At first glance, this looks to be a good book and indeed there are interesting aspects to it. The Martian colony has been very generously funded by an Australian billionaire Roger Barton and is successfully expanding. All is going well until Barton dies in a plane crash. I’m not giving anything away here as this can’t be regarded as a spoiler for any potential readers as its on page 1.
It seems the Martian colony was Barton’s pet project and very few people Earth side were involved in its management. With Barton’s death his heirs decide to dispose of most of the assets, including the colony. The Martian colony has been essentially a science outpost for various scientific disciplines. It had been funded by Barton’s organisation for decades and currently has several hundred people on Mars. Many of these people are long term residents and include construction workers and all the various support workers necessary to support a thriving scientific colony.
With the death of Barton, the colony is sold to a consortium of countries made up of USA, Russia, China, France and the UK. While its’ business as normal for a while, it’s not long before the bureaucrats start meddling. Things quickly turn sour when the cost cutting measures start to bite and, when the Martians get restless the consortium, send a police detachment to ‘keep the peace’ as they put it. This only serves to heighten the tensions between the residents and the Consortium management. When a new batch of edicts arrive from Earth, it proves too much for a small group of Martians. They decide to take things into their own hands and we have a rebellion!
The rebellion occurs about half-way into this book and marks a turning point for it. The second half with the rebellion and the Consortium’s response make for interesting reading with some main and interesting characters emerging. The first half lacked notable characters, with most of the text being in a highly descriptive, historical narrative form. There are numerous sections were you as a reader are just told of events as though there’s someone who has observed it in great detail and are now telling you what they saw. Some of these sections are quite long. While the characters come to the fore in the second half, you still get the odd descriptive narrative passage, but there’s not quite so many of them.
I have to admit the writing style detracted from my enjoyment of what is actually quite a decent story. Yes, there are some elements which seem a bit far-fetched such as the prostitutes or going to Jupiter for supplies for example. Distances to Jupiter from Mars are incredibly huge so it would take many years just to get there. Personal relationships don’t seem to be the author’s strong point as the few that are covered seem rather dysfunctional. The role of the prostitutes and how the other character think of them is all a bit odd.
Abbreviations are another sore point for me. I need to be told upfront that a DSS is a Deep Space Ship and the OSLO is an Orbiting Space Laboratory and Observatory. You are told if you’re paying attention, but is it too much to ask to be told before the abbreviation appears in the text? Some abbreviations aren’t explained at all. We get told what an HVAC is but not what the letters stand for.
I thought the final third of the book where the Martians have to contend with the Consortium’s response to the rebellion was very good. It’s a shame the rest of the book was not up to this standard. ‘We Are Martians’ could do with a re-write of the first half and some judicious editing to make the whole thing into a good book.
(pub: E.R. Dee Books. 185 page ebook. Price: £ 2.02 (UK) ASIN: B01A5MP5JI)
check out website: www.martiansbook.com