Marsbound, by Joe Haldeman


Orthodox Herbertarian

Carmen Dula can't decide if she is lucky or unlucky. Her family has just won a coveted lottery award: The right to emigrate to Mars. But at nineteen years old, and a member of the first group of colonists to include children of any age, her social prospects are pretty dim. Haldeman starts us off with a very typical Heinleinian juvenile/Y.A. adventure story about a young woman who is thrust into an alien environment before she can learn for herself what it means to be adult. At nineteen years old with no serious responsibilities in the Martian base, she does not seem to be in much of a hurry to figure it all out. But things change quickly for Carmen when fate, or something else, forces her to make some serious choices quickly. While EVA one afternoon Carmen falls and breaks her leg seriously. Unable to communicate with home base and with her suit heaters broken, Carmen is rescued by an alien creature, an eight-limbed centaur-like beast with red coloration whom she later christens "Red." Saved from certain death and returned against her will to her home base, Carmen develops a Martian fungus in her lungs that risks her life, and spreads to other children in the base. She travels to Red's city and asks for help, and succeeds in bringing humans into first contact with an intelligent alien race...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..