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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
When zillionaire entrepreneur Roger Haines acquired a piece of land that had a crystal cavern, it quickly became the essential factor in cementing the success of the Mariner Twenty Project; the first human mission to Mars. The task is to develop the first base for an eventual human colony. Six astronauts of various backgrounds and specialties carry on the mission as best as they can according to plan but the red planet has surprises waiting to be discovered. Whilst the world watches the mission unfold, one of the surprises will force Mission Control back on Earth to make an important decision that will decide the future of the human species. Mariner Twenty is a contemporary sci-fi novel by G.D. Harrison.
No doubt inspired by NASA's missions to Mars, Mariner Twenty is a realistic glimpse of the future missions that could be done involving the red planet. I remember reading about Mariner 9 as a child, the robotic space probe that was "the first orbiter of Mars". Should a manned mission be realized, I imagine the euphoric feeling of success will mirror the one narrated in the story. The plot pace is steady; the drama partly comes from the press conferences as few journalists ask hard questions, particularly one who tries to play the 'possible threat' argument when an incident happens to the Mars crew. Even though this is fiction, the story has a solid pragmatic sense of what could happen. As we follow the Perseverance rover that continues to make substantial progress on the surface of Mars, this is quite a read from G.D. Harrison.