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Esteemed Mars guru Bob Zubrin callsThe Martian Race"one of the finest novels about human exploration of the Red Planet ever written. "But then again, Bob is acharacterin the book (albeit in the briefest of cameos), so what else could he possibly say? That notwithstanding, Zubrin's right--he couldn't have picked a better book to show his face in. By popular assent,Martian Racedeserves top honors among the millennial wave of Mars exploration tales, propelled as it is by the skillful storytelling of physics doyen Gregory Benford, a Campbell and two-time Nebula winner.

Martian Race is near-future SF, set in the twenty-teens (just before Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars saga kicks off), which may contribute to its being a bit of a slow starter; this is realistic, nuts-and-bolts speculation on a mission using pretty basic technology. But the pace picks up considerably as our heroes--the likable Julia and her Russky hubby Viktor and crew, backed by the Mars Consortium and its biotech billionaire CEO John Axelrod--begin to duke it out with a Euro-Sino concern to claim the $30 billion Mars Prize and, of course, get back from the Red Planet in one piece. Benford's work throughout is engaging and thorough, exploring every aspect of why we should make this trip at all (and even a few arguments against it, like Mars Bar marketing tie-ins). --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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ISBN-10:  0446608904
ISBN-13:  978-0446608909
Author:  Gregory Benford
Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher:  Aspect
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review by . November 18, 2010
Congress just couldn't stomach NASA's estimated $450 billion price tag to send a manned mission to Mars. So the USA and a group of other interested countries agreed on a different approach - a $30 billion prize to the first people that went to Mars and returned with a completed set of specified scientific explorations including geologic mapping, seismic testing, studies of atmospheric phenomena, core samples and, of course, searches for water, fossils and life. This was obviously much more …
Quick Tip by . November 18, 2010
A modern twist on a very old, tried and true approach to capitalism, enterprise and exploration - - a $30 billion prize to the first people that go to Mars and return with a completed set of specified scientific explorations including geologic mapping, seismic testing, studies of atmospheric phenomena, core samples and, of course, searches for water, fossils and life.
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