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Mars Diaries

by Sigmund Brouwer
Series: Mars Diaries #10
129 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Lily A.

A fourteen year old with a mindlink to robots comes home to find his colony in danger.

Plot

Tyce Sanders, "first kid born on Mars" and the victim of an operation which paralyzed his legs while it enabled him to control a robot with his thoughts, is returning home from an eventful and dangerous trip to earth. He is looking forward to being back with his family and mentor, and recovering from an attempt to give him the use of his legs again; but the people who made life difficult on his voyage, the people who made him an experiment in the first place, are not done with him or with Mars just yet.

Morality

Bad guys are bad.

The main character values his family, friends, and older mentor greatly. At least one character is willing to risk his life for the children with the robot-control device. A character takes a significant risk to protect a friend. Various characters act heroically in crisis.

Spiritual Content

Christian. Tyce says that one of the reasons it took him as long as it did to come to believe in God was that as a child, he had begged God for a miracle to let him walk, and God hadn't healed him. (Although, this does imply that he had some belief in the first place to think that prayer might fix things...) As narrator of the story, Tyce repeatedly references creation as evidence for the existence of its creator, makes passing references to various religious and philosophical thoughts as "God questions," mentions praying during tense situations, and speaks of life after death. At the end of the book, the author includes what basically amounts to a short sermonette or devotional.

Violence

In a simulation, we see from a miniature robot's point of view as it swims in blood, and a mistake kills a woman. Terrorists plan to murder a large number of people. A character is tortured with severe headaches induced by a device implanted in his nervous system, and has a dream about being a shark able to attack his fisherman-tormentor. It is said that past attempts at terrorism have included seeking to hijack a "space torpedo," and enslaving robot controllers to make an army. The Mars colony intends to install a missile defense system.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None, even medically. A powder is applied externally. When a character is dealing with severe headaches, pain medication does not seem to be considered as an option.

Sexual Content

None, really. In his journal Tyce speaks of the circumstances of his birth, and it is implied that the colony as a whole, non-Christians as well as Christians, recognizes marriage as a prerequisite for reproduction. Tyce is attracted to a fellow robot-controller, and wishes to dance with her.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

At one point in time, I was a little bit obsessed with the Mars Diaries books. They were science fiction stories with a lot of action and a main character who was near my own age, they didn't have any icky stuff (other than the villains being villainous), and they were Christian! Hooray! For me, though, they have not aged well. The author can be melodramatic. He also seems to like exposition, inserting attempts at technical explanations and flights of apologetics where they might not be entirely necessary; and if you read more than one of these books, you are likely to encounter the same explanation of Tyce's robot control abilities a number of times. However, in spite of my being less enthused with this book and its series than I once was, "Last Stand" is still a book with clear-cut morality, a heroic main character, a Christian worldview, and a sweet ending. Young readers of science fiction may find it enjoyable.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

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