I read this book about 9/3/2013. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2008. This note was last modified Monday, 05-May-2014 22:06:48 PDT.
This is book 1 of the "Marsbound" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
After finding his early, Hugo and Nebula-winning novel, The Forever War, quite impressive, I never formed the habit of reading him. Perhaps I'm going to be properly punished for this; I found this recent book quite enjoyable.
This is rather like a Heinlein juvenile, actually. We have a younger narrator (just entering college) going to Mars with her parents and brother. We have the details of the space elevator, and of the mars ship.
And, being a modern book, we have more information about zero-gee toilets and the narrator's sex life than Heinlein got into.
Still, she does wander out onto the surface at night without a partner (and without telling anybody), and she does break through the thin roof of an old lava tunnel, and she is rescued by the martians.
Well, not martians, not exactly. They're not native, and not natural. They're apparently a created species, placed there by the Others as a tripwire for when we acquired space flight. Also containing various recorded messages. Turns out there's an actual Other hidden on Titan, too (who apologizes for destroying the probe of 2044, and says he will also destroy any future probes and apologize for those, too).
Shortly after, though the Other takes off for home at 25 gees, and destroys Titan to make sure we can't discover anything. We also discover, due to friendship with the martians, that he may possibly have sent Red to Earth as a bomb. They pull a complex scheme ending with Red blown up on the far side of the moon in a blast that makes a new largest lunar crater, and manage it without even losing the pilot (who is our narrators lover).
So, they're going to send a ship out to the Other's homeworld to...do nothing explicit. Crash into it? Negotiate? Learn stuff? Or just provoke them into destroying us again? They also shut down all broadcast mention of the Others, and of the project to build the defense fleet.