Ares Express (2001)

Cover of Simon & Shuster/Earthlight edition.
Cover of Simon & Shuster/Earthlight edition (paperback).

Taking place in the kaleidoscopic future of Ian McDonald's highly-praised Desolation Road, Ares Express is set on a terraformed Mars where fusion-powered locomotives run along the network of rails that is the planet's circulatory system and artificial intelligences reconfigure reality billions of times each second.

One young woman, Sweetness Octave Glorious-Honeybun Asiim 12th, becomes the person upon whom the future - or futures - of Mars depends. Driven away from teh locomotive that has always been her home by the thought of a boring marriage and an all-consuming wanderlust, she consults her dead twin, Little Pretty One, about her future. But that future will take in religious cults, artificial intelligences that are as gods - and the gods themselves.

Big, picaresque, funny; taking the Mars of Ray Bradbury and the more recent, terraformed Red Planets of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Bear, Ares Express is a wild and wooly magic-realist SF novel, with many bizarre philosophies, strange, mind-stretching ideas and trains as big as city blocks.

Blurb from the Simon & Shuster catalog

Ares Express is set in the same future as Ian McDonald's first novel, Desolation Road.


  • Simon & Shuster/Earthlight (paperback)
    553 pages. £7.99
    ISBN 0-671-03754-4.
  • Simon & Shuster/Earthlight (hardcover)
    352 pages. £16.99.
    ISBN 0-684-86151-8.

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