Perhaps it’s the current political climate or the fact that I’m starting another whirlwind buying season (I ordered a book for January 2009 last week), but I really just want to bury my head in a book. That’s why I picked up Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson the other day. It’s the first in a trilogy about colonizing Mars. I thought it would be a fun romp on another planet but it turned out to be quite serious—in a good way. In the early 21st century, the first 100 people are sent to Mars to make way for more people to follow. Factions form as they try to figure out how to treat Mars. Things on Earth get pretty nasty and the various powers look at Mars as nothing more than a source for cash. The book begins with an assassination, then moves backward to explain the cause, and then moves past it. With good characters (well-written I mean. Some are not very nice at all), and great descriptions of the politics and environment, this is a great beginning. I already started reading the second book Green Mars on my lunch break.