"We've been bought and sold. Xenosystems owns Panopticon. Panopticon owns us. But we all said yes when they asked us to go to Mars. It's going to be as good as we want to make it. It's going to be our home from now on ... We do our jobs, we take care of ourselves, respect each other as human beings. You wanted more out of life than that? Maybe we should have all thought just a little bit harder about our life choices."
Of course, things never go as smoothly as one hopes. Frank quickly learns that as he and the others are put through a rigorous training somewhere in the Nevadan desert. They hope things will be better once they get to Mars...but they know they'll never really be free.
"XO are getting edgy over whether you can keep it together up there... Once you're on Mars, there's no Hole. No discipline. No one to keep you in line. You'll fall apart, and with it, the project. You know how much Uncle Sam is ponying up for this? ... Trillions. And you, and your fine fellows, are now the only people standing between Mars Base One and an expensive failure. Which is why I'm going with you."I've always been drawn to books about exploring and colonizing Mars, and One Way by S.J. Morden does not disappoint. From the first page to the last, I could not put this one down. I immediately liked Frank, just an ordinary guy in prison for murder, who's also good at getting things done. Now he's on Mars trying to get the base built on time even though they don't have all the necessary equipment, all while keeping himself and his fellow prisoners alive despite their overseer's cold indifference. All he really wants to do is make it back home to see his son. But that's looking more and more iffy as everything on Mars starts to go wrong. There's science and mystery in this one, and adventure, too. The suspense really builds as XO's ultimate plan for the seven convicts is revealed. Talk about a compelling read!
"Mars was a thing. A living, breathing thing. ...Tomorrow, they'd all build, and by night fall they might have done enough to mean they'd actually made an impact on Mars. A Mars that had already taken two of them."
I'm glad this book has a sequel!