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Book: "The Rivers of Mars"

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#1 Rick Woods

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

I've just finished a truly remarkable book titled "The Rivers of Mars - Searching for the Cosmic Origins of Life" by Piers Bizony (who I'd never heard of before this). The vintage is 1997; at the time of writing, the MGS and Pathfinder probes had just been launched.

This book is a real revelation. It starts with our first up-close views of Mars; then proceeds through the Viking landers and what they found, what was interpreted, what was right and wrong about it; then moves to the origins of life on Earth, and does some comparative planetology; covers the Mars meteorites; and looks at upcoming Mars investigations.

But he doesn't stop there. Panspermia, partial panspermia, the Drake equation, the Anthropic Principle, the limits and end of evolution - everything is covered, from all sides of the arguments. Bizony throws down the gauntlet, and dares you to consider everything from every angle. Mars is just a lengthy lead-in to bigger and bigger questions. It's like he opens a door, then explores everything inside the room, only to open another door into a larger room - over and over. Nothing is sacred - science, religion, dogma of any sort - all is challenged and explored.

Nowhere does he actually take a side in all of it. He isn't trying to convince the reader of anything. But he sure as hell makes you think about a lot of things! After reading this I felt as though my brain had been slapped around.

This was a completely unexpected gem, and now an important addition to my library. Pick up a copy, or get it from the library. It's not large - under 200 pages. I think you'll be glad you did.

#2 beatlejuice

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 01:55 AM

Thanks Rick, that sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I am looking for it as I type.

Eric

#3 cliff mygatt

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:20 AM

I just ordered a used copy from Amazon for $1. Thanks for the recommendation, Rick.

#4 rockethead26

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:57 AM

Thanks for the recommendation, Rick. Just ordered a copy, too.

#5 Crow Haven

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 06:44 PM

Thanks also, Rick. This sounds like a very enjoyable read which I'm looking forward to = just ordered a used copy from Amazon! :grin:

#6 Rick Woods

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:51 AM

Has anyone received their copy and read this yet? I'd love to know what you think of it!

#7 rockethead26

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:10 AM

Rick,
I'm about 60% through it and am enjoying it a lot. I agree with you in that I like the way he presents both sides of arguments and then leaves them alone without injecting his own biases. I've learned a lot so far and am looking forward to finishing the book. I was waiting to finish the book before commenting, but since you asked...

Thanks for the recommendation!

#8 cliff mygatt

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:45 AM

Rick, I have not started it yet, it is in my stack right below my current read "The Case for Mars" by Zubrin. I will let you know!

#9 Crow Haven

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:01 PM

I've received my copy along with several other Mars books, (I also have Zubrin's "The Case for Mars") a used copy of "To the End of Time" (where's the rest of the chapters to "Last and First Men" though???), and a used copy of "Watchers of the Skies" so I have just started on "The Rivers of Mars". I'm at the apatite in rocks part (and in our teeth!) and am really enjoying this book a great deal and learning a lot through it. Thanks for recommending this book! :grin:
---Maya

#10 Rick Woods

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:25 PM

I've received my copy along with several other Mars books, (I also have Zubrin's "The Case for Mars") a used copy of "To the End of Time" (where's the rest of the chapters to "Last and First Men" though



I know! Mine came the same way! I was *BLEEP*.
Luckily it's online in several places; here's one:

http://ebooks.adelai...edon/olaf/last/

I found a book discussion site that talked about it, and found a link (not this one, but a link is a link), and printed off the missing chapters.
I had another thread on Stapledon here, I think the other link is there.

Zubrin is one persuasive character.

#11 Rick Woods

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

I know! Mine came the same way! I was *BLEEP*.


OK, OK! I was angry, in a liquid format. How's that?

#12 Crow Haven

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:08 PM

:lol: Me too, I don't care for censorship! Many thanks for the link to the missing chapters!!! :grin:

Zubrin's books/ideas got me interested in the Mars Society years ago and I appreciate those efforts to discover ways to make human missions to Mars a reality some day. :grin:
Let's go!

#13 Rick Woods

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 01:48 PM

It seems that when a guy like Zubrin, who has a lot of *really* good ideas, goes on and on for long enough, people start to view him as quaint and eccentric, and stop listening to him, even though his ideas are as good as ever. I guess it's the same principle as ignoring something long enough and it will go away - it becomes background noise.

The same sort of thing - overexposure - has happened to global warming, alternative energy, and a lot of other stuff.

Edit: I really need to check my spelling better before hitting "submit".

#14 Crow Haven

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 02:27 PM

At least there still are those who haven't stopped listening... :grin:

There is, I agree, plenty of ignoring going on...and apparently a desire to suppress science findings. I'm very concerned with where that could lead.

#15 Rick Woods

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:27 PM

I dredged this thread back up just to see if many people ended up reading "The Rivers of Mars", and what you thought about it? I recall I was *very* impressed with it!

#16 Crow Haven

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:41 PM

I found this small book mind-opening right through to the last pages! It's become one of my favorites! It touches on so many topics of interest to me and is presented so clearly. Really a great read. Thanks for mentioning it, Rick. :grin:
---Maya

#17 cliff mygatt

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:00 AM

Rick,

Just finished "The Rivers of Mars" and found the book a facinating read with very cogent arguments, though the information is dated, 1997, the logic and historical reference and information about the Viking landers was excellent. Thanks for the recommendation. I just picked up a copy of Stever Squyre's book "Roving Mars" and looking forward to the read, I guess I have Mars on the mind and in fact the introduction to "Rivers of Mars" mentioned Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series which I have never read so picked up all the books on Nook for $4 and am enjoying the light and fun reading as well.






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