Kim Stanley Robinson, ‘Red Mars’
A fantastic book. The research that must have gone into writing this is immense, and shines through in the book. The science all feels wonderfully accurate, and Robinson doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his descriptions but does manage to keep it all at a reasonably understandable level for the layman. Couple this with the riveting plot line, the sense of landscape and adventure and sheer scale, and the odd beautifully turned phrase and you have one of the best SF books I have read in a long time. An incredible start to a trilogy that is truly vast. (I hesitate to use the word ‘vast’ about SF, because a sense of scale is easy to achieve in space, witness any space opera’s, however Robinson uses the two most familiar planets to humans and the space in between them, and manages to conjure an impression of mind-blowing immensity without ever once mentioning a light year.)
The characters are beautfully drawn and the reader engages with them on a personal level. The deaths are traumatic, even when you know they are coming. A fantastic start to a trilogy.