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The Empress Of Mars (2009)

The Empress of Mars (2009)

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3.75 of 5 Votes: 3
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0765318903 (ISBN13: 9780765318909)
Tor Books

About book The Empress Of Mars (2009)

I'd give this 3-1/2 stars but will settle for 3.I read about half of the books in Baker's "The Company" series before I stopped caring about it. This book is only tangentially connected to that series and I honestly didn't recognize the two obvious Company characters who were included. It is an enjoyable "Western" romp on Mars as seen via Mary Griffith who runs the local saloon and represents society on the fringes being oppressed by big business. As people come and go we see their individual stories and how they fit into the jigsaw puzzle that is this Martian colony. I really loved the romantic Ottorino Vespucci, scion of a wealthy but boring Earth family. He's a misfit due to his love of adventure and "translates" all the finagling for power in the Martian colony in terms of Western movies. And it fits.I also really enjoyed Baker's ability to tell the truth without worrying about letting the chips fall where they may. Proper society is one that we might predict from watching current popular sociological trends. Although the "Goddess" worship popular among Mary and her cronies is linked to the Virgin of Guadalupe, it is also a nebulous sort of faith which encompasses something far beyond any Christian understanding of the Virgin Mary. And yet Baker isn't afraid to include Christians among those who would be thrown into the Hospital for Eccentrics, which is something a good many authors would have been blind to, depending upon their own prejudices. Overall a fun, light romp. This was supposed to be another Company book by Kage Baker, but I really wasn't sure who the company was. I don't think it was the British Arean Company. I had a guess near the end, but it was still unclear.Having said that, this was a good old story about pioneers trying to make their way in the harsh world of the unknown, except it happened to be on Mars. I loved the characters and the general story of regular people fighting against the entrenched, corrupt interests.The British Arean Company wanted to settle Mars and make a profit. Its goal was to terraform (or in this case are-form) the planet and it took anyone who would make the trip. It hired scientists, engineers, accountants, farmers, construction workers and anyone who was adventurous. After a time, the BAC decided it couldn't make money, so it fired most of the workers. Unfortunately it didn't give them enough money to get back to Earth, so a lot of the were forced to stay.A rag tag family, headed by Mary Griffith, a xenobotanist fired in the aforementioned paragraph, is at the center of the story. Mary opens a pub called The Empress of Mars. It's the only place to get beer, so it's very popular. She has 3 daughters and a number of other hangers on, who are refuges from the BAC. At first they seem like misfits, but many are scientists and engineers who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.There is still a skeleton of the BAC on Mars and a new man appears trying to take over and get rid of the undesirables; sounds like a million westerns you've probably seen. There is a clan, as in Scottish clan, who are very successful farmers. They are the only ones who can grow anything of substance on Mars. The secret is a recluse, who is the son of the leader of the clan. He happens to be a genius and he invents some electro-mechanical biis (bees) that pollinate the crops. Mary, meanwhile, finds a large diamond on her land, and is suddenly, potentially, rich. The leader of the clan wants to marry Mary, not for the diamond-related wealth, but it doesn't hurt. What ensues is a big fight between the BAC, the clan, new arrivals on Mars and groups of ice haulers, who make up the backbone of the economy; if you have no water, you have no life on Mars.I won't spoil the fun and adventure, but in the end, I felt like the townsfolk beat the robber barons and became self-sufficient, through a little luck and a lot of chutzpah.

Do You like book The Empress Of Mars (2009)?

I love the company series and this we well written, just not my cup of tea.

Fun with a Wild West feel on Mars. Kind of reminds me of Scalzi, actually.

Neal Wyatt rec from the 2009 RUSA genre shortlist. Diverting.

Very entertaining. Borderline YA though.

4 stars from Lightreads.

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