Book cover

The Red Curtain - Book Review

The Red Curtain – a novel by Dave Barnes

Review by Marie Gilbert

A climbing mission on Mars to collect precious minerals to save Earth’s dwindling energy reserves after years of climate change. Sounds far-fetched, right? Well not if you’re Dave Barnes, this could be a reality in the not so far off future.

Set in 2043, Dave takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride—well, a spaceship ride—to the red planet and all its dangers—known and unknown. But thanks to future technologies and a team of climbers at the top of their game, it becomes possible. And, if you think climbing on Earth is tough, try it in a space suit, with the pressure of the Earth and all its inhabitants relying on you to complete the mission.

If you like your novels with a healthy dose of pop culture references, you are in for a treat. Modern-day movies, music and climbers all get a mention, albeit as throw backs to ‘the old days’. Some (most) are cheesy and there were some inward groans and head-shaking moments for me while reading, although they did bring a smile to my face. There are nods to Star Wars and after a sweet send that no one on Earth would believe, David Bowie’s Major Tom playing over your headset seems appropriate. Ever want to know what Tommy Caldwell is doing with his life after climbing, and why would a robot be called Megos?  The answers are all in The Red Curtain.

Dave has engaged with many people to help give The Red Curtain believability both from the climbing and space exploration angles. If you aren’t a climber, or astronaut, there is a glossary to give credence to the terms used through the novel. 

Did I believe it, well it may be a result of an enforced lockdown and its inherent lack of contact with the outside world, but I was invested in this mission being a success and all returning safely. Would I read it outside the confines of a pandemic? Well, it wouldn’t be my first choice, the space/climbing genre isn’t really on my radar. But then again, was that even a genre before this novel? But if you have a fleeting interest in making a first ascent on another planet, this could be a place to start the beta gathering.

Available here.