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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Mars Plus

Copyright 1994 by Frederik Pohl and Thomas T. Thomas

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (2/5)

I most recently read this on the 15th January 2002.

This is the sequel to "Man Plus" in which Roger Torraway was slowly converted from his human form into a cyborg mechanism able to exist on the surface of Mars.

We return to Mars some forty years later. Roger and a few other old cyborgs roam the surface of the planet. It has turned out in the meantime that, from the point of view of Mars colonisation, these cyborgs were never really necessary and indeed Mars has now been colonised successfully with more normal humans. Thus the cyborgs remain alien even to the other Mars colonists.

There are however problems on this new Mars colony. Something is stirring. It's not clear what is about to happen. Earth's governments are sending their diplomats and spies to the colony and the level of suspicion is rising.

Among the diplomats and spies is Demeter Coghlan. She's young and inexperienced, and worse she's still recovering from a recent accident. The aftereffects are making her job a little difficult, sometimes affecting her concentration and confusing her thinking.

It is not as good as "Man Plus" but it's not bad. Definitely Pohl, well definitely Pohl and Thomas T. Thomas. It does have some nice touches: Demeter continuously forgetting to think about geology; her careless dictation to the computer and her irresistible urges for wild sex.

However, the novel is a little careless in places and there should have been more crafting and pruning. And what was the point of Ralph? What did this new AI actually manage to do?

Torraway is still pretty cool of course. It was interesting how the reader sees Torraway and his fellows as they see themselves, i.e. to be clearly human, albeit in cyborg bodies. Yet to the Mars colonists, these cyborgs are far, far from human.

Loaded on the 31st January 2003.
    
Cover of Mars Plus
Cover by Stephen Hickman

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