Tag Archives: Red Mars

Books in Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a reality now. You can get Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, use it on your computer, and enjoy immersing yourself in another world.

But this had me thinking. What if we could enter the world that exists in a book? You can fully interact with everything in that world, including places, characters, and more. Which book would you choose to enter?

I think I would love to be in the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. I want to become a dragon rider and ride a dragon. That would be incredible.

Or maybe join Ender in Ender’s Game, training in that zero gravity training chamber. That would be a lot of fun.

Or how about exploring Mars in Red Mars? See Olympus Mons, the polar ice caps, or Valles Marineris.

The possibilities are endless. Which book would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Best and the Worst of 2013

The year 2013 ended with my 23rd book read, which missed my initial target of 25 books.  But that’s okay.  I read some pretty long books last year.  This year’s target is 30 books.

In the past year, I rated nine of them a full 5 stars.  Why so many?  Well, I think I chose some pretty good books to read.  Many of them are popular and highly rated.  On the other hand, I did read two that I rated 2 stars.

So, I thought that I’d show you my top 5 books of the year and the worst of the year.  Let’s start at the bottom.

Worst of the Year

moonrush#23 – MoonRush

This book was set to be a fun one to read.  I was expecting an adventure, and I did get one.  However, it was plagued with problems.  The characters were unrealistic and cliche.  The science in this science fiction was so incredibly wrong, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.  They got basic things wrong, including how to create artificial gravity with a spinning space station.  The narration was filled with terrible puns and conversational language.  Some people like it, but it wasn’t for me.

Top 5 of 2013

dune#5 Dune

Although this was written in the 1960s, I found it to be just as incredible to read today as it must have been back then.  I enjoyed this thoroughly.  It showed a distant future with some great world-building, an evolved culture, new religions, and more.  It also showed what it would be like to live in a high tech society without computers.  It’s definitely one of my favourites of the year.  But there are 4 more!

 

thegreathunt#4 The Great Hunt

The first book of The Wheel of Time didn’t get a full 5 stars, but this one did.  It came out quickly with a thoroughly enjoyable story.  The first book started slowly and was quite predictable, but this one was quick and had plenty of twists.  I have a feeling that this will continue to be a great story in future parts.  I really look forward to that.

 

 

silmarillion#3 The Silmarillion

This isn’t really a novel.  J. R. R. Tolkien created this as a kind of way to keep his mythology straight in his mind while he wrote Lord of the Rings, but what he has here is great.  I absolutely loved it.  It reads like a combination of history book and mythology book, and was in a way a kind of religious book.  It was the basis for the history of Middle Earth.  It wasn’t dry at all, and was utterly fascinating.

 

aclashofkings#2 A Clash of Kings

Last year, my number one book was A Game of Thrones. This year, the second book exceeded the first.  I liked it more.  But it only gets #2.  Why?  Well, you’ll see soon.  However, this book was a great one to read.  More death, more drama, more realistic war and politics.  It had everything I liked in the first book and made it even better.  It’s a big book, but it was a joy to read all the way through.  Can’t wait for the next part.

And the Best Book of 2013 Is…

redmars#1 Red Mars

This is the book I’ve wanted to read all my life.  I love space travel, I love planetary science, I love realistic stories about colonising other planets.  It was incredible to read.  A lot of research went into writing this book, and it shows.  Robinson made a great novel here, and I would love to see it made into a movie.  I’m looking forward to the second and third installments.

So, do you agree or disagree with my choices?  Leave a comment.

Book Review – Red Mars

redmarsRed Mars, the first book of the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, is a realistic science fiction novel set later in the 21st century.

Where has this book been all my life?  Or should I ask why I hadn’t read it earlier?  Having a degree in astronomy and physics, this should be right down my alley.  I love planetary science, and the exploration of the solar system is a big interest of mine.  Basically, this novel is like a textbook for the colonisation of Mars.  There’s a lot of science, but that’s not all.  There’s politics, philosophy, psychology, romance, extremism, and revolution.

It starts out somewhere in the middle of the book, then goes back to the beginning, on the way to Mars.  100 people were sent to Mars to settle it.  On Mars, we could read about how the colony was set up, how the people interacted, and how the colony grew over a span of several decades.  The story focuses on prominent members of the first hundred.  Frank and Maya are the American and Russian leaders of the colony, John is the first man on Mars, Arkady is a very colourful Russian engineer, Nadia is a workaholic construction specialist, Ann is a very opinionated geologist, Sax is a very serious and closed scientist, and many more.  Each section focuses on a different character as we get in their heads, figure out how they think, and see what life on Mars does to them.  There are vastly different ideologies among the first hundred, some are for terraforming, others are against.  This creates the greater part of the conflict on Mars, but there’s a lot more to it than that.  The characters really make this a joy to read.  I really liked John and Nadia, while I despised Frank.  But overall, the whole cast of characters makes this wonderful to read.

Mars itself is described in so much detail, I felt like I was there.  I felt like I was with the characters, actually living there.  Robinson uses a lot of technical and scientific language, so if you’re not used to these terms, it may be a bit difficult to read.  It’s not an issue for me, though.  It added to the experience.  I loved seeing how Mars changed over the decades while the characters grew from middle-aged to elderly.  Everything changed.

I learned that although I got attached to a lot of the characters, some of my favourites died.  Major characters died, and it just increased the drama.  I couldn’t be too sure about who was going to die next.  It was pretty unpredictable.  I wasn’t able to figure out what was going to happen next.  I couldn’t wait to see what happened on the next page.  Loved it!

I’m glad to finally have read this book.  I can’t wait for the next one.  Highly recommended!  This deserves 5 out of 5 stars.

Why Haven’t They Made a Movie Yet?

Great books are often made into movies.  Not always great movies, but movies nevertheless.  Sometimes they’re also made into TV series.

Recently, Ender’s Game was made into a movie.  A Game of Thrones is a TV series.  Lord of the Rings became amazing movies.  I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies, despite a lot of cuts from the original books.  But there are some books I’ve read that I wonder why they haven’t been turned into movies or TV series.

The book I’m reading now seems like the perfect book to be made into a movie about Mars colonisation.  That’s Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.  I’m halfway through the first book of the trilogy, and it’s been about 20 years since it was published.  Will it ever be made into a movie?  I would watch it in a heartbeat!

Another I’ve read recently is Reality Dysfunction.  It would be great for those who like a bit of horror in their science fiction.  It’s a long trilogy, though.  It may be difficult to make such a complex story into a movie or series of movies.  TV series?

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series seems ripe for a TV series, although it is incredibly long.  Or how about 14 movies?  That would be long.  I wonder if it’s ever been considered for filming.  I think the length would put a lot of producers off of a project like this.

How about Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen?  It’s dark and gritty, and it seems people are eating up A Game of Thrones.  So why not this series?

Ringworld would be a fun movie to see.  It could be doable, and would need some great special effects.  I’d love to see it made into a movie.  The lighthearted mood in the book may not be carried over to a movie, though.

I know that Terry Brooks’ Shannara series has been optioned for a movie, but nothing has come of it yet.  I wonder if it will.  Same with Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series.  I’d love to watch either of them.

What would you like to see turned into a movie?

Note:  200th blog post!