Very good read. A race for money. Go to Mars, live, work, collect samples. Win a couple of billion dollars. Very fast read and good characters. Highly recommend.
This is another one of the near-future type of sci fi books that really grab my interest. The premise, that it has become universally recognized that the most feasable way for humanity to explore space is to stop relying upon governmental agencies and turn to private enterprise, is a pertinent topic for today's climate. Even as I write, the Virgin Corporation is publicizing their prototype space shuttle.
This book tells of the struggle between two competing groups to win a large amount of prize money by sending a manned vehicle to Mars and performing a variety of research projects before their successful return to Earth. The difficulties involving personnel, technology, financing and the unbending reality of physics are presented in a detailed, yet easy to read manner.
Although the characters come perilously close to being stock stereotypes, it seems that Benton is basically telling the story the way he sees it. After all, we have stereotypes for a reason. Our literary heritage acknowledging the fact that life often does imitate art has been accepted canon from at least the time of Oscar Wilde. So while it is possible for some people to see that as problematic, I personally do not.
Similarly, the resolution to the main difficulties encountered by the Martian travellers might seem obvious to many readers. However, the final decisions made by the book's main characters does ring true to life.
I found this to be an inspiring read and wish that more people who have a concrete role in potential space exploration would read this book as well - drawing perhaps the same conclusions from it that I do. It seems to me even more apparent after reading this book that the main reason we haven't yet sent a team to Mars is that we have limited our expectations of what space exploration and its potential risks truly means.
Excellent! could it happen? will it happen? We can only hope. This is a must finish novel.
Good science background to the story of scientists living on Mars for two years - how it would be possible with our level of technology. Intereesting conclusion.
I requested "The Martian Race" because I read "The Case For Mars" by Robert Zubrin, the nonfiction book outlining a cheaper, more seat-of-you-pants method to get to Mars that this book is based on. (Zubrin makes a brief appearance in the book)
This is a fast-paced story designed to showcase the science of human visitation and possible colonization of Mars. There is minimal character development and little time spent on description and prose beyond what is needed to drive the story forward. Still, it serves the purpose if your goal is to learn more about what it might take for man to visit the red planet. The in-depth exploration of the Martian surface, and subsurface, is enough in itself for anyone curious to get a better feel of what it might be like there.
Excellent book. Story about a very wealthy private citizen sending a mission to Mars to open the planet to exploration. The astronauts must live on Mars for 2 years. Gregory Benford does an remarkably realistic job with this story.