The Martian Race - Martian Race, Bk 1 Author:Gregory Benford At the turn of the new millennium, nearly a dozen U.S., Russian, and Japanese robot missions have been sent to Mars...all in preparation for the first humans who will walk on the Red Planet. Now science fiction master Gregory Benford, recipient of multiple honors including two Nebula Awards and the United Nations Medal in Literature, presents a ... more »powerful and realistic novel that captures the conflict, suspense, and drama of this coming adventure, and of the new century's great space challenge...THE MARTIAN RACE. For American John Axelrod, it's not about nationalism or personal fame. It's about the money: the Mars Prize, a $30 billion purse offered for the first successful manned mission to the Red Planet. When NASA becomes bogged down in politics and bureaucracy, businessman Axelrod and a conglomerate of backers seize their chance.
But for astronauts Julia; her husband, Viktor; Marc; and Raoul-Axelrod's team of ex-NASAnauts-it's not about wealth or media attention. It's about courage, discovery, and facing the unknown. It's about Mars...and staying alive. For the prize rules clearly state that the winning team can't just grab a rock and leave. Their mission will keep them on the barren planet for almost two years, a genuine opportunity for biologist Julia and the others to research, learn, adapt, and search for clues to the Red Planet's greatest mystery: Did life ever exist there?
This isn't, however, a NASA mission with backups, fail-safes, and Mission Control. The astronauts know that Axelrod has cut corners and that theirs is a high-stakes, high-risk return to the oldest rule of exploration: Succeed or die. Now four people are trapped on a frigid, alien world that can kill them in countless ways. And a time will come when-to survive-Julia, Viktor, Marc, and Raoul must embrace everything that makes them human.
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.