists eagerly staking claims to future beachfront properties in Hellas, the lowest point on Mars and the first place to see the benefits of terraforming. The ideas of Mars as it is now as a pristine, beautiful but harsh landscape and the habitable world it could be are sharply contrasted, and the rights and wrongs of terraforming form a core argument of the novel. I get the impression that Robinson sides with the view that the planet should be left untouched, but he is realistic enough to know this will not happen if Mars can be settled and exploited. Mars in this work becomes a success of SF worldbuilding to compete with Helliconia and Arrakis, losing only a few points for actually existing.

On the downside, Robinson hits a few bad notes. Some of these are unavoidable consequences of the book being nearly twenty years old. Even in 1992 the notion that the Chinese would not play a major role in the financing and undertaking of a Mars colonisation mission only forty years hence was somewhat fanciful, but today it is almost unthinkable. More notably, the global recession has made the possibility of a manned mission to Mars, let alone a full-scale colonisation effort, by the 2020s somewhat dubious. Of course, these are issues Robinson could not hope to predict in the early 1990s.

Other problems are more notable. Robinson goes to some lengths to make the pro-terraforming and anti-terraforming sides of the debate both understandable and intelligent, but his political sympathies are much more one-sided. The pro-Martian independence brigade have charismatic leaders and a grass-roots movement of plucky, honest-men-against-the-machine supporters to their name, whilst the pro-Earth-control movement is led by a fundamentalist conservative Christian and resorts to weapons and mass-slaughter extremely easily. Robinson, to his credit, recognises this problem in later books and tries to repair the damage somewhat (Phyllis, presented extremely negatively in Red Mars, is shown in a more sympathetic light in later volumes), but there remains a feeling of political bias in this first volume. In addition, it sometimes feels that Robinson really wants the reader to know about the years of research he put into the book, with tangents and divergences which make the book feel like half a novel and half a factual science volume on how the possible colonisation of Mars might happen. For those fascinated by the real-life plans to terraform Mars (like me) this isn't an issue, but for some it may be. It is also, by far, the biggest problem the sequels face.

Nevertheless, the sheer, massive scope and complexity of Red Mars makes up for this. There is an overwhelming feeling running through this novel unlike almost any other hard SF novel ever published, that this might actually happen. Maybe not as soon as 2027, maybe not with such a determined push towards colonisation and terraforming right from the off, but one day, barring the collapse of our civilisation, we will go to Mars, and many of the challenges and problems faced by the First Hundred in this book are issues that will need to be overcome to make that possibility a reality.

Plus, and this cannot be undervalued, the dry and more sedentary tone of the earlier parts of the book are made up for by the final 100 pages or so, which contains one sequence which ranks amongst the most memorable and stunning moments of SF imagery achieved in the history of the genre to date. Robinson may have the image of being a bit of a laidback Californian optimist, but he sets to blowing stuff up at the end of the book with a relish that makes even Greg Bear look unambitious.

Red Mars (****½) is an awe-inspiring feat of SF worldbuilding and a vital novel on the colonisation of our neighbouring world, let down by a few moments of naivete and simplistic straw-manning of political points of view not to Robinson's liking. Overcoming this, the central characters are fascinating, the sheer scope of the book is stunning and the climatic revolution sequence is dramatic and spectacular.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading!
Should be read by all policy makers, economists, sociologists, psychologists, and futurists.To read this book is to understand why Arthur C. Clarke made the recommendation he did. ... Read more

9. Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 784 Pages (1997-06-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553573357
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The red planet is red no longer, as Mars has become a perfectly inhabitable world. But while Mars flourishes, Earth isthreatened by overpopulation andecological disaster. Soon people look to Mars as a refuge, initiating a possible interplanetary conflict, as well as political strife between the Reds, who wish to preserve the planet in its desert state, and the Green "terraformers".The ultimate fate of Earth, as well as the possibility of new explorations into the solar system, stand in the balance. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (119)

3-0 out of 5 stars Epic... like a glacier
This highly acclaimed, Hugo winning series is truly epic.It spans three books: Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars; in that order.The story spans a couple hundred years of the terraforming of Mars.It is intricate, with strong social relationships, sociology, economics and politics.The author creates a world in which the science and technology make the colonization of another world seem well within our reach.I recently completed the last of the 750 pages of the last book, Blue Mars; and I can tell you that, with the exception of about 100 pages through all three books, the pace is consistent with terraforming.Now, having completed the series, I feel much like the aging Sax Russell (one of the main characters).I look back on reading these books as a life-long achievement.It feels like it's been 200 years since I started the series, and I don't remember much of what happened in the first one.The series artfully conveys the sense of passing ages to the reader.While in reading the work I was sometimes bored out of my mind, I now feel like I've lived through the decades of red, green and blue Mars.It's strange, but, if this is what the author intended, it is pure genius.If you're looking for a series that will make your heart race and keep you up late into the evening, devouring page after page, then I'd recommend looking elsewhere.If you'd enjoy watching a glacier for days only to capture the moment that one large chunk sheers away and falls into the sea, then this series may be just the experience that you've been looking for.

1-0 out of 5 stars Blue Mars : Kindle Version
I've received yesterday the kindle version of this title I already own in paperback.
I hoped it would be a way for me, as a non English speaker, to use the included dictionary.
But, I've been surprise to see a lot of spelling mistakes. Not being sure at first, I checked my paperback version, and found the kindle one full of mistakes.

I'm really begining to wonder my I should pay more a digital version full of mistakes than a paperback version...

Of course, I remain a great admirer of Robinson Saga

5-0 out of 5 stars 3rd in Trilogy. Best Mars Colonization Terraforming ever!
Read Red Mars and Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson both 5 stars.

Blue Mars 3rd in Trilogy is also fantastic. 3rd Mars revolution. Mars gets a constitution and a government but must have a 10%population increase each year from Earth by treaty and Earth desperately wants to send more.Now settling on hollowed out asteroids, moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Also a city called Terminator on Mercury and starting terraforming on Venus. Later hollowed out Fusion powered asteroid/spaceship to a planet around Aldebaran star. Get there in 30 years. OK as people have the longevity treatment. Now Fusion powered rockets. Earth to Mars in 3 days.Earth very overcrowded 20 billion and now 2 billion on Mars. Many of the original 100 have died and many still dieing from Fast Demise even though they have the long life treatment.Now there is memory enhancement treatments for the aged...some are 230 years old plus. But there is hope with a new treatment...maybe.

Now in about 200 years Mars has vast terraforming. Many kinds of planets and trees...some huge. Many animals from Earth with enhanced genes to breath the higher CO2 Mars atmosphere....even polar bears, antelope, fish, birds etc. Many boats and flying craft on Mars. Cities now. Mars has a breathable atmosphere if you get the gene CO2 treatment. Enough oxygen now and a Mars sea, lakes, river etc.Its not as cold now...liquid water.

Kim Stanley Robinson has written a Sci Fi trilogy epic. He is great with character development and character relationships. He goes into a lot of future technology some believable...some a bit too fantastic for just less than 200 years in the future. This is the BEST Mars colonizing sci fi terraforming trilogy EVER! Aurther C Clarke, Robert Zubrin and others rated it great. Me too. If you are into Mars colonizing and terraforming this trilogy is for you. Highest rating 5 stars.

This is the second time I have read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. First and second readings many years apart.I liked the Mars trilogy so much I purchased Robinson's Antartica on Amazon. Have not got the book yet. Will post review.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the trilogy (SPOILERS)

I just finished this book today, thus completing my reading of the whole trilogy.

Let me get something out of the way: I completely understand why so many negative reviews of the Mars Trilogy exist. You need to have a certain personality type to get something out of this sort of writing:
- first, many negative reviews are due to differences with the political views expressed in the novels, which become most explicit in Blue Mars. If you do not align with KSR's views, you must take the occasional pinch of salt.
- second, many reviews seem to be from people who appreciate hard science, but who do not appear to appreciate human geography or history. If you are a scientist, then rejoice, for this is the hardest sci-fi I have ever read. However, you're more likely to appreciate this kind of book if you are ALSO the kind of person that likes to read a lot of history texts and/or have an interest in human societies.
- finally, there is justifiable complaint about the emphasis on locations rather than characters; sometimes this goes overboard, but less so in Blue Mars, in my opinion.

Blue Mars, I think, is the best of the Mars Trilogy. Many people seem to think it is the worst; but maybe they are looking for something that isn't here. The novels seem to get better with each sequel. It is as if KSR received some negative feedback from Red Mars, amended his Green Mars manuscript, and then got negative feedback from Green Mars and amended the last book also.

I have stated elsewhere that Red Mars has an insane amount of tedium, odd characterisation, confusing plot points and other issues especially in its second half. Green Mars has a more tight plot. Although Blue Mars is the loosest of all three, plotwise, the prose is also much easier to get into. The first chapter eases the reader into the story a lot better than the previous two books. There is continuous interest in the story, leading clear to the end.

The essential arc of the storyline is the creation of a new Martian state after the Second Revolution at the end of Green Mars. Earth is now hideously overpopulated because the longevity treatment (which seemed like a deus ex machina in the first book) has been universally applied and the old no longer die. Parallel to this is the completion of terraforming: Mars now has oceans. Over the course of the book, the oceans evolve from frozen lakes with occasional patches of blue, right up to full-on warm salty oceans with sailing-ships and fish and gulls.

The First Hundred, however, are running down and dying even as technology reaches its zenith. Almost everyone has severe memory problems. In the book's (and the trilogy's) emotional climax, the remaining 14 of the First Hundred file into the now ancient remains of Underhill and the trailer park, barely able to remember their past. Sax injects them with a new drug, and they are overwhelmed by the restoration of all their old memories, right back to Earth.

I found this aspect of the novel to be very moving; the 200 year old First Hundred seeming to be on the verge of collapse, without even the memory of the events we have been reading about - and then all of a sudden they get back all their memories in a flood and they realise what an epic they have lived. By the end of the novel, the First Hundred live in a neo-Hellenistic civilisation around the Hellas Basin (now a warm tropical sea) eating ice creams, attending neo-Olympic games and watching Greek tragedies.

I also liked the descriptions of Earth 200 years in the future, the visits to Miranda (moon of Uranus) and Mercury...Technology has progressed through the three novels so now many planets have been colonised and the Martians begin sending star ships out to colonise other solar systems. Human beings begin to use unthinkable technologies to give themselves light sensitive eyes and gills so they can live on the watery moons of the gas giants.

Overall the novel was, to me, much more of a page turner than the previous two. I thought characterisation had actually improved since the first two novels. It is true, the politics is much more heavy handed here than in Red Mars; but then, there is far worse preaching in other sci-fi novels! The last novel also, in a sense, gives more meaning to the events in the first two novels. The whole thing has been an epic about the glories of human progress and what it might achieve off Earth; KSR's view of science is ultimately optimistic, and when he gives glimpses of his hard-science based extrapolation of what people might achieve, it is quite uplifting.

2-0 out of 5 stars Something vital missing...
There are many things keeping this book and trilogy from being really good, but the main thing missing is an actual antagonist.What are the main characters actually trying to accomplish?From time to time, there are parts of the book that would suggest that the governments and institutions of Earth are the real threat.At other times you get the impression that the struggle may be against the Free Mars party that is trying to isolate Mars and spark a possible war with Earth.No, the real enemy as far as this author is concerned is growing old.Yes, they came up with a way to extend the life of humans but it comes at a cost.The super elderly first lose their long term memory and then they start to lose their short term memory as well.There's actually a fairly lengthy chapter of this book dedicated to Sax attempting to correct this deficiency in growing old.If this sounds utterly underwhelming, you'd be correct.The 'great' victory in this book is the cure to memory loss which supposedly will help stop the quick decline where people just completely shut down and die.All of the longevity treatment story arcs detract greatly from the overall storyline, which COULD have been developed into something interesting.

Speaking of pointless, distracting plot hooks, this book is littered with supposed sightings of Hiroko who may or may not have been killed in Green Mars.I hope I don't ruin too much by saying this, but if you are expecting some sort of resolution to what happened to Hiroko and the others that were with her, just forget about it.People keep 'seeing' her everywhere.She came back to Earth to help with the flood, she's back on Mars helping people develop communities, she's been seen on other moons in our solar system, she's decided to leave our solar system.Honestly I don't see how she would even be considered such a popular icon.She was a nutjob in Green Mars and a waste of a hypothetical Elvis in Blue Mars.

And then there are the characters.A more unlikeable group of people you will never read about.Nirgal is probably the only tolerable main character in the entire book and why he has any feelings at all for Jackie is beyond me.Her character, amazingly, becomes even more reprehensible in this book.I can actually somewhat stand Sax, but even his part in this story becomes tiresome.How come whenever there's a scientific emergency, an aging scientist like Sax is the ONLY person who can seem to come up with a solution?That's even more improbable considering his memory retention problems like all of the other super elderly.He, like Nirgal, is infatuated with a thouroughly unlikeable character in Ann Clayborne.To her credit, she actually mellows out after she surpasses 200 years old by the end of the book.

As I have tried to do with all of the books in this series, I will try to highlight the good points of the book.Robinson FINALLY figured out how to break up the story in to more manageable chunks.That actually kept it from dragging as much as the first two books.The terraforming theories are still fairly interesting and show that even with our interference, a terraformed Mars is still vastly different from Earth.Having said that, the best story of all three books was in Red Mars.There was promise in this entire series, but that promise is never realised.There just isn't anything interesting going on to make you want to come back and continue reading.When there IS an interesting plotline going on, it is dragged out for way too many pages.What would I recommend then for this series?Read Red Mars.If you are actually compelled to read it in less than 2 months, then maybe you'll be interested in finding out what goes on in the sequels.I'm afraid the majority of readers won't be interested in the non-existent story however.I only persevered because I bought the books and I didn't want to completely waste my money on them.If I had to do it again, I wouldn't waste my money. ... Read more

10. Icehenge
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 288 Pages (1998-05-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312866097
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
On the North Pole of Pluto there stands an enigma: a huge circle of standing blocks of ice, built on the pattern of Earth's Stonehenge--but ten times the size, standing alone at the farthest reaches of the Solar System. What is it? Who came there to build it?

The secret lies, perhaps, in the chaotic decades of the Martian Revolution, in the lost memories of those who have lived for centuries.
Amazon.com Review
Voted one of the best science fiction novels of the year in the 1985 LocusPoll, Icehenge is an early novel by Kim Stanley Robinson (author ofthe trilogy comprising Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) andtakes place in the same universe. The story is part mystery and partpsychological drama, divided into three distinct sections.

In the year 2248, Mars is ruled by a Politburo-like committee that activelydiscourages dissent as well as travel and exploration of other planets.Scientist Emma Weil becomes involved in a covert plot to convert a stolenship into a self-supporting spaceship. She turns down a chance to accompanythe starfarers, and returns to her beloved Mars where she joins therevolution already in progress.

Three centuries later, archaeologist Hjalmar Nederland unearths agovernmental cover-up of the true facts behind the old revolution. At thesame time, a Stonehenge-like monument is discovered on the north pole ofPluto, and Nederland sets out to prove his theory that the monument isconnected to revolutionaries and their contemporaries who left for thestars. Seventy years later, his great-grandson Edmond Doya becomesconvinced that Icehenge is a hoax, and attempts to disprove Nederland'stheory.

In addition to futuristic issues such as interstellar travel and theterraforming of Mars, Robinson's characters grapple with politics, careers,families, and aging. Icehenge is a worthy introduction to theauthor's winning combination of hard science and believablecharacterization. --Bonnie Bouman ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Sic Fi / mystery planet Pluto ice monolith who done it?
I like Kim Stanley Robinson's Icehenge. After reading his epic Mars trilogy Red, Green, Blue Mars all 5 stars I had to try Icehenge. Robinson does not disappoint. His character development is fantastic as is his detail. Kim Robinson does a very good job blending sci fi and a mystery. The book has many characters but 3 main characters in 3 different time periods after Mars colonization.

We see life systems specialist Emma Weil 2248 AD., archaeologist/professor Hjalmer Nederland 2547 AD.,and great grandson Edmond Doya 2610 AD. Starting with the colonization and terraforming of Mars mankind has been given a drug/procedure where they have a thousand year life expectancy (sometimes but suffer memory loss as the hundreds of years progress).

Mankind has settled much of the solar system. A group of revolutionaries want to go to the stars in a hijacked, giant mining ship converted into a star ship. The mystery who built Icehenge starts in the late part of the second part of the book and intensifies in the third part. I won't ruin the book for you. Kim Robinson gets the reader thinking who built the Icehenge ice monolith on planet Pluto and why?

The book in part 1 was great fast action 5 stars. Part 2 was slower action dragged down by explaining the "funk" and loss of memory the old humans go through after they are hundreds of years old. To me explaining the "funk" too long slowed down the book. Part 2 was 3 1/2 stars. Part 3 was greatmaking you think who made the Icehenge and why at 5 stars.

Icehenge a good book I like and recommend... 4 stars. Now reading Robinson's novel Antarctica. Will post review

5-0 out of 5 stars Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson
A++, absolutely excellent adventure novel with a few unpredicted twists. Dana Van Valin in Colorado

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice read if you enjoyed the Mars trilogy
Told from three different points of view, this is the story of how an ice monolith similar to Stonehenge, made from ice taken from Saturn's rings, is discovered on Pluto and its possible origins debated and reformulated. It is also the story of a futuristic society that has colonized the solar system and expanded the human lifespan such that people are practically immortal and memory has become meaningless.

The novel spans an immense length of time, beginning with the adventures of an expert in life-support systems; her ship is shanghaied, and she is pressed into the service of revolutionaries venturing on a manned mission out of the solar system for the first time, then released into an uprising on her home planet Mars. The story then jumps several hundred years into the future when an archaeologist discovers this woman's journal in the remains of a Martian city destroyed during the revolution and theorizes that the ship that left the solar system built Icehenge as a monument to its achievement. Finally, the story shifts again to the point of view of an intellectual dilettante who visits Icehenge and exposes the truth -- but never satisfactorily.

There is a lot to chew on here, too much to properly summarize, from grasping the nuances of life in the future solar system to parsing out the various speculations on the meaning of the mysterious monolith. Icehenge will hold the attention of the hard science fiction fan -- particularly those who have already read and enjoyed Robinson's Mars trilogy -- until the final, puzzling revelations on Pluto.

4-0 out of 5 stars Deception upon the pages, mystery in the words
Deception and mystery surrounding missing spaceships, a Mars revolt and missing persons results in a another mystery on Pluto. Just that sentence ALONE is a tease; the book begs to be read with eyes wide open! Inventive plot, interesting chrono-sequential flow jumping ahead a generation or two and seeing if the mystery has unraveled a little further. Deceive yourself or have the characters deceive you... up to you. Dream up your own explanations to the mysteries which manifest themselves upon the pages. However, deception and mysteries aren't for my forte. KSR- hard to wrong with this author!

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story set in a solar-system wide civilization over 300 years...
Composed of three parts in which each centers on a different character, this novel develops in very unexpected ways to highlight the problems of knowledge of the past even in a future setting where people live for hundreds of years.The puzzle of the construction of a Stonehenge-like monument on Pluto is at the center of this story covering 362 years and set against the background of a developing solar system-wide human civilization.The author's first-person narrative/auto-biographical approach works well for telling this story too.Along the way a recurrent sub-theme explores what it means for humans to live very much longer than we do now.Very enjoyable read! ... Read more

11. The Martians
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 434 Pages (2000-10-03)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$2.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553574019
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is one of science fiction's most honored series, with Red Mars winning the distinguished Nebula Award, and both Green Mars and Blue Mars honored with the Hugo. A modern-day classic of the genre, this epic saga deftly portrays the human stories behind Earth's most ambitious project yet: the terraforming of Mars.

Now, following the publication of his acclaimed adventure novel, Antarctica, Robinson returns to the realm he has made his own, in a work that brilliantly weaves together a futuristic setting with a poetic vision of the human spirit engaged in a drama as ancient as mankind itself.

From a training mission in Antarctica to blistering sandstorms sweeping through labyrinths of barren canyons, the interwoven stories of The Martians set in motion a sprawling cast of characters upon the surface of Mars. As the planet is transformed from an unexplored and forbidding terrain to a troubled image of a re-created Earth, we meet men and women who are bound together by their experiences on Mars and with each other.

Among them are Michel, a French psychologist dazzled by the beauty around him; Maya, a woman whose ill-fated love affairs lead to her first voyage to Mars; and Roger, a tall Martian-born guide who lacks social skills but has the courage to survive on the planet's dangerous yet strangely compelling surface.

Beginning with the First Hundred explorers, generations of friends, enemies, and lovers are swept up in the drama that is Earth's tenuous toehold on Mars. International exploration turns into world building; world building degenerates into political conflict, revolution, and war.

Following the strands of these lives and events, in an age when human life has been extended for decades, The Martians becomes the story of generations lived on the edge of the ultimate frontier, in a landscape of constant man-made and natural transformation.

This new masterpiece by Kim Stanley Robinson is a story of hope and disappointment, of fierce physical and psychological struggles. Both deeply human and scientifically cutting edge, The Martians is the epic chronicle of a planet that represents one of humanity's most glorious possibilities.

A Letter from Kim Stanley Robinson:

"When I finished Blue Mars, I realized I wasn't done with Mars yet.There were things I still wanted to say about the place, and about my characters from the trilogy, and there were a number of sidebar stories and characters that had found no place in the trilogy's structure.I also had a couple of precursor Mars stories that did not fit the trilogy's history--'Exploring Fossil Canyon' and 'Green Mars'--and I had held these out of my earlier story collections thinking they belonged with the Mars group."

So all this material was there, and as I wrote Antarctica, I found myself drawn back into the matter of Mars repeatedly, by the discovery of possible life in meteorite AHL8004 and by the Pathfinder landing.I decided to make a collection of Martian tales, and as I put them in roughly chronological order, I saw that they seemed to be adding up to their own larger story, functioning as the trilogy's 'unconscious' or 'secret history'.Using all kinds of modes, from folk tales to scientific articles, from personal accounts to the full text of a constitution, I arranged things so that the book altogether tells the story of an underground and hard-to-see resistance to the terraforming described in the trilogy proper.I had a great time doing these stories, and hope they add up to my own version of a Martian Chronicles."Amazon.com Review
The Martians is a collection of stories, alternatehistories, poems, and even the complete text of a planetaryconstitution based on Kim Stanley Robinson's award-winning Marstrilogy (composed of Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars). For thoseunfamiliar with the series, The Martians from the title are the humanswho have colonized and terraformed the Red Planet over the course ofseveral generations. While Robinson told their story at considerablelength in his novels, The Martians fleshes out some of his moreinteresting characters and also adds depth to their world.

Whenit's at its best, this collection presents stand-alone stories oflife, love, and work on our celestial neighbor, ranging from the taleof an expedition seeking to conquer Olympus Mons in "Green Mars" to afolksy story of friendship and baseball in "Arthur Sternbach Bringsthe Curveball to Mars." Unfortunately, some of the material here canbe tough going for those unfamiliar with Robinson's Mars milieu. Forinstance, the ending piece, "Purple Mars," is apparently anautobiographical snippet about the day Robinson finished writing thefinal novel. That's great stuff for someone who has been following theentire Mars saga from beginning to end, but newcomers will probablynot know what to make of it.

Still, there is enough material hereto interest anyone on the lookout for some good Mars stories. AlthoughRobinson has made his name by writing fat novels that span dozens ofgenerations and characters, in The Martians he proves that heis also adept at shorter pieces. It's a fine if somewhat unevencollection that serves to round out the Mars universe while providingsome excellent reading. --Craig E. Engler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

3-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating, Uneven, Occasionally Brilliant
These stories are leftovers, the musical equivalent of bonus tracks, from Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. For sure, they should not be expected to be on a par with the proper trilogy. Despite the mixed reviews, I wanted to read this, a couple years after having finished Blue Mars, because I loved the world and characters Robinson had created, and I was interested in one last visit to this wonderful place. Some of the stories succeed, particularly those that follow Roger, the "Green Mars" story being this book's centerpiece. The stories involving the Martian Constitution are surprisingly interesting. But some are terrible, especially the one-page "story" that merely lists what music Robinson listened to while writing for particular characters. By the time I got to the poetry, I was more than ready for this book to be over.

The book is good enough at its peaks, and evocative enough about Robinson Martian vision, that I feel it's a worthwhile read overall for those who really loved the Mars trilogy. But it should be taken for what it is: Extra. Not a proper short story collection or coda, not a masterpiece.

4-0 out of 5 stars A decent, but not particularlynecessary, companion book to the Mars Trilogy
Kim S. Robinson's book, "The Martians", is a bit of an odd book. It is complementary to his more well-known Mars Trilogy, and like that trilogy, it explores the fate of the setting (the future of humanity as it colonizes and terraforms Mars and then much of the outer solar system) as well as some of the characters. Unlike the trilogy, though, "The Martians" is a collection of short stories, in-universe "reports", and even a list of songs.

The stories vary, but there are three particular "series" of short stories that make up a significant chunk of "The Martians". The first is a "What-If?" centering around the character of Michel (a major psychologist character from the Trilogy), showing what might have happened had things gone differently with the First Hundred settlers from the beginning, and touching on his relationship with Maya. The second involves the character of Desmond/"Coyote", shedding light on his views and life. But the biggest one, with several stories, is that of the relationship between the character Roger Clayborne and Eileen Monday, as they experience Mars through the terraforming process, down to a rather tragic conclusion.

It's an interesting read, with some hints on how events play out on Mars, but aside from the Michel story, it's not particularly important or exciting to read. I would suggest getting the book from a library first before making the decision on whether or not to purchase it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Beating the dead horse of the Mars Trilogy
Red, Green and Blue Mars was a lengthy adventure in personal reading, in the science fiction realm and in the blossoming of ideas towards the human goal of Mars colonization. Then came The Martians (eek!) book which should have provided voyeuristic glimpses into the versatile characters of the Mars 100, which should have expounded upon the technology used in the 'terraforming' process and which should have provided a clearer view as the Mars-Earth relationship. The book failed ALL of my expectations! I respect KSR for his Mars Trilogy and his Three California's, but what went wrong with The Martians? Was it a sell out, to gain profits from the already profitable trilogy? Likely so. The lack of continuity threw what good stories there were into a temporal confusion. The only story which really stood out was the 100+ page Green Mars short story: mountain climbing and trailblazing on Mars.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
The Martians is a set of short stories and anecdotes about people and places set in and around Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.An ok piece of extra work here, but nothing you need to rush out and get.It is not particularly memorable at all, in other words, but definitely is not bad.

The Martians is a set of short stories and anecdotes about people and places set in and around Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.An ok piece of extra work here, but nothing you need to rush out and get.It is not particularly memorable at all, in other words, but definitely is not bad.It also includes eome poetry in the latter part.

Martians : Michel in Antarctica - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Exploring Fossil Canyon - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : The Archaea Plot - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : The Way the Land Spoke to Us - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Maya and Desmond - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Four Teleogical Trails - Kim Stanley Robinson;
Martians : Coyote Makes Trouble - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Michel in Provence - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Green Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Salt and Fresh - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : The Constitution of Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Some Worknotes and Commentary on the Constitution by Charlotte Dorsa Brevia - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Jackie on Zo - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Keeping the Flame - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Saving Noctis Dam - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Big Man in Love - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : An Argument for the Deployment of All Safe Terraforming Technologies - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Selected Abstracts from The Journal of Areological Studies - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Odessa - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Sexual Dimorphism - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Enough is as Good as a Feast - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : What Matters - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Coyote Remembers - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Sax Moments - Kim Stanley Robinson
Martians : Purple Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson

Psychiatric expedition evaluation.

4.5 out of 5

Dead life discovery.

3 out of 5

Terraforming fable.

3 out of 5

Chaotic terrain.

3 out of 5

Enamored stowaway story.

4 out of 5

Track turns.

2.5 out of 5

Anti Transformation agitation.

3.5 out of 5

Planetary leavings.

3.5 out of 5

High point achieved.

3.5 out of 5

A coach has to adapt the game to the physics of the red planet, and help a young man along the way.

4 out of 5

Fable watering.

3 out of 5

Legal document.

3.5 out of 5

Legal document discussion.

3.5 out of 5


2.5 out of 5

Nirgal's new First Hundred meeting.

3.5 out of 5

Flimsy solution.

3 out of 5

Gonad reduction fable.

3 out of 5

Nuclear argument.

3 out of 5

Abstract science.

3.5 out of 5

Surface admiration.

2 out of 5

Women, men, pretty similar most of the time. Mammaries float differently while swimming, apparently.

4 out of 5

Crater living.

3.5 out of 5

Green discussion.

3 out of 5


3.5 out of 5

Memory worries.

3.5 out of 5

Possibly Dead Mars.

3 out of 5

School time.

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

3-0 out of 5 stars Confusing, but might be very good after reading the full trilogy
I don't see how the spotlight reviewer who called this a "mixed bag" with "a lot of hit and miss" could give this book 5 stars. Those phrases are more appropriate for 3 stars.

Having enjoyed KSR's Wild Shore series, I read this book after a friend gave it to me with the caveat that it might be hard to grasp before reading the Mars trilogy. It was, but I didn't feel "totally lost."

The interplay of characters, politics, and terraforming comes through, even though it's thinly stretched over a long period of Martian history and there are too many gaps to make this book work as a standalone. Despite the confusing discontinuities in chronology, I found most of the book engaging and only skimmed during the poetry section.

There's a lie on the back cover: this book does not contain "new novellas." There is only one novella, a tedious 96-page tale of climbing the tallest mountain that was originally published in 1985, years before the trilogy. The next longest pieces are three stories in the 30-35 page range, one of which (Fossil Canyon) appeared in 1982.

Yes, the poetry is bad, as are the Paul Bunyon type myths and the self-referential final chapter about the author dragging his toddler along as he mails the manuscript. But KSR is merely indulging the vanity of a successful author, as Heinlein (Green Hills of Earth ballad inside the namesake story) did before him and some non-SF authors have done since: they can get away with inserting poems that are unpublishable unless embedded in fiction.

The book comes across as fragments pieced together in order to keep up the publisher's inventory. Even so, it could have been edited better. For example, the heights given in the cutaway diagram of Olympus Mons are 10x what the text says. ... Read more

12. Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 2)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mass Market Paperback: 640 Pages (1995-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553572393
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the Nebula Award winning Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson began his critically acclaimed epic saga of the colonization of Mars, Now the Hugo Award winning Green Mars continues the thrilling and timeless tale of humanity's struggle to survive at its farthest frontier.

Nearly a generation has passed since the first pioneers landed, but the transformation of Mars to an Earthlike planet has just begun The plan is opposed by those determined to preserve the planets hostile, barren beauty. Led by rebels like Peter Clayborne, these young people are the first generation of children born on Mars. They will be joined by original settlers Maya Toitovna, Simon Frasier, and Sax Russell. Against this cosmic backdrop, passions, rivalries, and friendships explode in a story as spectacular as the planet itself.Amazon.com Review
Kim Stanley Robinson has earned a reputation as the master of Marsfiction, writing books that are scientific, sociological and, best yet,fantastic. Green Mars continues the story of humans settling theplanet in a process called "terraforming." In Red Mars, the initial work inthe trilogy, the first 100 scientists chosen to explore the planetdisintegrated in disagreement--in part because of pressures from forces onEarth. Some of the scientists formed a loose network underground. GreenMars, which won the 1994 Hugo Award, follows the development of theunderground and the problems endemic to forming a new society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (94)

2-0 out of 5 stars so many "typos"! good book, but sometimes hard to decipher.
However they got this book into the Kindle format, they did not do it carefully. A lot of the errors are using "i" and "l" interchangeably, but some of them are so bad that I can't figure out what word it's supposed to be. I don't think I'll be paying any money for the next one if it's so defective like this one...

As far as the story -- it's more interesting to me than _Red Mars_, because Robinson is more "internal" in the characters' heads, and he has gotten better at putting the words together in a smooth "flow". Not so choppy.

Some good messages about where we're heading with all this corporate-takeover of governments...

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition ONLY
This is a critique solely of the digital conversion of Green Mars to Kindle format.

The Kindle edition is currently (05 Sept 2010)a mess.It appears that an inadequate paper copy was scanned to create the digital edition and then not even given a basic proofreading to correct scanning errors.

There are non-words (ex: "faetores" instead of "factories", or "huls" instead of "hills"), there is inappropriate punctuation (umlauts where none should be are popular) and the ever popular hyphenation of words as a relic from the words straddling two lines in the physical editions.

The publisher does a disservice to the work and to the readers by allowing this mess into print.

My recommendation would be to avoid buying this until the publisher makes the necessary corrections.

FWIW, I did not notice any of these errors in the Kindle edition of Red Mars. I haven't yet read Blue Mars so I am unable to provide feedback regarding its conversion to digital.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not quite the original, but still good
Green Mars, the 2nd edition of the Mars Trilogy, picks up where the first left off with many of the same characters and themes.And, that is a good thing.It would be a travesty no to expound on the detail of the first.In fact, nine or ten books would not be out of the question given the amount of detail provided in both books.Further, Robinson could have developed an entire series based upon the future history of Earth to run concurrently with his Mars books.For some reason, we seem fixated on trilogies.

Some critics have rightly pointed to not-too-subtle socialist/environmental undertones to the book.These accusations are justified.Robinson's references to Global Warming and the Tragedy of the Commons made me wonder if I had accidentally picked up one of the Jared Diamond books at times.Nonetheless, the social and political intrigued enhanced, not detracted, from the story as Robinson significantly furthered the development of the Mars development.I could have lived without some of the psuedo-naturalist, hippie-inspired Red/"areophany" scenes.But, otherwise, the pro-development versus preservationist aspects were wonderfully written.And, Robinson gave each side its due credit.

The incredible detail is also a curse.Red Mars was almost universally praised for its incredible attention to detail.Green Mars was a bit like trying to recreate the White Album.It was still good, but not the same.Robinson could have used a stronger editor in spots.

This book is really a 3.5. It is certainly better than a 3.But, it is not quite the original.And, I'm not sure if I look forward to the final chapter of the trilogy only because of its length, which is at times self-indulgent.Nonetheless, it is a fine read; and a suitable sequel to the original.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dude814
OMG, get your dictionary out to read this book unless you are a geologist, psychologist, sociologist, and botanist.Forget that, there are just too many words to look up.The author does a great job defining them (once), but when you line up a whole sentence with nothing but geological words, it becomes dense.Like reading all those Russian names/words in the old Tom Clancy novels.After awhile you just read over them.I think I will get a master's degree upon completion of the series.The Kindle version is filled with typographical errors too.None that impede understanding, but enough to make you spend a minute to try to figure out how to pronounce the non-word and what it means (since the book is filled with real words that are unpronounceable and unknown to me).Reading this book is kind of like watching a 700 part mini series each 2 hours long.You can miss a lot and maybe not catch where it gets tied up later, but you get the gist so that is about all you can do without an outline.Sometimes I just wonder where [insert name of character] has been for the last 30 years.The work is impressive... but so is [insert name of amazing book that is too hard to read/understand].But for the Coyote I would have moved on already.Not sure I will make it to the next book.The first was free, I bought the second.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition needs editor
I haven't finished the book yet so I can't say whether or not I'll enjoy it in the end, and I haven't compared it to the print edition (this review is specifically for the Kindle edition) but I wanted to mention that the copy editing, in the Kindle version, is horrible. There are spelling errors every page or two - some are wrong-word type things (taxes where faxes was meant to be) and some are just complete misspellings. Doesn't anybody proofread this stuff? Is the print edition just as bad? I find it jarring and unpleasant to read when there are so many errors in a text. ... Read more

13. The Wild Shore: Three Californias
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 384 Pages (1995-03-15)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$6.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0044KN1JO
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
2047: For the small Pacific Coast community of San Onofre, life in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear attack is a matter of survival, a day-to-day struggle to stay alive. But young Hank Fletcher dreams of the world that might have been, and might yet be--and dreams of playing a crucial role in America's rebirth.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Americas greatness wiped outby 3000 Neutron bombs. Survivalin third world California
Another great book by Kim Stanley Robinson. See my reviews for other great books written by him.

The Wild Shore is about a destroyed America after 3000 Neutron bombs are secretly sneaked into the US and detonated in the USA cities in the 1980s. The story takes place in 2046 long after the destruction.

As usual Robinson's character development is superb with great interaction between the characters and telling us about how they live their simple lives. It takes place in a small village in California where a small group of people go about their daily lives just trying to survive. We see them fishing, farming and swapping goods in the now third world America. All modern conveniences are gone. No cars, electric, radios, TV , computers....nothing. America has stepped back 200 years.

USA president Eliot did not strike back with nuclear weapons for whatever reasons. We are never told. We are never told what towns survived in other parts of the US. The weather starts changing worldwide for the worse due to 3000 Neutron bombs that went off. The rest of the world is intact.

The United Nations has the US quarantined. They really don't want the US to rebuild. Japan is in charge of the quarantine of our west coast. Canada of the east coast and Mexico of our south.

Some of the Japanese sneak in with the help of spies and scavengers in the US to loot parts of California. A small group of people in San Diego have limited electricity and guns and are part of the resistance and team up with 3 teenagers from the surrounding small town. Unfortunately its a trap and most of the San Diego men and one of the teenagers are killed in a fight with landing Japanese, scavengers and a blasting gun from the Japanese submarine offshore. Also missiles are used to blow up the resistances railroad tracks. Its not a fair fight as the California resistance has only a few guns against the full military/technology might of the Japanese.

The characters are fantastic. We see the old man Tom who lived before the bombing, old man Doc a doctor, Henry the central 17 year old character, his friend Steve, Katherine the farmer/baker and their families, also the tramp slutty spy Mellisa and her spy father. There is a rich interaction between them. Robinson excels at this.

I won't ruin the book for you just say there is not too much the now third world USA can do to stand up to the military might of the Japanese and the rest of the world. The US is now the weak little guy.

Great book. A great fast moving Sci Fi novel. Makes you think of what it would be like to live in a post boomed out US with no conveniences but with the strong will to survive. 5 stars. Reading the rest of this trilogy of the three different future California's...nowstarting to read The Gold Coast.

1-0 out of 5 stars Missing Pages
The book itself was great, but it is missing about 30 pages in the last third of the book. This is why you always buy from Amazon instead of one of their 'sellers'.

2-0 out of 5 stars Coming of age tale bogs down in implausible plotlines and dull characters
When I learned about the Three Californias trilogy, I was eager to read all three.Instead I barely made it through this first book.¬The Wild Shore, a story about Southern Californians who have survived nuclear apocalypse, begins well enough.It paints a vivid picture of a village that survives by fishing and farming, and by steering clear of the menacing scavengers who roam the suburban ruins.But the tale deteriorates into half-baked confusion of ideas: a Japanese conspiracy, a corrupt and violent mayor determined to free America, and a collection of unconvincing characters taking different sides.The novel fails as a coming-of-age tale, founders on weak action and lame characters, and bores the reader for long stretches at a time.Even the action sequences are cruelly dull, partly because the reader cares so little about what happens to these people.Once excited to read all three parts of the trilogy, I put this dreary book down likely never to try another tale by Robinson.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Post-Apocalypse Read
Well-paced, well-written, and well-developed story, with well-developed characters and setting... like a movie in your head. Just how I like my books. I can't really think of anything I didn't like, though I guess I would have liked to have seen a little more time spent in the post-apoc cityscapes. But I think that's probably me being selfish. Great story! Recommended to anyone interested in the post-apocalypse genre.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying, unoriginal
This is a well-written post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story. As such, it had nothing I haven't read a dozen times and offered nothing new. The main character was engaging, but that was not enough to justify my attention.
The most intriguing part of the book was the concept of the attack that destroyed America. The idea was quite incredible on the face of it, and I was hoping and expecting either a justification or further explanation. Without that further information, I felt as if I had read a "whodunit" that never told me who the murderer was!
I have NO urge to read the other 2 books in the Tryptich. ... Read more

14. Liftport - The Space Elevator: Opening Space to Everyone
Paperback: 350 Pages (2006-06-07)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592221092
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Seen as merely a thought experiment for over a century, the space elevator is now understood to be achievable in our foreseeable future. It promises to open up the Solar System to all of humanity, and this book gives you a peek at that future.Interweaving both science fiction stories involving the space elevator along with non-fiction articles on the basic technical, financial, legal, social and political issues surrounding the space elevator, this book will give you an entertaining and informative crash course in the space elevator.After reading this book, you will understand both why we want to build a space elevator as well as how it will be built. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars Space on my book shelf
If you are into the science, technology and engineering of a (potentially) real space elevator, you might find this book a waste of your time and money. I did. For current, up to date information the "Space Elevator Blog" and the world wide web in general are the only places to look. If you want to read some (fairly weak) science fiction, this book might suffice but don't get your hopes up too high.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love it!
I love this book. I'm interested in space projects and science fiction. This was a great combination of fact and fiction. Both informative and entertaining. It's great for the laymen. You don't need to know much about space technology to understand and enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Doorway to planets and stars
A terrific overview of the various steps needed to build the space elevator.Can't wait to see it happen.Hope it's soon.

4-0 out of 5 stars A project to change our future
This collection of fact and fiction centers on the proposal by a startup company, Liftport, to create a new way to get into space: an elevator. The idea is not new, and the specific means they propose to do it has been discussed in technical papers; nevertheless this is likely the first popularly accessible book that describes the new near-term practicalities of construction, operation, and business for such a system. Liftport plans to get their first elevator up and running before 2020, and this book describes how they may just be able to do that.

The format of the book is a collection of independent essays (the factual portions) and stories, some of which are reprinted from separate novels (by Arthur C. Clarke, David Brin, and Charles Sheffield) and the rest seem to have been specifically written for this collection. The quality of the fiction is rather variable; unfortunately some of the authors would perhaps have benefited from reading the technical sections, as some details are rather jarringly wrong. For example, the "Hermit of the Skies" would not plummet and burn up from the top station, but would be thrown out away from the planet - that's sort of the whole point. In "High Space", you can't be in orbit 300 miles above Earth's surface and stay over one spot - you have to be going a lot slower than orbital speeds. And the troposphere is the lowermost portion of Earth's atmosphere, not what you would hit first on the way down! But of course the technical details aren't the central point of the stories, so maybe it's silly to be picky about it.

The longest fiction section, "The Rings of Earth", by William H. Keith, is among the best of the contributed stories. The vision it paints, of a future Earth-bound society knowing of "gods" above, and the stunning reality of the ending, is almost worth the price of the whole book.

The technical essays describe the project in good detail, though somewhat redundantly and at different levels. It would have helped if the editors had given the authors a better picture of what the other parts of the book would cover.I wrote (and donated) one of those essays, so I'm somewhat familiar with the way it worked - I have met a number of the authors in person as well.

The elevator physically consists of an anchor station on Earth's surface, a counterweight beyond geosynchronous orbit in space, and a strong ribbon connecting the two. A "lifter" climbs the ribbon; technical essays cover each of those components. Additionally, power to the lifter must be supplied without physical contact which would add precious mass - a power beaming system is described that could do the job. Construction steps and safety issues are also discussed.

The remaining essays discuss business, law, and political issues more than technology. How the elevator will make money, what it will do to the space launch business, is covered in several chapters. Who will have legal jurisdiction is one central question - from these essays it seems clear the United States will at the least have a strong claim, but inclusion of many international partners would probably be safest.

One of the applications that may be enabled by the cheaper space launch services the elevator will provide are solar power satellites. An essay here by Ralph Nansen discusses the enormous potential and environmental benefits from this alternative energy solution.

Finally, the Liftport staff call on all of us to "get involved" - including sponsoring a contest to win options on 1000 Liftport company shares. This book demonstrates the company has a potentially feasible plan to radically change the relationship between Earth and space - if they succeed it will change our future. Are you ready to join?

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, even for a casual reader
I have no science degree and spend little time pondering space elevators, but the subject is interesting and this book is well organized.Different authors took specific topics and created one or two chapters each.Famous sames such as Kim Stanley Robinson contributed.I received this as a present prior to a week at the beach and enjoyed the book more than expected, flipping to chapters that interested me and skipping others.

By coincidence, I visited the Wright Brothers' museum near Kitty Hawk while on vacation.It is striking how rapidly air travel developed from the "cranks and weirdos" stage around 1900 to a substantive business.I do not know if the analogy translates, but you never know. ... Read more

15. Fifty Degrees Below
by Kim Stanley Robinson
 Unknown Binding: Pages (2005)

Asin: B003VCIIZI
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (38)

2-0 out of 5 stars anti-Bush is OK, but what about the story?
I hate to criticize this work because I agree with many of the author's political and philosophical observations, and I have more than a nodding acquaintance with Buddhism. And he seems to know his science. But there were too many lectures and explanations, too many sub-plots going nowhere; plus, I didn't care for Frank, who seemed very immature for his age of 43, and Charlie, the father of spoiled-brat Joe, seemed too sweet and maternal to be aman. Frank himself is hardly believable, rubbing elbows with the homeless crowd and living in a tree-house when he himself was a well-paid scientist working alongside sharp intellectuals and technocrats, and he seemed to be in love with a woman whose name he didn't get when he kissed and groped her in an elevator during a power outage. The premise was very good, and I wanted to enjoy the story, but the author kept wandering off into Neverland with his many lectures and sermons and side-trips. I had to force myself to finish it. I'm giving it 2 stars because he does know how to write, and I loved his digs at the anti-science president who was obviously Bush, but he didn't pay enough attention to his story. This could have been written as a short story or at most a novella, since much of it seemed to be padding to stretch it to novel length. But to put it in the vernacular, the protagonist, Frank, was a soppy, dippy dork, and I didn't enjoy his company. Ooooooop!

1-0 out of 5 stars monkey in the middle . . .
Unfortunately, these books are just as bad as almost everyone here is saying in their reviews. What is wrong with Frank, main character? Another reviewer wondered if he was autistic - this is a guy who breaks out into whoops and ooooohp! ape noises all the time. Even in public places. Frank is the most aggravating character in this trilogy.

The book, like the entire trilogy, is basically endless phone calls, emails, voice logs and meeting after meeting in Washington to talk about The End Of The World. I can't even visualize the characters, because frankly the breast pump has more personality than Charlie or whoever his wife is (Anne?) No descriptions of anyone's features or personality. They are all just white noise. In this book, the lone exception is the baby, who looks like he will be the next Dalai Lama. Ugh. The monks thought he was holy after he splashed on purpose through a mud puddle art form of theirs (not making this up). Most people would just call that a brat. I wish Robinson would get over the Tibetan thing already!

Unfortunately, in this book Armageddon due to global warming (and then cooling) is outright boring. It takes extraordinary skill to make the end of all civilization as we know it boring. But that is what Robinson appears to be doing with this series and this book no exception.

One of the other reviewers here wondered what it is about Frank, the main character that's so off putting, so---different? Here's an idea. He's a LOSER. Period. Any guy who breaks out into random baboon noises in public is a Loser. Mental and a Loser. To make it even more hilarious, he lives in a tree house in a public park. If any of us ever try that, we will be arrested. It's called loitering. Frank, however, manages to build his own treehouse and live homeless in the frigid weather. He even gets laid up there, subzero temperature and all. He almost loses his most precious asset (not his mind)due to the fifty degrees below zero.

Frank is such a hypocrite. for all of his self righteous 'wild' living, he still goes to his 9-5 job and engages in all those meetings, telephone calls and paper generating. If he were really a revolutionary wild genius, he would have said the heck with it and gone wild by living off the land. Who needs a job when you can survive as wonderfully as he can? Of course he gets his face smashed in by breaking up a fight between two homeless guys. He spends the rest of the novel sucking back and swallowing his own eternal nosebleed. Loser. Finally, his friends get him to accept shelter with the Tibetan monks.

After the Mars Trilogy, I thought this would be another great trilogy. Hah. I probably will use the public library to skim his books after this.

5-0 out of 5 stars 50 degrees below
Great book in a great series.Literally can't stop thinking about it.As a minor side note, the books have introduced me to the totally addicting sport of disc golf (plot device in the book which you just need to read to understand), which I now play 3-4 times / week.All the fun of golf without the expense and time commitment.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Plausible Inconvenient Truth
In this sequel to Forty Signs of Rain Kim Stanley Robinson continues to pursue the consequences of an out-of-control Earth that has let the environment degrade so far that global warming has halted the thermohalyne exchange in the Gulf Stream responsible for maintaining the temperate climate of the Northern Hemisphere. Set in Washington, DC, in the midst of a presidential election eerily reminding of what our country just went through and pitting a progressive Senator bent on halting the climatic disaster about to strike, and featuring several characters working both in the political sphere and at the National Science Foundation, this eco-thriller pursues relentlessly the social, economic, and political consequences of what may become true all too soon if we don't find a way to curb Earth's appetite for pollutants and its disregard for Mother Earth. Robinson's vision is literally chilling, his characters are vivid and engaging, and his intelligent prose will make you turn page after page and long for the final volume of this trilogy, Sixty Days and Counting. A must-read for all in 2009!

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointing sequel to Forty Signs of Rain
To be perfectly honest, my expectations weren't enormous going into this book. I enjoyed "Forty Days of Rain", but I wasn't entranced by it. Even so, reading "Fifty Degrees Below" was a severe disappointment. The book is markedly inferior for at least two reasons, and connects to a larger problem I've noticed with the series.

The first is, quite simply, more Frank. Frank, in my opinion, was the least likeable and appealing character from the first novel. He's slightly narcissistic, and overly self-reflective to the point where reading his internal monologues in which he interprets almost everything along biological anthropological lines is painful to read. This is greatly enhanced in this book, since along with Frank's boring self-reflection on his life through anthropology, we also get pages and pages of what is essentially a travelogue of living half in his car, half in a makeshift treehouse, where he is able to self-reflect on his "aping" of the prehistoric life.

The introduction of the Mysterious Woman seen in the first book doesn't help. Without spoiling too much, I will say that the woman clearly appears to be insane, or at least highly paranoid from my perspective. I get the impression, though, that this is supposed to be one of the futuristic aspects of Robinson's "Science in the Capital" series, so it will turn out to be true.

The second problem is the tiny nation introduced in the book. Robinson gets carried away in a kind of meager drama surrounding the Buddhist monks from the island, and a possible connection to Charlie's son Joe which Charlie gets worried over. It's very disappointing, since one would think there would be plenty of interesting material to write about how people of a small island are coping and responding to a climate change that quite literally means the destruction of their home, but Robinson apparently prefers describing Charlie.

Overall, this connects into a problem I've noticed with the series so far, having read these two books. Part of the fascination of this series, and what initially drew me in, was that Robinson has a reputation for actually doing quite well on a lot of the science he puts into his science fiction novels, and I was fascinated by the thought of what he would do with the possibilities of abrupt climate change. But increasingly, abrupt climate change is only really appearing in the between-chapter interludes, in infodump-style pages. Instead, the books are taken up by Frank and his neverending self-reflections, as well as the increasingly mundate Quibler family and the bizarre Buddhist connection Robinson is making. Robinson is getting sunk in the mundane, uninteresting details and losing the ability to portray the greater scope of what is happening in the world of his characters. ... Read more

16. THE MARS SEQUENCE:Book (1) One: Red Mars; Book (2) Two: Green Mars; Book (3) Three: Blue Mars; Book (4) Four: The Martians
by Kim Stanley Robinson
 Paperback: Pages (1993)

Asin: B000NRX1JC
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17. The Lucky Strike (Outspoken Authors)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 144 Pages (2009-10-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604860855
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Combining dazzling speculation with a profoundly humanist vision, this astounding alternate history tale presents a dramatic encounter with destiny wrapped around a simple yet provocative premise: the terrifying question of what might have happened if the fateful flight over Hiroshima had gone a bit differently. An extensive interview with the author, offering insight into his fiction and philosophies, is also included.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars This a short story with crap attached
This is a short story with barely 1000 locations of text.The "supporting matieral" is esoteric garbage taking up another third of the "book".The final third is some kinda written love-in with the author.The weakest alternate history piece I have ever seen!

1-0 out of 5 stars Hippie propaganda.Like Stalin or Kruschev would not have smoked us.
Do I need to say more.It ignores the real politics of the situation.This was probably Stalins wet dream, once he had the bomb in 48

4-0 out of 5 stars The Lucky Strike
"War breeds strange pastimes," begins "The Lucky Strike," a masterpiece by Kim Stanley Robinson, which centers on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragedies. Robinson takes us in the mind of Captain January, who controlled the trigger that released the atomic bomb. The action starts at Tinian Island in the Pacific, where a crew testing their war aircraft crash and die on the spot, and another crew takes off to be the first to throw the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. January, who does not believe in this mission and abhors the destructive nature of the science behind the atomic bomb, delays the release of the bomb and finally he misses the target. This inexcusable error gets him court-martialed and executed by a firing squad.Robinson has created a compassionate character protagonist who values human life.

The book also contains an interview with Robinson, which is as rich as the stories. The author talks about his inspiration, about the science fiction genre and the writing process. He also talks about his activism in Davis, California. Coming from such an accomplished storyteller, //The Lucky Strike// is as inspiring as it is informative--a daring gaze at history.

Reviewed by Emmanuel Sigauke

5-0 out of 5 stars Optimistic instead of apocalyptic
Robinson speculates on what might have happened if someone with a little more conscience had been the bombadier over Hiroshima and gets into his mind. It's very hard to put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Now I Begin to Understand
Kim Stanley Robinson's fiction will be studied in literature classes for the next hundred years.This little book will be key to students of his writing.It is a contextual gem. "The Lucky Strike plus..." provides a relatively short story with the author's explanation of the science behind his fiction.The scientific explanation was a stretch for me, but it pleases me that the author was interested in keeping his alternative history within the realm of possibility.The third part of the book is an interview with the author.The interviewer is also a science fiction writer, so his questions are well informed. If the reader wants to understand where Robinson is coming from, then this book is essential.It's also a fun read. ... Read more

18. Escape From Kathmandu
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 320 Pages (2000-06-03)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$10.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312874995
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
George Fergusson works as a trek guide leading groups of tourists into the back country and occasionally assisting on serious climbs. George Freds Fredericks is anothera tall, easy-going North American who visited Nepal one year and never went home. The adventures start when George and Freds get together for a scientific expedition in search of the Yeti. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars a little light reading
This is Nepal as it was in the 80's A throwaway novel, when compared to his masterworks like the Mars Trilogy, this entertaining read is highly recommended for anyone who has trekked [or dreams of trekking] in Nepal. He evokes the Kathmandu of the late 70s and 80s perfectly - from named restaurants and hippie highpoints to the bustle, muck and medieval layers of Kathmandu and its environs. Descriptions of the town and trekking the nearby mountains ring true, although the plot itself is too thin to support much examination. It's a fun book, in the style of The Ascent of Rum Doodle.

2-0 out of 5 stars Adventurous unique buddy book
Very imaginative, very creative. But there's definitely a young male adult audience feel to the thing. Which is fine if you like that thing, which I don't. I kept waiting for the big lesson in there, or some big meaningful connection between the stories. The second one where they climb mount everest was my favorite. The last two were my least favorite. They got too weird and dark and I've no idea where the author was going with them.
I read this on vacation. I don't think I would have finished it half-way through the Shambhala story otherwise. It would be a good idea for a TV movie for young adults.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some great stuff here -- and some not so great
The book actually contains four novellas, with linked characters. The first two are really good. The "intercepted letter" is a standard plot technique, but Robinson pulls it off in the first novella as good as anyone ever has. And the rest of the story is just as good. Unfortunately, it is all downhill from there. The second story is almost as good, and then the third and fourth devolve into shambles. Robinson starts getting into his spiritual quest for the perfect form of society (eg. Mars trilogy, Antarctica, Years Of Rice And Salt, et al.). And it just doesn't work, especially with these characters.

But read the book for the first two stories. And who knows, the second two might fit your fancy better than they fit mine.

4-0 out of 5 stars a good fun read
"Escape from Kathmandu" is a lively and entertaining book. It is laugh out loud funny in places as its two main protagonists engage in some way out adventures.

Beneath the far fetched plot lines there are actually many accurate and interesting insights into life in Nepal. Corruption in the government, widespread poverty, the inefficient beauracracy are all touched on in a sensitive and intelligent manner. Although if you don't know much about Nepal you might find it difficult to distinguish where the fantasy ends and reality begins in places.

All in all it is a worthy book, a great combination of comedy, adventure and travel writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books ever
I will never forget the first time I picked up this book. I was wandering through the shelves of my local bookstore and, seeing the title (which was uncannily similar to the title of a heinously bad '80s movie), I decided to glance through it.

The last thing I expected was one of the funniest, cleverest, most absorbing books I'd read in ages. I have to say that this and Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog vie for supremacy in my mind for the funniest work of speculative fiction. The second story, especially, made me laugh so hard I had to put the book down and take deep breaths. The characters are marvelous, and the situations they find themselves in are deliciously outlandish.

Go out and buy this book! I promise you won't be disappointed, as long as you leave your expectations for the genre at the door. Escape from Kathmandu is nothing if not unconventional. ... Read more

19. The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 352 Pages (1996-01-15)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$10.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312861435
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In 3229 A.D., human civilization is scattered among the planets, moons, and asteroids of the solar system. Billions of lives depend on the technology derived from the breakthroughs of the greatest physicist of the age, Arthur Holywelkin. But in the last years of his life, Holywelkin devoted himself to building a strange, beautiful, and complex musical instrument that he called The Orchestra.

Johannes Wright has earned the honor of becoming the Ninth Master of Holywelkin's Orchestra. Follow him on his Grand Tour of the Solar System, as he journeys down the gravity well toward the sun, impelled by a destiny he can scarcely understand, and is pursued by mysterious foes who will tell him anything except the reason for their enmity.
Amazon.com Review
Arthur Holywelkin, a brilliant physicist, devoted the last yearsof his life to creating a strange, beautiful musical instrument called The Orchestra.Hundreds of years later, in a universe centeredaround music, Johannes Wright is chosen asthe Ninth Master of Holywelkin's Orchestra.Wright must travelthe solar system pursued by enemies in the name of a destiny heunderstands only imperfectly. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Music
In the 33rd century Johannes Wright is beginning his tenure as the 9th Master of Holywelkin's Orchestra.The Orchestra allows a single person the ability to produce music as a full symphonic orchestra would.The Orchestra was created by Arthur Holywelkin three hundred years earlier.But the Orchestra was not Holywelkin's primary achievement, indeed, the Orchestra was only created towards the end of his life.Holywelkin is the genius who gave science its greatest gift...a unified theory of everything -- from the vast superclusters of galaxies down to the sub-subatomic, Arthur Holywelkin linked them all mathematically.

Now Johannes Wright sets off on his first Grand Tour of the Solar System.A series of concerts with Holywelkin's Orchestra as the star of the show.Starting off on Pluto, Wright and his companions (the crew that sets up the concerts) work their way toward the inner Solar System.But as they do, it becomes apparent that several groups may be twisting Wright's journey amongst the planets for their own, ulterior purposes.....

The Memory of Whiteness is pure Kim Stanley Robinson from the start.Robinson deftly weaves a tale that is not only well written but really gets you thinking.In our world, music is capable of so many things...breaking people down, building people up; music somehow has the ability to strip away peoples' facades, the false faces people put up to the world to protect themselves from being hurt by that world.But with this tale, Robinson takes the ideas of what music can do to a cosmic level.In Robinson's world, music is the window to the fundamental mathematics of the universe.In Robinson's world, not only does music strip away a world of disguises and veneers, it allows his characters to meld with a universe that is, like the real world, often cold and unceasingly distant.The Memory of Whiteness is ultimately about how Johannes Wright, the 9th Master of Holywelkin's Orchestra, learns to adapt to an entirely new way of conceiving the universe...and how his music is his (and others') guide to understanding the universe.

The only real flaw with this novel (and indeed with Robinson's novels in general) is that, despite the fact that it is generally well written, the prose at times can be just a bit too clunky.So it is sometimes necessary to stop, take a breath, reread a sentence or two...and then continue on with an amazing story.

Ultimately, The Memory of Whiteness is worth reading...period.

2-0 out of 5 stars Never became engaging...
Johannes Wright is the Ninth Master of Holywelkin's Orchestra, a magnificent machine that produces music. Every so often, The Orchestra, with the Master, tours the Solar System to perform.However, during this tour, there are those who want The Orchestra, or the Master, to fail. The originator of The Orchestra, physicist Arthur Holywelkin, may have left behind a legacy that most can never understand.

I'm a fan of a number of Kim Stanley Robinson's books (Mars trilogy, Antarctica), but this one really never left the starting gate.The Orchestra always seemed like a weird device in a time of advanced physics.Wright was being chased, The Orchestra was being threatened, the planets and asteroids had their own unique cultures...

I expected more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memory of Whiteness
The astonishing concatenation of physics, philosophy and music with an engaging set of characters and fast-moving plot enthralled this lifelong, passionate enthusiast of speculative fiction. In my opinion, the finest work of this very talented author.

3-0 out of 5 stars good read
I might get this for a plane ride or something. Story is mildly interesting, nothing ground-breaking or thought-provoking. Might want to get it from a public source, or as a gift to a cursory SF fan. Icehenge is MUCH better. Mr. Robinson must have been on autopilot for this one...yawn.

Jan 09 update
Changed my mind on this story over the years, now it is one that has stuck in my head the most. Certainly recommended, especially for anyone with a musical aspect. Now added to my personal collection in hc.

5-0 out of 5 stars A far-futuristic symphony of ideas
Calling Robinson a stream-of-consciousness author may be unkind, thanks to the label's attachments... let's rather peg KSR as a stream-of-ideas craftsman.

Those that made their way thru the Mars trilogy and called the journey pleasant will testify that what kept them entranced was not any certain traditional literary technique, but instead a technique possibly unique to KSR himself.KSR builds rich gardens, scenes built on pure thought and ideas, realistic enough and utterly fascinating, and then allows his characters to wander within for awhile.We never are fully guided through any of these idea gardens, but as we close the book, we realize that he has left a meta-map of 5 or 6 of these for our minds to explore later.Asimov may have created 1 or 2 of these idea gardens (psychohistory, as one), but KSR does it repeatedly.It is a totally unique experience in literature.

Speaking to The Memory of Whiteness itself, it is set in the year 3229... that alone speaks volumes, and KSR builds the finest 4th milennium stage I've yet read.You will be guided on a tour of worlds and cultures (KSR also being a fine 'culture creator', another of his distinct footprints), and the entire idea of 'music' will transform before your eyes.The story moves along with good pace, with enough complexity to entice you to read it again, and builds to an ending that will haunt your waking days.So this one certainly deserves an A+. ... Read more

20. Pacific Edge: Three Californias
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Paperback: 336 Pages (1995-05-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$4.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312890389
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
2065: In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making. Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this "green" world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community's idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.
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Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the trilogy
Pacific Edge: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych)

These 3 books are not sequels. They are three alternatives. There are similarities or parallels which are fun to discover and see how they develop. This one was my favorite of the 3, but these are definitely not my favorite books by this author. It seems more like a writing experiment to see if the author can take similar personalities and put them into 3 different settings and see what they can do. None of the three books ends very satisfactorily. This one had several characters I liked but at the end it just seemed to fizzle out and end without resolving anything. In each book the main character just gets out of control later in the book, and does things uncharacteristic which creates havoc for them and others around them.

The wild shore was interesting because they were post disaster Americans who had to learn to live off the land all over again without technology. But the main character gets most out of control in this story and it leads to the loss of friends and the death of one friend.
Pacific Edge was utopian. The people had learned the lessons of over use and abuse of natural resources. they were determined to live within limits without waste, pollution, etc.
The Gold Coast was my least favorite being difficult to get into and get to know the characters who seem to spend all their time getting high and partying.

3-0 out of 5 stars walk to the edge
Kim Robinson tries to paint a picture of society as Utopian as a society might be.It fulfills many of the ideals of Adam Smith and early free market theory:no business seems big enough to influence market prices or supplies on its own.Everyone has freedom.It isn't a perfect Utopia.We learn through excerpts of one of the characters' diaries that society as we know it had gotten really nasty, so some young folks saved the whole thing and made America into some kind of Utopia.Now college students from India resent this, feeling the reforms were America's way of pulling the rug out fromunder them before they got a chance to kick America's butt on the hypothetical free market.Oh well.

As the story unfolds the absence of red herrings becomes apparent.None of the characters watch television or hang out at the mall.They don't have Mcdonalds or sports cars.All they do is drink beer and play baseball.Is this really a world we can live with?

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Robinson again takes a look at his Californian setting, this time in a community that is environmentally focused, and has limited development and economic expansion.

The book's conflict come as one of the members of this community tries to get around their rules and laws for financial gain, another opposes him, and a woman is caught in the middle, being the ex-lover of the rulebreaker, and current interest of the community upholder.

3-0 out of 5 stars Robinson's Utopia plays Softball
In this, the third of Robinson's "Three Californias" trilogy, we get a very personal story of love and life in the idyllic ecotopia of El Modena, a small California town where water is a treasured resource, the abandoned cities are being broken up for scrap, and economic development is carefully controlled by the democratically elected local government.The protagonist is Kevin, a likable conservation-minded young man who builds multi-family homes with an outdoorsy feel and complete with interior gardens.His rival for the attentions of the beautiful and athletic Ramona is Alfredo, who lusts for power and the glory of accomplishment.The love triangle between Kevin, Alfredo and Ramona takes center stage, paralleling the two men's conflicting designs on their magnificent natural resource.

The three novels in the series are completely independent of each other, and in fact exist in alternative timelines, so there's no reason to read them in any particular order.The idea is to show the various possibilities latent in California's present, but if one didn't know better, one could have read all three books and not realized they were connected.In this installment, Tom, the only character who appears in all three books, is a lonely elder statesman who enjoys a late-blooming romance with a traveling scientist, but he doesn't really have much purpose here.

The angst-ridden conclusion causes one to question the author's state of mind.While certainly realistic enough, there seems little real point to it.Perhaps Robinson felt it necessary to remind us that even in a utopia, the basic problems of love and death will still plague mankind.Unfortunately, this ending undercuts the pleasure one might have derived from reading the book, and given that it's pretty lightweight to begin with, this is a crucial failing.There's very little science fiction in this book, and not much philosphy (for a utopia novel) so the melancholy conclusion leaves this third of the triptych with nothing to especially recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars fell in love in with all aspects
In all aspects of this book, I fell in love.

The descriptions of Ramona, the town beauty, left me longing for her. The realtionship between Ramona and Kevin sent my heart afluttering. I found Kevin to be as human as a character could be, hence his likablity and conveyance of the situations. Kevin is a very well-rounded and developed character whose eyes are suitable for the window into this world.

When the plot thickens, the characters thicken, as well. The reading is fluid and enjoyable. The ending seems a fitting end to all things brought to the forefront in the book. It left me smiling as I finished the last page and closed the book and set it upon my bookshelf. ... Read more

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