Finches of Mars

Finches of Mars

by Brian Aldiss
Colonists on Mars fight to prevent their own extinction in “a suspenseful genre-bending combination of straight SF and mystery” (Booklist, starred review).

Doomed by overpopulation, irreversible environmental degradation, and never-ending war, Earth has become a fetid swamp. For many, Mars represents humankind’s last hope. In six tightly clustered towers on the red planet’s surface, the colonists who have escaped their dying home world are attempting to make a new life unencumbered by the corrupting influences of politics, art, and religion. Unable ever to return, these pioneers have chosen an unalterable path that winds through a landscape as terrible as it is beautiful, often forcing them to compromise their beliefs—and sometimes their humanity—in order to survive.

But the gravest threat to the future is not the settlement’s total dependence on foodstuffs sent from a distant and increasingly uncaring Earth, or the events that occur in the aftermath of the miraculous discovery of native life on Mars—it is the fact that in the ten years since colonization began, every new human baby has been born dead, or so tragically deformed that death comes within hours.

The great Brian W. Aldiss has delivered a dark and provocative yet ultimately hopeful magnum opus rich in imagination and bold ideas. A novel of philosophy as much as science fiction, Finches of Mars is an exploration of intellectual history, evolution, technology, and the future by one of speculative fiction’s undisputed masters.

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