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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer

I'm really happy I stumbled across this book. Since I don't read as much science fiction as I would like to, when I do, I feel like it's a major disappointment if  the story isn't amazing. RED PLANET BLUES is one of those science-fiction books that reach out to more than just the science geeks or or the science fiction aficionados. It's in fact a mystery/suspense novel that just happens to be set on Mars. The idea of combining the two genre is very original and clever.

The main character Alex Lomax is your typical private investigator that you love to hate. He is the typical private eye that seduces the ladies, drinks a little bit too much, and is great at what he does because he's willing to bend the rules. A lot. Although I say he's typical, that doesn't mean he isn't original. He has many traits that remind me of other private investigators in mystery novels, but it's the circumstances and the setting that brings out the originality of this character. He does have a mysterious past we don't know much about and that adds another air of mystery to the story. Obviously, he does what he does for the money because he isn't a selfless investigator, and if he has the opportunity to make an additional profit off his clients, he doesn't hesitate to do just that. I kept waiting for him to double cross his latest client and I'm not going to reveal if he does or not, but just the fact that he has the intention of double dipping in order to make extra money adds depth to his character.

The novel is set on a futuristic Mars. People living on Earth's neighboring planet live in city in a dome-like structure that allows them to survive on a planet that would be otherwise lethal to human beings. The below 50 degrees temperatures and the fact the air only has 1% of Earth's oxygen really isn't optimal for human life, let alone any other martian life. In fact, the only proof of life on Mars is preserved in the fossils that have become quite the collectibles and are worth quite a lot of money to people back on Earth. Most people that move to Mars are attracted to the idea of making money off selling fossils and the flood of immigrants is similar to that of the North American gold rush. I think what makes this book so great is the actual science in the novel. You can tell the author has a scientific background because a lot of the details are realistic and science based. The science geek in me was really happy the genre was literally that of science fiction. With all the fossils and archaeological findings in the book, it comes to no surprise that the author's background is archaeology and although I don't know much about that branch of science, the way things are described is easily understandable and detailed. At first I was confused by the unconventional combination of archaeology and science-fiction because when you think about it, one is the study of the past while the other is a theoretical future. The polar opposites work, however, because what better way to understand a new world than to understand and investigate its past and evolution?

Despite all the awards and distinctions the author has, I'm surprised that this is the first Robert J. Sawyer book I've come across. I really enjoyed it and I will definitely be checking out his other novels. His approach to science-fiction is brilliant because it's believable and his characters are easily accessible. Personally, I find science-fiction novels, especially stand-alones like this one, can either be a hit or miss for me. RED PLANET BLUES is definitely not a miss and can undoubtedly be enjoyed by readers of either science-fiction and/or  mystery novels. A distinguishable take on life on Mars that is believable and tangible.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. I've never heard of this one either but it sounds sorta interesting especially since it takes place on Mars as well. Sounds like it was a good read. I might have to add this to the TBR.

  2. I'm a huge fan of Robert Sawyer books, the science in them is usually facinating. I have this book on my wishlist, it sounds so interesting.