LIFE ON MARS by Jonathan Strahan

LIFE ON MARS

Tales from the New Frontier
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Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This exemplary, almost old-fashioned anthology is a welcome relief in a teen fiction market dominated by dystopias, fantasy and paranormal romance. Twelve top-tier speculative fiction authors tackle the classic theme of colonizing Mars, incorporating cutting-edge science and mostly adolescent protagonists (more than half of them female) in tales of enterprise, accomplishment and sacrifice. Perhaps because they are so realistically grounded, there is a certain sameness to the stories, not just in emphasizing plausible technology and accurate environments, but also in appreciating the hard work and good luck needed to establish residence on another world. Most discount the possibility of alien life, using the futuristic far-off setting to examine contemporary issues:  racism, violence, environmental damage, economic disparity and, above all, what it means to be human. The mood ranges from optimistic (seeing a virgin planet as an ideal setting to correct the errors of Terran civilization) to scathing (indicting the folly of applying failed ideologies to a new frontier) to elegiac (almost nostalgic for bygone adventures not even yet begun). While some harsh language and difficult themes might restrict the audience, readers who agree with the saw that "the Golden Age of science fiction is 12" will demand more of every author included. (Science fiction/short stories. 12 & up)
Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-01216-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2011




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