This is the first book in a three book series.
The time has finally come. The year is 2026, and the human race is coming to Mars. This is no carefully timetabled round trip. Unmanned space craft have been sent ahead with all the equipment and resources needed to build a self sustaining community on a planet where the atmosphere is as lethal as outer space.
Now the Ares is on it’s way. The 100 people aboard will be the first permanent inhabitants of the red planet. The “first 100” are made up of many races and nationalities, each one the best in their field of expertise.
As would be expected in such a diverse group, opinions on what should be achieved on Mars vary greatly. From those who believe Mankind’s impact on the planet should be as minimal as possible, to those who plan to turn the planet into a mini ‘Earth’ with vegetation and a breathable atmosphere. Others see the red planet as nothing more than a resource to be exploited.
As the first steps toward terraforming the planet are implemented, a power struggle develops back on Earth as massive multinational companies begin usurping the power of governments around the world in order to gain control of Martian affairs. The Martian moon Phobos is turned into a weapons platform capable of firing on the fragile Martian cities. The new inhabitants of Mars however are becoming more and more of the opinion that Earth should not be in control of Mars at all.
The lines are drawn as a resistance movement begins to demonstrate it’s power and resolve. Outright conflict seems inevitable.
The detail in this series of books is amazing. Kim Stanley Robinson went to a great deal of effort to ensure that the science was as correct as it could be with what we knew about Mars at the time. The result is a stunningly believable backdrop to the story.