Initially drawn into the book by it's premise, author and foward by Arthur C. Clarke, I thought Beachhead would take me on a remarkable journey to colonize the planet Mars. The book started well enough, even though I felt that the main characters were generic or stereotypical: a rich boy, perfect women with green eyes and untrustworthy eastern Europeans. Background info for each character is dotted throughout the entire book, even within the last 10%. Strange as it may be, I thought that type of character introduction worked well, however choppy it seemed. Choppy, as well, was the plot. The five months on the Ares spacecraft was summerized in only a small chapter, not exploring difficulties the crew faced in such a closed environment. The plot would jump from a action, skipping detail, and ending straight up at the result. There was no prose behind the between.
Choppy would be an understatement for the final 15% of the book. Details are skipped over as if the the last 15% of the book had been heavily edited out by at least three-quarters. The plot takes huge leapfrogs, which left me 1) scrathing my head in disbelief, 2) groping for the credibility of such a leap and 3) details for how the transition happened.
Regardless of all the above, the story was satisfactory. At times the heart goes out for the settlers through the betrayal, hardships and joys.