Why do I do this to myself? I am always disappointed with classic science fiction. This stuff is so boring. Of the two books, The Sands of Mars is the better one. It is wildly off-base with its depictions of Mars. He just nonchalantly assumes there is plant life everywhere and you can walk around without a space suit. Many of the plot points from the film 2010 are in this story and the ship's description is very much like that of the Discovery. I don't remember much about the first story except that it involved the last city on earth or something.