“Haldeman is one of my favorite writers and he rarely disappoints. "The Hemingway Hoax" is a masterpiece of a story - - check it out if you've never read it, likewise his novels 1968 or THE FOREVER WAR. MARSBOUND is not going to make it onto my list of his best wroks but it keeps the reader spellbound and satisfied nonetheless.
This book isn't labeled as such but it could easily be classified as a young adult novel. It's told in first person narrative and the main character is a young woman (18 at the beginning of the book) who accompanies her parents and brother as volunteers to the new colony on Mars. She has the usual concerns about leaving friends behind and starting a new life, and later hooks up with an older (by six years or more) and more mature space captain and has an affair. She rebels against the strict controls/guidelines/regimen of the Mars colony and runs into trouble with a strict, dominering matriarchal female administrator.
After one incident she wanders away from the colony (an encapsulated and air-controlled environment), has an accident and is rescued by an alien, one of the other inhabitants of Mars living undeground in their own community. It turns out that these aliens are not native to Mars either and were placed there by a thrid race, who is supremely intelligent and advanced far beyond both Earth and Mars - - and they're keeping a close eye on things in case of trouble. She bonds with one of the "Martians" and later they work together to save civilization from the Others.
Haldeman has always been good at explaining complex scientific concepts and giving the more understandaable "streets" version to us. He takes advantage of the young protagonist here to do the same and makes his points about space needles, orbiting space stations, planetary colonies, compensation for the effects of gravity, etc. There is a lot here to like.”
Mike C wrote this review Tuesday, May 19, 2009.