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The book is based at a station on Mars. The base was a joint Soviet/US base (this shows how old it is). The US gets a little nuts and sends in soldiers to take it over, then they leave. They leave the commander's brother in charge. For the most part the two groups get along, even with the outside politics forces at play.

One of the scientists notice that some of their land vehicles were getting wire (fiber optics) round around their wheels in places where none have ever been laid. Further inspection showed that the wire was alien, being repaired, and part of a species of aliens long on Mars (but not the original Martians).

They make contact, the Earthmen declare their independence (I think) and the aliens help them by making a mirror in space and cause a meteor(?) to crash to help the process of making an atmosphere.

It was likely read in the late 80's or early 90's.

I've looked on several lists of Martian based fiction and cannot find this one and wish to reread it... I'm on a Mars thing right now.

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    What year did you read it? How about what year do you think it was published? Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 14:53
  • It was likely read in the late 80's early 90's. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 16:08
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    Please don't intentionally post dupes. If you want more attention for your original question you have some options; edit in more information, post a bounty, share the question on social media or visit the chatroom.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 16:33
  • Sorry. I figured that 3 years would be good enough distance. The movie the martian brought the book back to mind and I still cannot find it. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 12:52
  • tbh this sounds like every hard mars sci fi book from that era that I can think of. Very Red Mars-esque. Are you sure you're not accidentally combining details from different books? Just trying to brainstorm. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 16:49

1 Answer 1

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I'm pretty sure this is Robert Forward's Martian Rainbow. From a Kirkus review when it was published in 1991:

In the 21st century, Mars, after a brief independence under Communist Russians, is reconquered by UN forces under General Alexander Armstrong. Alexander returns to Earth and soon, heading his own religious cult, becomes supreme dictator of the planet. His scientist twin brother Gus stays on Mars as governor.

and

On Mars, meanwhile, Gus discovers an ancient alien-robot civilization;

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