Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green Mars (Book)

Revolution meant shattering one structure and creating another one, but shattering was easier than creating, and so the two parts of the act were not necessarily fated to be equally successful. In that sense, building a revolution was like building an arch; until both columns were there, and the keystone in place, practically any disruption could bring the whole thing crashing down.
Green Mars, the winner of the 1994 Hugo and Locus Science Fiction awards, continues where Red Mars left off. In the beginning of the story, the major characters are dealing with the aftermath of their failed revolution against the Transnats and Earth’s control. The characters are hiding in the underground and trying to live meaningful lives. Slowly, they attempt to live above ground and have an influence on the future shape of Mars, both physically and socially. At the end of the book, they are again engaged in a revolution. Throughout the book, Mars is being terraformed by both biological and artificial means.

In Green Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson continues to tell the story of the first 100 colonists, who thanks to the longevity treatments are now in their hundreds. He also adds some new characters: the natives, who were born on Mars and are the biological children of some of the original colonists; and some people from Praxis, a sympathetic transnational company.

I am having problems putting the Mars Series down, despite my best intentions to pace myself. Like Red Mars, Green Mars felt very real to me, almost like watching a PBS special. Robinson does an excellent job of describing the terraforming. His descriptions of the biology, geology, ecology, and engineering seem very plausible to me. He includes issues related to psychology, religion, economics, and politics. His description of the Transnats taking over whole countries on Earth gave me pause because it seems like such a logical next step. The characters are multi-dimensional and, for the most part, sympathetic. Robinson includes enough action to prevent the story from getting bogged down. Blue Mars, which I am about to start reading, completes the Mars Series.

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