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Marsbound, #3

Carmen Dula and her husband, Paul, know Mars – and the Martians. They also happen to know the mysterious Others, alien species who have some kind of control over what happens to Earth. For this reason, the two of them are at somewhat of an advantage when they return to Earth from Mars, only to find that the Moon has been blown up and the power on Earth has been shut off. They team up with friends and Carmen’s brother, Card, and struggle through a post-Apocalyptic Earth set well past the year 2060, where everything is in chaos, the world they once knew is gone and what’s left of the human race will never be the same again.

Earthbound by award-winning sci-fi author Joe Haldeman is the third book in his series. Newcomers to this series, and I am one of them, will be brought up to speed through Carmen sharing her and Paul’s history with Alba, a woman on Earth who was once a security guard and who ends up joining their team.

Because Earth is without power – then with power then without power again – no one takes any chances in being able to live to see another day. Everyone is suddenly a survivalist, stocking up on food, weapons, ammunition and medical needs before who knows what awaits them around the corner. It seems that these characters have savages and enemies everywhere they go, constantly fighting from one location to the next. They end up at a “Fruit Farm” in Northern California, where the “farmers” welcome them and allow them access to a bed to sleep on and food to eat. Still, they know they can’t rest easy yet; they must figure out how to survive long-term and where they can get extra supplies, as needed.

Reading this novel was more like reading a post-Apocalyptic story than a science fiction one. Sure, the characters interacted with aliens, there are Martians in the story and some of the futuristic technology is enough to remind the reader that this is science fiction, but a big part of this story is a test to see how the characters, the humans, survive once the planet is no longer as habitable as it used to be.

Earthbound is an enjoyable story filled with action and surprise. I found it to be a book that was hard to put down as I wanted to know how the characters would ultimately survive and what would happen to them in the end. It’s a good book and definitely a novel that should be in every science fiction library.

Book Blurb for Earthbound

"One of science fiction's most reliable practitioners" (San Francisco Chronicle) continues his saga of space exploration.

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth's fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2012 4.50