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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Mars Crossing

Copyright 2000 by Geoffrey A. Landis

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this on the 8th December 2001.

Don Quijote Commander John Radkowski, his crew Ryan Martin, Tana Jackson, Estela Conselheiro, Chamlong Limpigomolchai and lottery-winner Trevor Whitman have finally arrived on Mars. Theirs is the third manned landing, and they sincerely hope, the first successful return. The crews of the earlier two vessels perished and failed to return to Earth.

But things go wrong right from the touch-down, and in the end, our heroes have to trek across most of Mars in a desperate attempt to reach a place of safety. The distances are immense, the dangers are largely unknown and their equipment is failing and cannot be repaired.

This first novel by NASA scientist Geoffrey A. Landis is rather good. I picked it up from trusty old Jena Books and had a thoroughly enjoyable Friday reading it.

As their tortuous trek progresses across the Red Planet, their personalities unfold through their interplay with their fellow astronauts, and their histories are revealed through flashbacks to their lives on Earth. The technique's a little formal, but you do begin to think of these brave souls as real characters.

It's an engrossing read but all that walking almost made me reconsider my (unlikely to be realised) ambition to be an astronaut.

Loaded on the 10th December 2001.
    
Cover of Mars Crossing