By Kim Stanley Robinson
Why this book?
Quite a few people, including me, think this is the greatest work of science fiction ever written. It tells the story of the first human settlement on Mars, stretching over three generations. Usually, science fiction, when it’s good, is good at action, at a character, or at technical detail, but not all three (and rarely even two). Amazingly, Robinson is very good at all three. The central conflict stretching through the volumes is whether the settlers should adapt to Mars’s harsh, austerely beautiful environment or, with the aid of tremendous energy inputs, turn it into a version of Earth.
There are no villains; Robinson gives both sides good arguments. And his understanding of the biology and technology of the other planets and of space travel (on display in several of his other books as well) is awesome.
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