Review Blog

Jun 27 2019

The ghosts of Mars by Ian Napier

cover image

Pegagus Publishers, 2019. ISBN: 9781784654528.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: STEM, Space travel, Mars, Science fiction. When David arrives in San Francisco after his father moves from Australia to take up a post at Silicon Valley, he links up with a friend he met while at a NASA camp during the previous summer break, Sierra. She and David are space fanatics, so for David to come from Australia to the camp was impressive. That they hooked up made their time at the camp even better. But now in San Francisco, their interest is rewarded, when the heads of department at NASA come to call.
It seems a door has been found on Mars, an actual door, and it must be investigated. But NASA is ten years away from suspended animation for long distance space travel, and an imperative has been added to the mission to Mars; a meteor is headed its way. The only successful suspended animation trials have been conducted on children, so David and Sierra are asked to volunteer.
The premise on which this science fiction tale is based is luminous - it is so believable, made more so by the writing which oozes with an infusion of background knowledge. Napier's career in space makes his setting more than credible: the words, descriptions and scientific language are easily digested, the position the two are in seems like something that could happen, the voyage they take seems almost possible. Readers will love moving about in this engrossing science fiction story aimed at teens.
The city the teens find on Mars rivals many of the CGI inspired cities of recent films and the written word brings them to life.
With nods to 2001, a space odyssey, The terminator and Star trek amongst others along with a splash of The chariots of the gods (Erich von Daniken) thrown in to stir the pot, this is a rich read of science fiction and I hope a second outing for David and Sierra is in the air.
Fran Knight

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