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The Mars trilogy jumped out at me from the bookshelf of a cosy B&B in Vancouver. Not literally you understand. But I digress. The premise of the story is the scientifically plausible colonisation of Mars, exhaustively researched for maximum realism, charting the technical challenges, moral dilemmas (“we should leave the planet as it is!!” Well then why go in the first place?) as well as a healthy dose of socio-economic drama.
The year is 2026 and the Earth is, as usual, on the verge of exhausting it’s resources, massive overcrowding and general global melt down. 100 hardy scientists and engineers travel the 9 month voyage to Mars to case the joint and generally become the First Hundred of Martian colonisation.
Kim Stanley Robinson is clearly an advocate of placing science first, and story telling a distinguished second. A large chunk of the 500 odd pages is descriptive narration, and descriptions of technical procedures.
While this is undoubtedly a turn on for a significant demographic of the genre, and those who enjoy the technical aspects of Star Trek, anyone who enjoys a good story will find the arduous descriptions of landscapes and the paper thin development of the characters may cause your attention to slip somewhat.
As the gradual terraforming projects and emigration from Earth overrun the planet, red mars slowly disappears under a cloud of political turmoil, revolts, sabotage and general unpleasantness.
The book tries hard to be “epic” but falls down mainly on the believability (or lack thereof) of its central characters. It’s not an un enjoyable read, I just can’t help thinking the same story could have been told in half the pages.
Part Z The Voyage Out
The Crucible 93
Falling into History
Guns Under the Table 379
Shikata Ga Nai
Other editions - View all
Uncovering Lives: The Uneasy Alliance of Biography and Psychology
Alan C. Elms
Limited preview - 1994