Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pulp mills of Mars

Title: Born Under Mars
Author: John Brunner

It's been well over a month since I've read this, and kind of a lot has happened since then, so I'm going to glaze over most of it.

Imagine a noir-ish pulp detective novel on Mars, centered around a conspiracy to create and control a baby that could alter the course of human evolution.

It's surprisingly well done (considering the outlandish premise), if you're able to think of it more as noir detective than sci-fi, and you're willing to ignore Brunner getting relativity backwards. Ray is a flight engineer, born on Mars (and due to a mere four or five generations of human life on Mars, has "evolved" to be very tall, lightweight, and physically weak, especially on higher-gravity worlds), and starts the book being tortured by operatives of one of the two primary factions of humankind. He is later revived by members of the opposite faction, and spends the rest of the book trying to figure out what everyone thinks he knows, and why his Yoda-like mentor erased twelve hours of his memory. Weird stuff, but perfect for a flight or a brain-dead evening.

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posted by reyn at 5:08 PM


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