Monday, October 20, 2008

Marsbound-- Joe Haldeman-- Thoughts

Marsbound-- Joe Haldeman-- Thoughts

Carmen Dula, a nineteen year old on the cusp of womanhood wins the lottery for her family to go to mars. She takes the space elevator up with her brother, mother, and father to a waiting mars bound ship.

I like the way the technology is described in this book. The space elevator, the marsbound ship, the aliens, and the mars settlement are described in a very interesting fashion. The first part of the book is hard science fiction. Towards the end of the book, the science becomes much more speculative. The latter part also has some wonderful speculation about SETI, linguistics, and alien beings.

The book in addition to being a coming of age novel for the main character is a novel of first contact with an alien race on mars. The martians are strange looking quadripedal creatures with two arms and potato like heads.

The story is quite intriguing. The aliens are convincing, so are the adversarial aliens who appear later in the story. However, where there may be some difficulty for some people is the relationships in the book. Carmen Dula who is nineteen has sex with an older man who is twenty nine early in the novel. This may upset some people.

Also, some of the human characters are not portrayed sympathetically. The administrator of the mars colony is quite nasty to Carmen. The aliens are also divided. The aliens which Carmen first contacts are relatively benign, they even save Carmen's life when she falls and breaks her leg, but the later nitrogen based aliens view humans as savages.

This makes for very interesting if not complex reading. It is not good humans, bad aliens at all. Every character is different. Some people will hate this book. It does not give the typical science fiction story. The story breaks a lot of science fiction taboos and cliches.

I am rather partial to Joe Haldeman. His writing is very high quality. He wrote one of my favorite books, The Forever War.

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