View Full Version : Yet another great review for The Mars Imperative

February 13th, 2008, 07:30 PM
Recently, I received another terrific review for my first novel, The Mars Imperative. (This makes 7 rave reviews so far.) This one is from Wenonah Lyon for Novelspot.com:

The Mars Imperative, by Mark Terence Chapman, joins the long list of speculative fiction about our planetary neighbor, Mars. C.S.Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Kim Stanley Robinson and a dozen others have been fascinated by the Red Planet. Chapman, like Robinson, produces hard science fiction using the narrowest of definitions of SF. Nothing written conflicts with current scientific knowledge; any advanced technologies are theoretically possible. <o></o>The Mars Imperative, set in 2176, begins on an Earth that is over-populated and running out of natural resources. This is no dystopia; science and technology have opened up the solar system to supply the minerals Earth's industry requires. <o></o>

Twenty-three year old James McKie, with an MA in areology (Martian geology) accepts a job on Mars, mapping mineral deposits to be exploited. <o></o>

If the attention to science is like Robinson, the society and characters are pure Heinlein: technology, character and true grit conquer all. James McKie is individualistic, well educated, clever, brave and unassuming. His initial work experience requires successfully confronting both sabotage and the harsh conditions of Mars and he does. Unlike Heinlein, this is hard science fiction, with no McGuffins to take care of unpleasant science facts: no warp drives, worm holes, FTL, teleportation. Transportation is a major preoccupation in the book; McKie spends 112 pages just getting to Mars. He takes suborbital transport to one of Earth's space elevators, the space elevator to an orbital docking facility, the Nautilus, then a cargo space ship (the Ares Flyer) to an orbital docking facility circling Mars and a final space elevator going to the planet.

Each of these means of transport, plus the orbital docking station, is briefly described in the text and early chapters of the book begin with quotes from the Encyclopedia Solaris, 2176 edition, which explains how they work and how they're constructed. (A note at the end of the book discusses theoretical space elevators and actual work towards building them.)<o></o>

During this initial long trip, James meets two major characters, Daniel Lim, spatial engineer, and Kim Cappelletti, astronomer. Like James, both are beginning their first year in work. The time spent actually getting to Mars allows solid friendship to develop. During the trip, threats, both natural and engineered by wicked fellows, challenge the three.

After James lands on Mars, Chapman provides additional threats, a villain and a romantic interest. Itís good exciting stuff with likable characters and the continuing scientific and ecological realism are woven naturally into the action.

This is traditional science fiction, describing the future in terms that emphasize the possible. I enjoyed it. If you like Robinson, Heinlein and hard SF, you'll probably like The Mars Imperative. If you like William Gibson, Neil Stephenson and cyberpunk, you probably won't.

The Mars Imperative is available here on CTR in ebook format (http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&products_id=759), or from Amazon.com and BN.com in trade paperback.