Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Series: Mars Trilogy #1
Published by Del Rey on January 1, 2017 (first published January 1, 1992)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 572
Format: Paperback
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four-half-stars

In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research & cutting-edge science in the 1st of a trilogy chronicling the colonization of Mars:

For eons, sandstorms have swept the desolate landscape. For centuries, Mars has beckoned humans to conquer its hostile climate. Now, in 2026, a group of 100 colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.

John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers & Arkady Bogdanov lead a terraforming mission. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage & madness. For others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. For the genetic alchemists, it presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life & death. The colonists orbit giant satellite mirrors to reflect light to the surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth. Massive tunnels, kilometers deep, will be drilled into the mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves & friendships will form & fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope & ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in evolution, creating a world in its entirety. It shows a future, with both glory & tarnish, that awes with complexity & inspires with vision.

We play a lot of board games at our house. One that hits the table regularly is Terraforming Mars; it’s probably my husband’s favorite. The game is based on Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinsons, which I finally got around to reading after having it sit on my shelf for a couple of years. So I may be a bit biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Red Mars follows the first hundred people on Mars, the ones who begin the colonization/terraforming. The story follows several viewpoints and they are all incredibly strong, tough, smart people who got to Mars on a variety of skills and the ability to more or less hide their nuttiness. None of them are wholly likable, but they each have their own motivations and their own visions of what Mars can/should become.

The book touches on a lot of themes. We have religious groups and social groups. We have the realities of living on a different planet, which showed a lot of research but made some things easier than they probably would be. We see human psychology and how stressors affect individuals and groups. There’s plenty of corruption, both financial and moral. There’s also some discussion about how the Earth is being treated and where that could lead. It’s a dense book, but it keeps moving forward. The ideas and conflicts keep the plot moving forward.

The end leaves us at a turning point. I’m interested in seeing where the trilogy heads next.

About Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson (born March 23, 1952) is an American writer of science fiction. He has published nineteen novels and numerous short stories but is best known for his Mars trilogy. His work has been translated into 24 languages. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural, and political themes and feature scientists as heroes. Robinson has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the World Fantasy Award. Robinson’s work has been labeled by The Atlantic as “the gold standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing.” According to an article in The New Yorker, Robinson is “generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.”

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