Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marsbound-Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman
Ace, Aug 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780441015955

Carmen Dula could just as easily be growing up on earth with her teen angst. She avoids her parents like they are the plague or when she feels kind towards them she treats them like they are just stupid; and her younger pain in the butt sibling drives her to want to run away. However, as a lottery pick family sent to live on the first human colony on Mars she knows there are not a lot places for a runaway to go to especially with the great dictator colony manager Dargo Solingen looking over everyone’s shoulder.

During one of her forays away from her family, Carmen finds previously undetected Martians living in an underground city in the bleak “wilderness”. She tries unsuccessfully to convince Solingen what she found, but he writes her off as teenage mutant with no brains inside her head. When she and her friends learn what the Martians plan for the colonists, Carmen and company know not to waste any time with the manager; they make the effort to save the earthlings.

This is an engaging coming of age Martian thriller due to Carmen who tells the story with a combination of young adult intelligence and teenage impatient angst at the stupidity of adults. The story line is action-packed though told mostly by Carmen as she learns first hand personal agendas as she deals with officious oppressors (parents and government are included), the enemy who wants her dead, and her guardian angel who she does not what Mr. Potatohead wants from her.
Harriet Klausner

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