Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

For your consideration: Red Planet Blues

by Rob - January 15th, 2014.
Filed under: Awards, Red Planet Blues.

Award-nominating season is upon us, and so allow me to share some of the praise for my 2013 novel Red Planet Blues (published Ace Science Fiction in the US and Viking in Canada):

Red Planet Blues is a perfectly executed gem of a book. Sawyer sets a classic work of noir against a Buck Rogers backdrop without ever hitting a sour note. A gorgeous and engaging read.” —Mystery writer Linda L. Richards, bestselling author of Death was the Other Woman

“A cause for celebration; a tour de force.

“This is Robert J. Sawyer, so you know it’s a well-written, intelligent story with some unexpected twists. Red Planet Blues isn’t just a mystery story with science fiction trappings, it’s a fusion of the two genres in which the mystery depends on the SF elements. Definitely worth reading.” —Don Sakers in Analog Science Fiction and Fact

“A Robert J. Sawyer novel guarantees a provocative scenario bursting with questions in every direction. Red Planet Blues delivers a mother lode of them.

“To science-fiction fans, it’s obvious that Sawyer’s work is SF. Its attention to scientific detail and plausibility allows it to benefit from the Vonnegut gambit: major book sales to non-SF or SF-hostile readers by hiding its SF-ness in plain sight. This krypto-SF approach has helped Sawyer to become one of Canada’s most successful authors in terms of sales, reader acclaim, awards and reach.” —Minister Faust in VUE Weekly (Edmonton, Alberta)

“Sawyer had done his homework about Mars … an interesting take on what a colony based on a `Great Fossil Rush’ to Mars could be like.

“The novel is chock full of references based on science fiction stories and old movies, and I am sure I did not catch all of them. Perhaps my favorite was that the local watering establishment, where water ice is more expensive than dry ice, is aptly called Bar Soom as a nod to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ name for Mars.

“I found Red Planet Blues a great merger of science fiction with the old style detective genre, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
National Space Society

“My praise is about to get effusive, so settle in peoples. Two of my favourite cinematic genres are film noir and science-fiction, combine them in a novel and you can understand my enthusiasm. Referencing classic films like Casablanca, the gumshoe protagonist gives out a world weary Humphrey Bogart feel and the human transfers are reminiscent of the neo-noir Blade Runner. While Sawyer draws on these popular references, he also elevates them, transforming them into a compelling and original story with his `unputdownable’ touch.

“5 out of 5 — get me on a shuttle to Mars along with requisite hot new transfer body!” —Kristine Upton in Fictional Fix

Red Planet Blues resurrects the noir mystery, the gold-rush western, and the science-fiction adventure and the result is a unique, fun story that keeps you guessing, keeps the pages turning, and manages to put a smile on your face every few pages, in spite of the pulse-pumping action and adventure.” —Jamie Todd Rubin in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

“There’s always been an exuberance to Robert J. Sawyer’s writing, and reading Red Planet Blues one can’t miss the feeling that he’s having a lot of fun with a story featuring whiplash plot twists, lethal babes, superhuman `transfers’ who have had their minds uploaded to robotic bodies, greedy prospectors, and even a writer-in-residence who doubles as a femme fatale. Red Planet Blues delivers a pulp buffet of strange things done ‘neath the Martian sun.” —Alex Good in The Toronto Star

“Sawyer has an absolute ball playing with the mystery form. The result is a lively love poem to the mystery genre that is terrific fun.” Adam-Troy Castro in Sci Fi Magazine (Syfy Channel)

“How interesting it is to see how well the mystery genre blends with science fiction and builds successfully on the differences. Mars comes to rich life in Sawyer’s hands. This is a complex, imaginative story firmly based on Earth’s red neighbour and its unique circumstances — and its own brand of murder.” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

“Lomax is more layered than your standard-issue private eye, and whether you read it as a science fiction story with a good mystery inside or as a pulp mystery with a science fiction setting, Red Planet Blues is a rollicking read, at turns funny, exciting and full of twists and turns.” C.A. Bridges in The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Red Planet Blues rocks! This is the best book I’ve read for months! Maybe years! What’s not to love? The mystery involved so many reversals and plot twists which I totally didn’t see coming that it kept me guessing throughout.” Ann Wilkes in Science Fiction and other ODDysseys

Red Planet Blues combines all the twists and turns of a classic noir adventure with all the hard science goodness of Sawyer’s previous work.” —Science Fiction writer James Alan Gardner, finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards

“The type of book codified perfectly by Isaac Asimov in his The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun is rare indeed, hard to bring off since the writer must obey and honor two sets of genre expectations at once. Robert Sawyer’s newest novel — incorporating and expanding his well-received novella `Identity Theft’ — joins these ranks with zest and enthusiasm, providing a ride both criminal and stefnal.

Red Planet Blues should sit on the shelf right next to David Brin’s thematically and topically allied Kiln People, as an example of how to hit two targets with one shot.” —Paul Di Filippo in Locus Online

“In Red Planet Blues Sawyer has imagined, and written, his best book yet.” —Mystery writer Eric Wright, four-time winner of Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel of the Year

“A wonderful Raymond Chandler-meets-Ray Bradbury vibe permeates Red Planet Blues. Sawyer’s Mars is as realistically realized as his settings always are; no one creates a plausible near-future quite like he does. There’s a richness of detail — particularly in the descriptions of New Klondike — that is particularly engaging. From the shady dive bars to the spaceships to the sweeping Martian plains, Sawyer paints a vivid picture.

“But it’s his creation of Alex Lomax where Sawyer really shines: a hard-boiled noir detective on Mars — the sort of character a guy like Sawyer was born to write.

Red Planet Blues is an excellent detective novel that just happens to take place on another planet. It’s a genre mash-up that might have felt gimmicky in less capable hands; however, with Sawyer at the helm, it succeeds beautifully. A ripping good read.” —Allen Adams in The Maine Edge (Bangor, Maine)

“I flew through the book, unable to put it down, and completely hooked. Red Planet Blues is equal parts Philip Marlowe as played by Bogart, the film Blade Runner, and The Martian Chronicles. All the traditional trappings one would expect to find in a film-noir are present, but twisted ever so slightly to the lessened gravity and the thin and dangerous atmosphere.” —TD Ridout on The Mind Reels

“Sawyer’s new book is more gripping than a pair of pliers.” —SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak

“In Red Planet Blues Sawyer has found a highly original and fun way to pay homage to the great hard boiled detectives of the past. Mars, like the sun-kissed streets of Los Angeles Philip Marlow once patrolled, may sound like it’s an exotic location, but underneath the glamor of being on another planet there’s just as many dark and dangerous secrets as anywhere else. You’ll have a lot of fun wandering the mean streets of New Klondike and over the surface of the Red Planet with P.I. Lomax, and he might even give you a few things to think about.” —Richard Marcus in Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Combining hardboiled noir detective, the Wild West, and classic Martian pulp into a singularly potent cocktail, then spiking it with the big ideas that made the WWW Trilogy, Triggers and FlashForward unmissable landmarks of contemporary SF, Robert J. Sawyer serves up frontier justice in Red Planet Blues. It’s a two-fisted tale of greed, murder and alien paleontology — straight, no chaser!” Science Fiction Book Club

Red Planet Blues: Take equal parts Raymond Chandler’s noir detective novels, Robert Service’s poetry of the Yukon gold rush, and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, add a generous splash of The Road to Utopia, shake it all up in Rob Sawyer’s noggin and chill in the Yukon for a few months. Decant onto pulp paper, and knock the concoction back like cold Sarsaparilla in a dirty glass.” —Ernest Lilley in SFRevu

“Riveting reading. Sawyer has done a great job in creating a concrete, believable world and some strong characters. Science fiction readers will not be disappointed; noir crime readers will not be disappointed; and where the twain shall meet shall be one very satisfied reader.”Bookbanter

“SciFi noir at its best! A superb romp on the red planet. Sawyer’s delightful combination of action and humor make this suspenseful tale of crime on Mars one of my top reads this year.” The Qwillery

“Mystery and science fiction fans alike will enjoy this fast-paced adventure. Gritty and a bit dark, this thriller is a fun read with plenty of surprises along the way.” SciFi Chick

“Robert J. Sawyer is an absolute master of science fiction, and Red Planet Blues just adds more luster to his already towering reputation.” —Science Fiction writer Mike Resnick, Hugo Award-winning author of The Buntline Special

Red Planet Blues is science fiction. But it’s also a fun mystery novel, one that’s replete with all the action readers would expect to find in a book from the crime fiction genre — the sexy women, the weapons, the greed, the chases, the friendly and surly cops. It’s got them all.

“In Red Planet Blues, Sawyer has successfully used his wealth of science-fiction lore to create an intriguing mystery novel, one that is bound to have readers hoping for more.” —Eugene McCarthy in Waterloo Record

Red Planet Blues is a total hoot. It’s funny more than once in a while, it’s a terrific page-turner, it moves faster than a rocket heading to Jupiter’s moons. Red Planet Blues is a humdinger of a read.” —Nick Martin in Winnipeg Free Press

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