The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker

20 Feb 2012
Posted by jcfiala

The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This here is a great book. I'd picked it up on a whim, used, without knowing much about it other than it says it's one of Kage Baker's "The Company" series.

Amusingly, it's not obviously part of that series, and if you're worried about picking this book up and not knowing what's going on, don't worry - there's no obvious metaplot here, and although it's apparently part of the future history of her series, there's no reference to any other part of it.

The story is basically one of pioneers, and particularly about Mary Griffith, mother of three and ex-scientist for the British Arean Company, which has an unfortunate habit of firing people without enough money to get back to Earth. So she opens up the first bar on Mars and does her best to thrive in one of the most inhospitable places man has tried to settle, in the face of intolerance, infighting, and (at best) careless neglect.

The story about her and the folks she gathers around her is both interesting, charming, and impossible to put down. Apparently it was originally a novella, and in that form was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula, and won a Sturgeon.

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