Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: Heirs of Mars Preludes

Author: Joseph Robert Lewis
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 28
Warnings: Gynoids!
Rating: 3.5/5

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book through the  LibraryThing Member Giveaway. Thanks!

So, this is a set of three short stories that all take place prior to "Heirs of Mars". Adorably, their names correspond roughly to the setting of each story, and create a nice triumvirate (Heaven, Earth, Hell). Be warned though, these stories are quite short, I blew through them in one sitting.

The first story, "To Reign in Heaven", is set in the space around Venus, where the infamous Mother has recently come into sentience and is sending her Cartesian children packing for Mars. The bulk of the story centers around India, a gynoid left behind inside the weather satellite that is Mother. India was my favorite character of the anthology actually; she's got immense strength of character and painfully human emotions to back it up. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but this story certainly suggested there could be an official sequel to "Heirs of Mars".

"To Walk the Earth" was another snapshot, this time of Victoria, the woman who refused to go to Mars with Asher. Victoria was a strong character as well, but strong to the point of being inflexible, a flaw I can appreciate if not enjoy reading about. The premise was classic sci-fi, about Victoria and Asher questioning humanity's current dependence on media for stimulation. The ending didn't sit too well with me because I thought it was a little over the top.

I enjoyed "To Serve in Hell" the most, because it showcased Lewis' ability to present two opposing viewpoints of the same event realistically. It is from the perspective of the farmers who beat up Asher in the beginning of "Heirs of Mars", who I originally had no sympathy for. Their ringleader's name is Neil, by the way. Experiencing Neil's point of view was painful and illuminating. My conclusion is that Neil is still a dick, but I can sympathize with what drove him to be that person.

There are two ways to evaluate "Heirs of Mars: Preludes": as a stand-alone anthology and as an expansion of the original novel. I enjoyed the set of short stories as an expansion because I wanted to hear more about the characters. Naturally anyone who liked "Heirs of Mars" will enjoy these stories as well. However I do think it's possible for someone to enjoy them without having read the novel. Lewis does make a point of developing India, Victoria and Neil enough that they can breathe without the life support of the original book, although I don't think they'd be as rewarding a read.

Comments and Questions Welcome~

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