I've been struggling to remember the title of this book - this could be multiple books mixed together. I read it about 10 years ago, but it could be far older.

Short synopsis based on what I remember: Young man who commits a crime (gang-related?) and is exiled to Mars to a penal colony.

Characters wear air tags or badges that they must renew to continue breathing, which change color over time. The main character works for a small vendor (canned food?) for a while instead of signing onto one of the large mining companies.

He eventually goes on to start his own freehold and grows crops inside a greenhouse after finding suitable ice and other supplies, and ends up interested in the daughter of another freeholder.

The remainder of the novel centers around a revolution staged by the main character and her father, where they gather people and equipment to revolt (including taking down or taking over transport rockets and a power plant).

There many be some kind of scientific motivation (generating an atmosphere?) as well as the anti-government anti-corporation agenda.

1 Answer 1


Could this be "Birth of Fire" by Jerry Pournelle? The main character is a gang member who is arrested and transported to Mars. He gets an opportunity to work for an independent (non-corporate) boss, and learns the necessary skills to set himself up. The corporations go after the independents, and he ends up a leader in the fight against them. There is a romantic interest, with the daughter of another independent he meets at a series of community gatherings as he learns his way.

  • Yes! I think that's it! Thank you very much
    – Pip
    Mar 17, 2019 at 3:32

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