A City on Mars

Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through?

Hardcover, 448 pages

Published Nov. 7, 2023

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5 stars (3 reviews)

Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away - no climate change, no war, no Twitter - beckons, and settling the stars finally seems within our grasp. Or is it? Bestselling authors Kelly and Zach Weinersmith set out to write the essential guide to a glorious future of space settlements, but after years of original research, and interviews with leading space scientists, engineers and legal experts, they aren't so sure it's a good idea. Space tech and space business are progressing fast, but we lack the deep knowledge needed to have space-kids, build space-farms and create space nations in a way that doesn't spark conflict back home. In a world hurtling toward human expansion into space, A City on Mars investigates whether the dream of new worlds won't create a nightmare, both for settlers and the people they leave behind.

With deep expertise, a …

3 editions

Clear-eyed, humane, and deeply considered overview of space settlement science and fantasy, from Kelly and @ZachWeinersmith@mastodon.social

5 stars

This is a careful, immensely well-informed, and persuasively comprehensive examination of the domain of settlements in space.

Kind of spoiler alert (but not really): They are not optimistic, certainly not in the short- or even medium-term. What the book does is share the reasons for their stance. And while there is a certain accuracy to the term 'disillusionment' here, in that they started the project optimistic and wanted to provide a popular introduction to how it will all be achieved, the end result is not a 'downer'.

What the authors get across - I think implicitly, but they also take time at various points to be very explicit about it - is that they love the science. They enjoy not the power fantasies of "Wild West in Spaaaaaaace!!" but the complexity, intricacies and crazy dynamics of life, and just as importantly living; being human in space, and on other …

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4 stars
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5 stars


  • Nonfiction
  • Science
  • Space
  • Technology
  • Politics
  • Sociology