If you are looking for a novella trilogy consisting of strong drama, procedural aspects, and politics intrigue, “The Red Planet Trilogy” may be a book for you; pick up and have a listen. It is authored by William Graham with the Audible edition narrated by Richard Wilson. However, if you are looking for a deep and complex science fiction story with pages full of cool gadgets, unique gizmos, and evil aliens, this is not book you are looking for. Not to say the book is written poorly, not at all, it is simply to let the buyer be aware that the book is classified on Audible in the SciFi genre, but I believe it would better be placed in a drama or mystery categories. Many of the complexities of space travel, colonization of other planets, and additional aspects often found in complex science fiction stories are not found in this set of novellas.
Although the three stories are different, the characters and locations are intertwined across them giving the reader a unique perspective than if you had only read one or two of them. The book opens in the near future and reveals a rather shocking tragedy that caused mankind to seek a better place to live than on Earth. A corporation is established given the task of interplanetary colonization of both Mars and the Earth’s moon. We learn that because of rising ocean elevations many of the Earth’s population must seek higher ground if they remain on the planet. Because of this, there is a strain on the current population around available critical resources including both land and water. The story moved next to being on Mars where one of our characters has escaped to get away from things. Lastly, we come on the scene of a murder that needs to be solved in the last novella.
The book is overall short, having only 155 pages and just over four hours of audio, but the amount of detail the author packs in to its pages makes the book feel much bigger. I liked the way the characters were developed and the descriptive nature of the author’s writing style. It made picturing the scene much easier for me. I also found the shorter chapters to be something that allowed me to pick up and put down the book as frequently as I liked without much disruption. I do have to say that the book contains a limited number of vulgar words used across the three novellas and there is some discussion involving both sexual content along with some graphic violence and alcohol use. Again, these are not over the top, but I did want to make sure both parents or younger readers knew what to expect while listening or reading this book.
I liked that the author included some of the details of the space travel experience itself when journeying between Earth and Mars. Such transportation reminded me more of what you would come to expect from a Titanic voyage. There were those who paid for first-class and received rooms with a view, while the majority of travelers would be crammed into third-class steerage that reminded me more of people packed in to a semi-truck trailer for a few months without a view until they landed on the red planet. You quickly begin to build a love/hate relationship towards the corporation and what it has become.
I did not have any major issues with the audiobook’s narration done by Richard Wilson. I would have liked the book to have been read a bit faster, but this can easily be adjusted using the Audible application. However, there were a few places where a swallow or slight background noise was not edited out. I also heard what appears to have been an edit to the audio in chapter 35 (Audible) where you can tell it was added/plugged after the initial recording. Nothing that would prevent me from listening to the book, but for those who want all their books to be of the highest quality; this one has a few slight blemishes.
In summary, if you are looking for a quick read where the three short stories are blended together and it is more a drama than science fiction per se, I would recommend you pick up the book. Instead, if you are a person who like deep space operas with big battles and villains, you may want to look elsewhere.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.