Zubrin Describes "Holy Land" Sci-Fi Satire

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Zubrin Describes "Holy Land" Sci-Fi Satire

by Robert Zubrin, February 18, 2004

I've been receiving a lot of inquiries as to what my new book The Holy Land is about. The answer is that it is a science fiction satire on the War on Terrorism, which describes what happens when the liberal Western Galactic Empire relocates the oppressed Minervan sect to their ancient homeland of Kennewick, Washington, in the middle of a USA ruled by fundamentalist fanatics.

In other words, it is a very realistic book.

It has almost nothing to do with Mars, however, except for one thing. That is that the publisher, Polaris Books, has agreed to donate $5.00 of every direct sale (out of a total price of $14.95 in the USA, $19.95 outside the USA, shipping included) made from its own website to the Mars Society. [Editor's note: Zubrin pointed out Polaris Books might be approached by other groups looking for a fundraising opportunity.]

The book has received outstanding reviews (see below). So if you are looking for a really fun book for your next read, and want to help out the Mars Society too, just go to www.polarisbooks.net and buy one. Be sure to stick a note in the comments box "Donate to Mars Society." If you prefer to order by mail, the postal address is given there as well. If you want your book to be an autographed copy, just say so.

Here are some of the reviews:

Gregory Benford, Hugo Award Winning author of Timescape
"Quick, witty satire -- barbed and funny at the same time."

Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling co-author, Dune: House Atreides
"The Holy Land is manic, satirical, and smart. Social commentary has never been so fun."

Greg Bear, Hugo Award winning author of Darwin's Radio
"Zubrin's out of control and very funny, and you never know whether he's going to poke precisely or slap you with a bladder. Striking out in all directions, The Holy Land demonstrates a righteous anger at human folly in the 21st century. It's a target rich environment, and Zubrin's an artist with a Thompson!"

Wayne Lutz, The Tocquevillian Magazine
"Brilliantly conceived and wonderfully implemented ÉA cutting, eye-opening, satirical tour de force. The Holy Land is a must-read for anyone with a social and political conscience. It's also funny - fearlessly funny."

Aaron Hughes, Fantastic Reviews
"Science fiction satire in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., John Sladek, and James Morrow, effectively using wit and humor to frame important social issues."

Heather Preston, Plainspeaking Mensa Bulletin
"A tale of high adventure and deep humanistic insight... And the satire has quite a bite."

Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post
"Zubrin scores good points against all sides."

Jim Hopper, San Diego Union-Tribune
"It's a hoot."

Adam Keiper, National Review Online
"Painful absurdities are so abundant in the Arab-Israeli conflict that the subject provides ample fodder for a skilled satirist, as it has for Robert Zubrin, the author of The Holy Land, a rare work of science fiction satire. The duplicity, mendacity, and hypocrisy that characterize the present predicament of the Middle East are laid bare in Zubrin's engaging romp, with verve and biting wit."

School Library Journal
Review by Christine Menefee (Feb 2004 issue)
A satiric tour de force.
After the Minervan people are nearly wiped out in a distant war, the Western Galactic Empire generously grants them sanctuary in their ancient homeland - the city of Kennewick, Washington. Unfortunately the United States, a "Christian" theocracy, does not welcome the "pagans." Government authorities round up the former American inhabitants of Kennewick, isolate them in refugee camps outside the city, and teach their children to be martyrs in a propaganda war, assassinating Minervans and carrying Kennewick terror to distant planets.
The advanced galactic civilizations are not without faults of their own, among them an inability to respect Earthlings as equals. When a Minervan captures an American soldier for scientific observation she is surprised to discover promising "protohuman" traits, while he learns that the Minervans are not quite the monsters he had believed them to be. And this is just the beginning, as Zubrin holds up a mirror to the perpetual Middle East crisis, the current "War on Terror," and many aspects of humanity and modern life in general.
In less inspired hands such an extended satiric treatment might pall, but Zubrin fleshes out his novel of ideas with intriguing characters, delightful twists, skillful plotting, and above all, humor -- all kinds, and lots of it. The satire bites as satire should, but the story also engages and satisfies. It is a romantic fable of interspecies misunderstanding and discovery, and a grand adventure that takes the reader all the way to the galaxy's highest court and back home again to a planet very much in need of a fresh perspective.

Rocky Mountain News
Review by Marc GrahamÊ
Grade: A-
...The "Holy Land" of the title is Kennewick, Wash. The time is the near future. Although there are many space-traveling worlds, Earth is not among them...
After intergalactic wars, the Western Galactic Empire has deported the humanoid Minervans to Kennewick, where the Minervans say they came from many millennia ago, during man's first foray into space. Their arrival forces the Kennewickians from their homes and gives the U.S. president a cause that might serve him in popularity polls. He declares war on the Minervans and institutes policies to engender sympathy for the Kennewickians...
Nothing is spared from Zubrin's satiric pen: religion, politics, economics, sex, war, psychology, philosophy -- all are the object of his barbs. The only criticism is that the author may have tried to do too much in a reasonably short novel. Nevertheless, The Holy Land is a surprisingly fine follow-up to Zubrin's other fiction and nonfiction works.

Midwest Book Review
"A tense and original story of the collective dark side of human nature."

Pamela Sargent, author of Venus of Dreams
"Can you laugh at the war on terrorism? You can if you read The Holy Land, which actually manages to find humor in one of our most intractable and tragic conflicts. Robert Zubrin skewers a number of deserving targets with his science-fictional satire, and helps to remind us that laughter, which so often an early casualty in our battles, can also reveal the absurdity of so many of our hatreds and prejudices."

Ben Shapiro, Columnist, Creators Syndicate
"Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land is brilliant satire and great science-fiction. He weaves a fascinating and intricate story, both epic and personal, while simultaneously attacking injustice and untruth. This book is a must-read."

San Diego Union Tribune
Review by Jim Hopper
[I]n The Holy Land hard-SF writer Robert Zubrin jabs and stabs at terrorism, religiosity and Middle-Eastern politics... I nodded, I grinned, I gritted my teeth as this notion and that struck home. If you, dear reader, think things are tough now, Zubrin gives an idea of how things could be much, much worse.
You probably have friends, relatives or acquaintances who would hate this book. I've only got the one copy, and it's a hoot. I just need to figure out who in my various circles most need it read aloud to them.

The Holy Land, by Robert Zubrin.
Published by Polaris Books, 11111 W. 8th Ave. unit A, Lakewood, CO 80215
ISBN 0974144304
Trade Paperback 304 pages
$5.00 of every purchase direct from Polaris will be donated to the Mars Society.
The Holy Land is also available to bookstores and libraries from Ingrams, Brodart, and Baker and Taylor.

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