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First edition of Icehenge, published by Ace Books as a Mass Market paperback, with cover art by Mark Weber
AuthorKim Stanley Robinson
Cover artistMark Weber
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherAce Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)

Icehenge is a science fiction novel by American author Kim Stanley Robinson, published in 1984.

Though published almost ten years before Robinson's Mars trilogy, and taking place in a different version of the future, Icehenge contains elements that also appear in his Mars series, such as extreme human longevity, Martian political revolution, historical revisionism, and shifts between primary characters.


Icehenge is set at three distinct time periods, and told from the perspective of three different characters.

The first narrative is the diary of an engineer caught up in a Martian political revolution in 2248. Effectively kidnapped aboard a mutinous Martian spaceship, she provides assistance to the revolutionaries in their quest for interstellar travel, but ultimately chooses not to travel with them but to return to the doomed revolution on Mars.

The second narrative is told from the perspective of an archaeologist three centuries later, he is involved in a project investigating the failed revolution, and during this finds the engineer's diary buried near the remains of a ruined city. At the same time, a mysterious monument is found at the north pole of Pluto, tying up with a passing mention in the engineer's diary.

In the final narrative, the great-grandson of the archaeologist visits the monument on Pluto, a scaled-up version of Stonehenge carved in ice, he is investigating the possibility that both the diary and the monument were planted by a reclusive and wealthy businesswoman who lives in the orbit of Saturn.

Development history[edit]

The first part of this novel was originally published as the novella To Leave a Mark in the November 1982 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction;[1] the third part of Icehenge was originally published as the novella On the North Pole of Pluto in 1980 in the anthology Orbit 18 edited by Damon Knight.[2] Robinson gave the novella in rough form to Ursula K. Le Guin to read and edit while he was enrolled in her writing workshop at UCSD in the spring of 1977.[3] Views of Saturn from the space station visited by the narrator of the novel's third section were inspired by images of Saturn taken during the Voyager flybys in 1980—1981.[4]

Publication history[edit]


  1. ^ Robinson, Kim Stanley (November 1982). "To Leave a Mark". The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. 63 (5): 5–54.
  2. ^ Robinson, Kim Stanley (1980). "On the North Pole of Pluto". In Damon Knight (ed.). Orbit 21. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-012426-1.
  3. ^ Robinson, Kim Stanley (2010). "Untitled". In Karen Joy Fowler (ed.). 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le. Seattle: Aqueduct Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-933500-43-0.
  4. ^ Robinson, Kim Stanley (2006). "Saturn Sublime". Saturn: A New View. New York: Abrams. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8109-3090-2.

External links[edit]