“A City on Mars”. Book review.


To take a break from Sci-Fi, yet still stay in the realm of extraterrestrial topics, I recently delved into "A City on Mars" by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith.

Kelly is a biologist, specifically a parasitologist, and has discovered a new species of wasp.

Zach, on the other hand, makes a living from drawing comics. He had plans towards physics or biology at some point, but it turned out that shits and giggles pay better.

Both are enthusiasts of all types of sciences, especially those related to the migration of Homo Sapiens beyond Earth. Over the last four years, they diligently gathered scientific materials about our space travels, amassing well over 30 shelves' worth.

An imprecise unit of measure, but still impressive.

Then they compressed these four years into one book, just under 440 pages.

The book belongs to the pop-science genre, so even a dumbass like me could grasp most of the presented topics. An additional positive is Zach's quite unique sense of humour, which he uses to generously spice up the text. There are also many (mostly quite funny) drawings. Overall, the book is smoothly digestible.

To the Authors' surprise, while they initially intended to write something encouraging extraterrestrial travel, by the end it turned out that...

--------------------- SPOILER ALERT ----------------------

... as a civilization, we are still too underdeveloped to venture into the stars. Heck, we shouldn't even be settling on the Moon yet, let alone Mars.

The book is divided into several thematic chapters, roughly covering biology, technology, economics, and law. From a biological standpoint, things look bleak; we haven't conducted a single animal experiment observing a full cycle from conception to reproductive age, not to mention multi-generational experiments. Will children born off-Earth ever be able to return? Will reproducing on Mars (or the Moon) in different gravity lead to species degeneration? Or the emergence of a new species? Technologically, we are still in our infancy. And so on. I don't want to recount the entire book here, but it's a read worth delving into, even just to deepen knowledge on niche topics like the legalities behind the remains of the poop that Aldrin and Armstrong left on the Moon for eternity.

To avoid painting too rosy a picture, in my opinion, the end of the book is a bit too stretched out. Too many paragraphs, too little "meat". But overall, this is a very minor "flaw" and I'm sure many readers will actually like this part.

In conclusion: "A City on Mars" is a solid dose of science that, in my opinion, everyone even slightly interested in the topic of extraterrestrial settlement should read. Highly recommended.

My personal rating: around 9.5 / 10.


Leave a Comment

Komentarze mile widziane.

Jeżeli chcesz do komentarza wstawić kod, użyj składni:
tutaj wstaw swój kod

Jeżeli zrobisz literówkę lub zmienisz zdanie, możesz edytować komentarz po jego zatwierdzeniu.