Friday, December 1, 2017

The Empress of Mars (The Company #8.5), by Kage Baker (author), Nicola Barber (narrator)

Audible Frontiers, August 2011 (original publication 2009)

Mary Griffith went to Mars as a biologist for the British Aerean Company, but when BAC pulled back from a full on push to terraform and colonize, she found herself out of work. Unfortunately, her severance package was only about half what she needed to cover a trip back to Earth.

So she opened a bar, The Empress of Mars.

The beer isn't great, but it's not just the best beer on Mars, but the only beer on Mars. She and her three daughters, along with a collection of similarly displaced people, earn a decent living running the bar--despite repeated challenges and efforts to shut them down for selling a "controlled substance," i.e., the beer.

This is a very episodic book. I haven't check its history, but it feels a lot like a fix-up, built out of related short stories. Regardless, it's a fun book, with good characters that are fun to get to know. Heroes, villains, eccentric geniuses, corrupt corporate villains, frontier settlers with loose ethics that will be familiar to anyone familiar with westerns, in a book built around the colonization of a cold, dry planet with very thin atmosphere.

Lots of fun. Read it, or listen to it.

I bought this audiobook.