31 March 2009

Teenagers from Mars and we don't care

First let me say that Heather Rose totally had the best mixtape idea- Roots and Burial. I'll be making a sweet mix for her real soon-like. As for the other ideas- Sarah's "Holy Shit, Get the Fuck Out of Here" (minus emo music) mix I think I'll put together a quick list of awesome escape/getaway music here soon, too. And dear LadyGlutter wants some good road music. To that I say please get yourself a copy of the soundtrack from Motorcycle Diaries. Absolutely awesome for roadtrips. Lots of classical guitar. Good thinking music. Thanks for all the ideas, y'all! I'll probably do this again sometime. I like it! I only wish I had the time to make 'em all.

I just finished reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's the first book I bought and read on my Kindle, by the way, and that's totally awesome. As a matter of fact when I finished reading it I was in the midst of a meeting that I knew was going to last a few hours more so I went ahead and bought the second book in the series and started reading it. How cool is that? Anyhow, back to the book- it was really good. It is a science fiction novel about the beginning of human colonization of Mars. It focuses specifically on 'the first 100', the group of scientists and engineers that were sent to set the foundations of the colony. I don't know much about Robinson but I discerned this much - the guy knows his stuff about the science. He discusses at length everything from the health effects of zero-g environments, the geography of Mars (a lot of this), to the physics of the voyage from Earth. If you're not science-minded it may even be a little heavy.

Don't let that deter you from reading it, though. I found that I could kind of skim some of the more overscienced parts without losing any of the heart of the story. And boy is the story compelling. It deals primarily with the relationships between the scientists and the work they do. There is a lot of politicking going on, as can be expected. The story is divided into about ten different parts. Each part deals with a new phase in the development of the colonies on Mars. The whole book is written in the third-person but each segment focuses on a different person in the 'first 100'. This, in effect, eliminates the standard 'protagonist/antagonist' storytelling mode which makes for an interesting reading experience. No matter whether or not you like a character in the story you are probably going to be made to see things from their perspective before it's all said and done.

It may also challenge what a lot of people consider to be "science fiction". There are no three-boobed aliens a la Total Recall (rats!). No laser-pistols. No warp drives. It's really a story about struggling to live amongst a small colony in a truly harsh, alien environment. It could draw a lot of comparisons to the popular frontier literature of the 1800s. I would definitely suggest this book to people who get a little tingly when thinking about space exploration. It accomplishes the amazing task of delivering a great human drama while simultaneously making me all wistful for another life. On Mars.


Anonymous said...

Porkchops?! I love those G.I.Joe shorts!

Heather Rose said...

Muahahahaha! I win! Yay! Thank you mister!

Oh, and sounds like a good book. Did you ever see or read watchmen? Did you blog about it? I'm too tired to figure it out. Anyhow, Dr. Manhattan moved to Mars. ^_^ Nice little red planet.

Apollo said...

Ari - Those things are hilarious! Do they still make them?

Heather - I'll try to finish the mix by the end of the week, but it may not happen because I've got a lot going on these next few days. YOU CAN'T RUSH GENIUS LIKE THIS! I both read and saw Watchmen. The Mars part of the movie made me all tingly. And yes I totally blogged about it, lazybones.

tina said...

What about the book I gave you? Why aren't you reading that? Jerk.

LadyGlutter said...

I thought Heather Rose's entry was the best, too.

Red Mars has intrigued me for a while, but it just hasn't made it to the short stack yet. Hearing that it's a bit science heavy actually encourages me to read it sooner than "someday." Maybe I should take a speed reading course.

Apollo said...

Tina - Time-traveling viking romance novels must wait for when I finish my geeky sci-fi books.

LG - I think you'd really like the book. The parts that I ended up kind of skimming over typically had to do with detailed descriptions of rock faces or topography. I just think that kind of imagery is better served with, well, images.