Mars Life by Ben Bova


Jaime Waterman was part of the first mission to Mars. During his exploration of the barren surface he found signs of life, structures built for some unknown purpose. Thanks to a celestial claims law, and Jaime’s Native American heritage, the Navaho Nation is in charge of Mars.

That was more than twenty years ago. Now Jaime is dealing with a crisis that could shut down all research on Mars. The New Morality is a religious movement that has been gaining ground since global warming started to sink coastal cities. This and other religious groups believe the findings on Mars are a threat to their faith and to their power that must be dealt with.

This comes just as the most important discovery on the red planet since Jaime’s structures were found is being made. How long can Jaime and his friends keep up the battle of perception back on Earth? Can the funding for research on Mars be saved? Will they have enough time to unearth the secrets of Mars?

(Ed. Note: I received a copy of this book for review at no cost to me. )

My Opinion

Mars Life is the type of science fiction I’ve always enjoyed. You get the feeling that this world can be real with the right research. There are amazing advancements, but not all are so outlandish that they seem impossible. This could be our future very soon.

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I would imagine that some people will read this book and view it as an attack on religion. It does come across like that in a few early parts of the story. Soon we begin to see other denominations and faiths. Then the target is abundantly clear. Maybe even understandable.

It takes a very special blend of ignorance and insanity to ignore facts and evidence to protect something that, by it’s very nature, should not need protection. Strong faith can look at something that it thought impossible and marvel in the continuous miracle that is our universe. Both of these points of view are well exemplified in this story.

The scientists aren’t all portrayed as heroes. There are rigid control freaks and jerks aplenty on that cold red marble. Individuals are given realistic personalities that help to make the story even more believable.


Mars Life is a great science fiction story. If I hadn’t known that this was a new book, I would’ve said it was a classic that I’d overlooked. It’s got what it takes to become a classic, that’s for sure. Believable characters that are likable, and dis-likable which is sometimes more important, populate a future in which we may soon be living.

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