We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
Mars  Audiobook


Regular Price:£30.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
    • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

This grand epic adventure from six-time Hugo Award - winning author Ben Bova tells the irresistible story of man's first mission to that great unconquered frontier, Mars. Technically plausible and compellingly human, Bova's story explores the political, scientific, and social repercussions of our greatest quest yet: the search for evidence of life beyond Earth's boundaries.

Half-Navajo geologist Jamie Waterman has been selected for the ground team of the first manned expedition to our mysterious neighbor planet. Joining an international team of astronauts and scientists, he endures the rigors of training, the dangers of traveling an incredible distance in space, the challenges of an alien landscape, and the personal and political conflicts that arise when the team must face the most shocking discovery of all.

©1992 Ben Bova (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A bulging, impressive, all-you-ever-wanted-to-know, you-are-there Martian odyssey." ( Kirkus Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (47 )
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
4.1 (38 )
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
4.4 (38 )
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Sort by:
    Paul Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom 24/10/2009
    Paul Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom 24/10/2009
    "What we could miss by not going to Mars"

    I enjoyed the three books, I like the Idea that a native American is the driving force to mars, Red man Red planet etc.
    I only gave it a 4 star because I think there's another book needed for the ending. But on that point I will read his other books as I like his style.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
    S. Morris London, UK 14/02/2015
    S. Morris London, UK 14/02/2015 Member Since 2010
    "Martian Mysteries"

    I have currently been reading quite a bit of science-fiction from the likes
    of peter F Hamilton and Alistair Reynolds and was searching around for a new
    author to dip into within this genre. I had heard of Ben Bova and had seen
    many a title over the years adorning book shelves in local shops and so
    decided to take a look at what he had to offer that might appeal.

    I've particularly liked authors who create a series of books that spend time
    exploring various aspects of the genre and so I was pleased and somewhat
    impressed to learn of Bova's Grand Tour series of novels that span more than
    20 titles from what I can determine. Great! Something to really get my teeth
    into I thought. However, upon reading the synopsis and some reviews of the
    early books in this series I decided not to do what I tend to which is to
    doggedly read a series of books in order. NOTE: Any of the titles within
    the Grand Tour series can actually be read in isolation without need of
    having to read previous parts to the series. Many books feature completely
    different sets of characters that can be enjoyed in a stand-alone element of
    the series so there's no need to read the series in order at all to get
    enjoyment from these stories.

    Looking at the first few books I decided to skip to the first book in the
    read sequence recommended by Bova that featured most of the story being away
    from Earth and much of its politics as seems to be the key thread of earlier
    books and something I wanted to avoid. Many readers will like the political
    machinations covered in the earlier books in this series but this stuff
    leaves me cold and I'd rather focus on the real science fiction and sense of
    wonder engendered by books that focus on other planets in our solar system.

    Mars was the first title in the read sequence that fit the bill and so I
    delved into my first Bova novel and allowed the author to place me, the
    reader, on the surface of Mars. I felt that this book was especially
    relevant as Mars is the next step in the quest to send humans to other
    worlds in our solar system and so this book might have some prophetic
    undertones to it I thought.

    On the whole the story worked for me and was interesting and gave the reader
    that sense of wonder as the characters explored this new world. This sort of
    pioneering element is often lacking in science-fiction novels I feel and so
    Mars was just what I wanted in a story. However, as others have noted, mars
    suffers from being a book written in the early 1990's in that the
    technologies mentioned are dated, especially when the time frame of the
    story as far as I was able to determine was set somewhere between 2006 and
    2015. maybe Bova believed a manned mission to Mars was perhaps just three
    or four years away and that the technologies that were current at the time
    of writing would still be relevant. However, where Bova probably got it
    wrong was that given the time frame of his story that technology would've
    marched on quite a bit and that mentioning tapes, cassettes, faxes and
    modems were a mistake as he has not seemingly cared to try and project
    forward and at least guess at how the logical evolution of mundane
    technologies like video could've evolved. In fact, I would go so far as to
    say that Bova could've avoided his story being so technically dated by
    employing more generic terms to cover any foreseeable advances. For example,
    if he had simply replaced the word "tape" with "recording" he would have
    cleverly avoided tying down to any specific medium what video and audio
    were stored on.

    Similarly, modem could've been substituted with data transmission. He even
    goes so far as to mention the use of floppy disks which really dates any
    science-fiction novel terribly and he should've avoided such specifics if he
    was unable to come up with more generic terms. One thing that is notoriously
    hard to predict for any author is how technology or political and national
    landscapes change and so this is why being specific when dealing with those
    things is unwise. If Bova had simply said Russian rather than Soviet it would
    also have been generic enough to side-step the changes that have occurred
    over the years since the book was written. I am surprised that Bova fell into
    this simple trap given how successful an author he is. Still, having said
    all that, Mars might have been one of his earlier efforts and so he can be
    forgiven for his errors in that regard.

    One other thing I would have to say about this book that I also thought was
    a little poor was his incredibly clichéd characterization of an Englishman.
    As one myself it appalled me to read how Victorian and stereotypical the
    portrayal of the man was. I think some U.S authors have a very old fashioned
    view of what English people are like and it reminds me with a wry smile when
    asked by my cousin when I was first over in the States back in 1982 when the
    12 year old looked at me quizzically and asked "Do they have telephones in
    England?". I also once asked another young American back in the early 80's
    what they learned about England and I was told that it was foggy a lot of
    the time in London and women wore long dresses!

    So, perhaps it's not surprising that Bova paints an anachronistic picture of
    an Englishman who says things like "Old Boy", "Good show" and " That's the
    ticket." and of course has an overbearing Father who shows no love and a
    meek mother who is cowed by her husbands no-nonsense cold attitude. So, yes,
    the portrayal of this character was indeed shockingly clichéd. In addition, this character was snug, arrogant and clearly self-absorbed which given the degrees of psychological testing apparently done to each Mars mission candidate, begs the question as to how someone so flawed could ever be allowed to be a member of such a vital mission.

    The other key thing that shocked me in this book and may be a sign of the
    times in which it was written was the overt and casual racism evident in the
    way characters referred to the native American protagonist, Jamie Waterman.
    Phrases like "Red man" or the pejorative use of "Indian" and even the
    aforementioned Englishman referring to Waterman's ancestry as "Savages" was
    incredible. On the other hand, Bova's was able to project attitudes towards
    gender sufficiently forward to allow for a female vice president which we
    still don't have and a significant contingent of females involved in the
    Mars mission so it does puzzle me why there is such backward racial terms
    still used in this novel by the various characters.

    Having pointed out all of the above elements of the story I felt were
    shortcomings I have to say that it did not stop me from liking this book. I
    loved all the elements of the story focused on the plight of the characters
    on Mars and in orbit and the Earth element was just a distraction to me.

    For me, Mars was just what I was looking for in the Grand Tour series of
    books from Ben Bova. I am going to read the next title in the recommended
    sequence, Moon Rise and can see that the author pays a return visit to Mars a
    little further on in the series which I very much look forward to reading.

    If you like the sense of wonder and exploration of alien worlds from your
    science-fiction then I think you'll get a lot from this story. I have to say
    that having just read it that I really hope to see humans visit the red
    planet within my lifetime as this would be such a thrill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    Andy Hurley Cambridge, UK 17/02/2014
    Andy Hurley Cambridge, UK 17/02/2014 Member Since 2011
    "Good story if a bit dated"
    What made the experience of listening to Mars the most enjoyable?

    The escapism and realism of the story was totally engaging.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Imagining a real world incredible journey was deeply satisfying.

    What three words best describe Stefan Rudnicki’s performance?

    Deep, rattling, painful.

    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was saddened by the missed opportunities that this book highlights.

    Any additional comments?

    Stefan's performance was well done but it needed some post production as his voice is so deep and rattling that I found it actually painful to listen to at any volume, maybe bring him up an octave or compress the range a little? Strangely the parts that had been re-recorded were very obvious because they were at a much more compressed and comfortable level.

    The story shows it's age in a few places with technology in particular which makes it all the more remarkable that it imagines something that is still very much in the future despite being based on technology that existed 20 years ago.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    michael l williams 22/02/2015 Member Since 2013
    If you could sum up Mars in three words, what would they be?

    introduction to mars

    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Not a scene but relationships of characters within series.

    Any additional comments?

    The three books can be re listened to, discovering new aspects to the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Ben
    Brisbane, Australia
    "Solid Near Future Sci-Fi"

    This is a solid science fiction title set in a slightly dated near future. Ben Bova has written an interesting story about the first human expedition to Mars that I found quite engaging and addictive. Some of the story elements are now dated (eg. Floppy disks, battlestar galactica approach) but nonetheless the story holds up as realistic and for me, at least, exciting.

    I had previously read the title in hardcopy prior to 'reading' it on audible and I think I appreciated it more evenly - throughout the entire book - the second time around. I attribute that to the format - you can not easily scan or skip ahead in an audiobook - but also to the narration of Stefan Rudnicki who kept it interesting. Stefan manages to deal with the many accents passably or at least better than I could.

    A very nice read!

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Old Hippy
    "Slow, but nicely written and narrated"

    This tale unfolds slowly, but it's engaging and well-told. Clearly intended as part of a series - which I don't often care for - it nonetheless manages to stand on its own. The characters are carefully unfolded and come to life under Rudnicki's outstanding narration. (I don't think they come better than Rudnicki.) Bova doesn't follow the usual formula leading to an ending where everything blows up. If fast-paced, hard-hitting action is what you're looking for - and there's certainly a place for that - you likely won't like this one. If a well-told, good story is your interest, this won't let you down. I will read this next one.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Lexington, KY, USA

    I am pleasantly surprised as to the entertainment that Mars has given me. It does seem to be a bit heavy on politics and not enough 'Tars Tarkas.' But what I really enjoyed was the quality of the reader. Stefan Rudnicki did an excellent job in his reading. He was the right voice for this Book. I am looking forward to listening to more about this venture and other audiobooks by Stefan.


    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Peabody, MA, United States
    "Not bad. Ending was very anti-climatic"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The ending was very anti-climatic

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A bit more action

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not re

    If this book were a movie would you go see it?


    Any additional comments?

    A bit slow. Ending was very poor.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Luis
    Miami, Fl, United States
    "enjoyable read"

    The book was a good listen. The narrator did a good job. As someone said in a previous review it was dated but not for the techology only but for the attitudes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    SEATTLE, WA, United States
    "Try to keep that sand outside of the capsule, OK?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Definitely. The performance by Stefan is outstanding ( as always ) and the characters are drawn well, with enough nuance, and complexity, to be real enough that the reader cares about them, however they feel about them. In general, enough complexity in subject matter, with action and mystery, to attract, and retain, attention.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Ben Bova? Why or why not?

    Yes. I am a fan, and will wade through most of them, eventually.

    What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nuanced, intelligent activation of the characters, as written. Stefan seems to have a unique relationship with Bova's stye and pacing, and the 2 of them are a powerful team.

    Did Mars inspire you to do anything?

    Yes! I recently had a telescope repaired by a friend, and I dragged it out to the back deck ( in Ballard, Seattle, WA ) and checked out the Red Planet. Could see Phobos clearly!

    Any additional comments?

    A grand component, with flaws of course, to the Solar System series. Well worth the effort.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Terrance Hanna
    "Very good story. Reveals the mind of Bova"

    I have been reading Ben Bova books for years and have most all of his audible books here. Mars is one of his best stories and Stefan Rudnicki is very good in his delivery. However, I don’t understand why Egypt and Argentina are represented as significant space powers here in the book. The one quandary is after all these years I have come to the conclusion Ben doesn’t like a great number of things. He doesn’t like the news media, politicians, government or people with power. His representation of the news media is negative as are the people in government and politics. They are usually the protagonists. People in his books are constantly planning silly and selfish subterfuge and act very impulsively like children do sometimes. Come on Ben, Dan Brown has that style mastered. The story is good enough to out weight all of this though. Listen to it and just enjoy it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jean
    Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada
    "Peaks the Interest"

    Listening to the 1st in this series got me hooked and wanting to find out more. Our Navajo hero is at times predictable and hormone centric but the premise was good and the story interesting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Victor
    Sacramento, CA, USA

    Ben bova does a good job entertaining the reader and listener with story. I found the racial intolerance a bit exagerated and the profanity totally unnecessary. I know people use this type of language in real life but this is not about real life. Otherwise it is a very good listen. The science was good and the little insights into how the media works and the native american folklore was worthwhile.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Colin
    "great, strange Indian things - and a bit dated"

    there are some things that make this book seem dated and some are that they mention that they have to change the "film" in a camera and that it is better to use a new camera so as not to expose the film to the environment on mars - another is the "tape" in a video camera, which video cameras have tapes but like the "film" camera it would be digital on an internal storage and maybe some kinda flash or crystal storage thingie (NASA uses digital cameras all the time probably before 1992 when this was written)

    also there is strange parts about Indians, American Indians that is and there culture which makes the book seem strange at times but it only lasts a couple of scenes

    there isnt much detail describing the size of things like the habitat they are living in on Mars and how big the rovers are or even exactly what they look like (they do describe the shape of it but its not much and could be describing a rock or something)

    I plan to read the other books that follow this and I hope for the same quality with them as I got with this one

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.


Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.