Retrograde by Peter Cawdron (Mars Endeavour #1)

Publication Information : Published September 12, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. First publication September 8, 2016. I read the Kindle edition through my Kindle Unlimited membership. Other editions available.

Summary: An international group of scientists is stationed on Mars. They live underground in four separate pods with a central skylight domed hub. Each of them has a specialty, although some specialties, such as medical, are duplicated for the safety of the group.

Late one night while drinking and playing a game in the Chinese pod, their leader screams at the two visiting Americans and shoves them back toward their area, locking theme out. When they get inside the American pod, they are informed that nuclear bombs have dropped on several major world cities. They quickly realize that their situation will become precarious when supplies dwindle without support from Earth.

The short communications with earth are full of disinformation and propaganda. Then everything falls completely silent. Some of the scientists realize they will have to overcome national allegiances and get everyone to cooperate if they are to survive. Others steal and stockpile valuable resources. They don’t start to fully cooperate with each other until a serious incident makes them realize that the war isn’t just happening on Earth: it is also endangering them on Mars.

Comments: Reading Retrograde brought me back to my childhood, when I read the Hard Sci-Fi books of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein. Back in the 60’s and 70’s Mars was still full of unknown potential and fanciful tales about the red planet were in print and film. While there are no longer stories written about little green men on Mars, the dreams of exploration still abound in science and story.

I admit I skimmed over the science facts, but the fact that they were there was enough to ground the novel for me. From the author’s descriptions, I was able to clearly visualize the colony, the landscape and environment. There was more than enough action to keep the story moving. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Reentry.

Recommended for readers of Hard Science-Fiction and those with an interest in novels about Mars and Planetary Exploration.

Graphic inspired by Retrograde (The Brown Bookloft)

My Rating: 4 STARS

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