Book info

Mars Life (2008)

Mars Life (2008)
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Rating
3.66 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0765317877 (ISBN13: 9780765317872)
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English
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publisher
tor books
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Mars Life (2008)
Mars Life (2008)

About book: Imagine that you were a scientist exploring Mars and you discovered the ruins of an extinct civilization. Then imagine that you discovered unrefutable fossils. This would cause quite a sensation back on Earth, wouldn't it? Don't count on it if right-wing religionists are in power. Imagine that you present your undeniable hard evidence and they call it just scientist propaganda to force an unproven theory down their throats just like Darwinism. Then imagine that on Earth the effects of global warming were in full force with most of Florida under water and Louisiana turning into an inland sea. That would call for some very serious and drastic solutions, wouldn't it. Don't count on it if right-wing religionists are in power. In the face of this emergency they are cutting the budgets of every scientific research project they can. They are even trying to eliminate science classes in the public schools. They are trying to suppress the astounding discoveries on Mars. Frankly, I cannot think of even one good thing about religion and I just love stories like this that illustrate the venal and bullying nature of religion. Throughout all of history it has retarded the advance of humanity and has always promoted ignorance over learning and discovery. Religion has always encouraged burning at the stake those who would expose the people to truth and in this story the religionists are getting themselves in a position to be able to do the same thing again. It is only a work of fiction, but as you read it you should see that it does a good job of describing the way creationists and right-wingers in general operate. I do think it is a bit unrealistic about what they would do in the face of the most dire effects of global warming though. They would not be just cutting budgets for science education and research. They would be still actively denying that there is any global warming at all.

Unfortunately, Ben Bova seems to be going slightly off the deep end with some of his political and environmental ideas. While his mythical greenhouse cliff and New Morality have always been a part of the Grand Tour series, they now seem to be just a chance for him to rant and rave, rather than being an actual part of the story. The ironic thing to me is that he attributes government takeovers and conspiracies to the ultra conservative religious right (as he calls them). But, if you take everything he talks about and flip it 180 degrees, you have what the radical left is actually doing today. As an example, in his universe, the religious right has infiltrated all forms of government and business. They control the banks, transportation, insurance companies, and education - sounds familiar, except change right to left. In an ironic twist, he has the right updating all the school textbooks to take out Darwinism and only allow creationism. Funny how the left is trying to do the very same, except they want to say the Founding Fathers (who they want to rename "framers") didn't have religion as a foundation during their writings and deliberations.The shame of it all is that when he's actually focused on the exploration of Mars and the trials of the people living there, his stories are still incredibly interesting. Just wish he could stay off the lunatic rants about the religious right...
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Reviews
Barry
I just couldn't finish this book, decided to stop 150 pages from the end. The characters were cut-outs, the phrases they used were cliche... Kind of disappointing, because I really enjoyed Jupiter, Venus and Mercury. It just seemed Bova was concentrating on putting other things together... religion, navajo origins... at the expense of the plot. I agree with the other reviewer who said the conflicts seemed unbelievable. I just wanted a more realistic read of colonizing Mars and didn't find it here.
Sheri
I found Mars Life to be a disappointing addition to Ben Bova's Mars books. I enjoyed the science and politics challenges and creative solutions for Mars exploration, particularly in the first two books. This one, however, was totally spoiled for me by the fairly ridiculous characters and extreme characterization of the "new morality" political movement. The characters were never his strong suit, never very deep, but it was ok in the first two because the story was so great. But this one was totally unbelievable, the characters were just silly, and it ruined a great series of books for me.
David Segrove
Definitely the weakest book in the Bova Mars series. Jamie Waterman has returned to Mars in an attempt to save the two decades old mission from being shut down by an ultra-religious government who don't want Darwinism promoted in the US.Though a reflection of the extremes of our times, the story feels rushed. Waterman has become selfish and very self-centered. Other characters, including those from earlier in the series, are very shallow and one-dimensional. Following the discovery of cliff dwellings in books one and two I had high hopes for the third in the series. The world was, quite literally, Bova's oyster and I don't think he did it justice.
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