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Ares Express

Ian McDonald

332 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-197-4
Trade Paperback (6" x 9") • $17
April 2010
Cover Illustration: © Stephan Martiniere

A Mars of the imagination, like no other, in a colorful, witty SF novel, taking place in the kaleidoscopic future of Ian McDonald's Desolation Road, Ares Express is set on a terraformed Mars where fusion-powered locomotives run along the network of rails that is the planet's circulatory system and artificial intelligences reconfigure reality billions of times each second. One young woman, Sweetness Octave Glorious-Honeybun Asiim 12th, becomes the person upon whom the future—or futures—of Mars depends. Big, picaresque, funny; taking the Mars of Ray Bradbury and the more recent, terraformed Marses of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Bear, Ares Express is a wild and woolly magic-realist SF novel, featuring lots of bizarre philosophies, strange, mind-stretching ideas, and trains as big as city blocks.


Praise for IAN McDONALD

" of the most interesting and accomplished science fiction writers of this latter-day era. Indeed, maybe the most interesting and accomplished."

"McDonald deserves to be going up against most of the world's top fiction writers, period."
—Amazon's Bookstore Blog

Praise for Ares Express

"Usually, when someone writes in a style far outside of what I am used to, and my tastes and vocabulary are wide and eclectic, I'm not terribly enamored of the book... Ares Express uses language so far outside of my comfort range I often had to stop and reread a sentence to understand what it meant—and I loved it. McDonald is clever, lyrical (I can't believe I'm using that adjective), snarky, and utterly wondrous. The characters would be completely unbelievable in our world, but in theirs they are inevitable... I have a book by McDonald on my floor and I'm going to read it tomorrow, and then I'm going to go find the prequel to this book and read that too, and then see what else he's written. Thank you! 4.5/5"
—Night Owl Reviews

"Hugo-winner McDonald's virtues have long been underappreciated by major North American publishers... McDonald's fantastic Mars is vividly detailed and owes much to Bradbury's Martian stories. Despite a bit of hand waving around technology that is glibly indistinguishable from magic, this sequel is entirely worthy of its rightly lauded predecessor [Desolation Road]."
—Publishers Weekly

"One of the strangest, weirdest, fantastic reads of your life."
—SF Crowsnest

"Ares Express is a long, adventure-filled, extravagantly colorful, often funny, quite moving, highly imaginative, excellently written story, set on a glorious Mars built partly of sharp-edged Kim Stanley Robinson-style extrapolation, but mostly of lush, loving, Ray Bradbury-style semi-SF, semi-Fantasy, Martian dreams.... I loved it wholeheartedly."
—SF Site

Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald is the author of many science fiction novels, including Brasyl, River of Gods, Cyberabad Days, Desolation Road, King of Morning, Queen of Day, Out on Blue Six, Chaga, and Kirinya. He has won the Philip K. Dick Award, the BSFA Award, and a Hugo Award, and has been nominated for the Nebula Award and a Quill Book Award, and has several nominations for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Visit Ian McDonald online at