Cover image for Mars crossing
Mars crossing
Landis, Geoffrey.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York: Tor, 2000.
Physical Description:
330 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



In the fourth decade of the twenty-first century, humans have been to Mars twicebut neither expedition successfully returned. Now, with worldwide interest in manned Mars exploration on the wane, a third expedition has made it by eking out resources from a combination of public and private sponsorship. But from the moment of their landing, everything begins to go wrong. The astronauts only hope of survival lies in trekking halfway across the surface of Mars itself a journey to the limits of human endurance.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 2028 a joint NASA-private venture hopes to be third to land on and first to return safely from Mars. (The first crew died from air contamination, the second from fungus infections derived from athlete's foot.) The narrative switches back and forth from the problem facing the expedition--how to get from the landing site to the only still functioning return module on Mars, 3,000 miles away--to the personal histories of the mixed-gender, multiethnic cast. Landis balances characterization and hardware better than usual for this kind of space-exploration yarn, and the losses of sympathetic characters have genuine impact, while depictions of the grim, challenging Martian environment and the recalcitrance of hardware are knowledgeably done, which, given that Landis is a working NASA engineer, isn't surprising. Readers old enough to remember 1950s sf may think they've read the book before, and it is a virtually archetypal planetary exploration tale. But it is thoroughly competently executed, so it should draw the hard-core space-advocacy and Mars readerships and please plenty of others, as well. Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Alien meets And Then There Were None in this first novel, a fast-paced story of survival and treachery, by Landis, a Hugo and Nebula award winner for his short fiction. In the year 2028, the crew of the Don Quijote are stranded on Mars when a technical mishap occurs, dooming their ship. Five of them set out for an abandoned Brazilian ship, which is at the north poleÄhalf the planet away. But owing to body weight, only three will be able to return home on that ship. Their journey across the harsh Martian landscape in rough-terrain vehicles is fraught with dangerÄsome topographical, some created: it quickly becomes evident someone is determined to kill the others in order to return to Earth. Unlike many hard SF writers, Landis hasn't forgotten the human element: there's the obligatory sex scene, viewed as a rite of passage abroad ship (and consummated in a weightless environment), and a satisfying, albeit unexpected, denouement that's psychological rather than technological. Though the crew members are basically variations on stock typesÄthe stern commander, the weak teenager, the proud black woman, etc.Äwithin these limits the effort is reasonably successful. Make no mistake: it's still hard SF, with a fine overlay of techno-lingo ("The cable was made of a superfiber called Spectra 10K. It consisted of a thread of buckminsterfullerine nanotubes woven in a matrix of polyethylene"), but with the mystery structure and liberal dollops of suspense, it should please SF fans of all persuasions. (Dec. 18) Forecast: Landis is not only a respected SF writer (who's won both the Hugo and the Nebula) but a world-class scientist, holder of a NASA fellowship. Booksellers who emphasize both his qualifications for writing this near-future Mars novel should find the title missing from their shelves. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After two expeditions to Mars end in disaster, a third mission sets forth determined to become the first group to return from the Red Planet. Almost immediately after it lands, however, disaster strikes, forcing the small group of astronauts to undertake a trek across the harsh surface of the unforgiving planet. Landis's first novel (his short stories have won Nebula and Hugo awards) captures the tension of the best survival fiction without neglecting the personalities of his characters. A timely addition to most sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.