The final novel in Kim Stanley Robinson's massively successful and lavishly praised Mars trilogy. 'The ultimate in future history' Daily Mail Mars has grown up It is fully terraformed - genetically engineered plants and animals live by newly built canals and young but stormy seas. It is politically independent. A brave and buzzing new world. Most ...
The final novel in Kim Stanley Robinson's massively successful and lavishly praised Mars trilogy. 'The ultimate in future history' Daily Mail Mars has grown up It is fully terraformed - genetically engineered plants and animals live by newly built canals and young but stormy seas. It is politically independent. A brave and buzzing new world. Most of the First Hundred have died. Those that remain are like walking myths to Martian youth. Earth has grown too much Chronic overpopulation, bitter nationalism, scarce resources. For too many Terrans, Mars is a mocking utopia. A dream to live for, fight for...perhaps even die for.
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Blue Mars is a big book in many ways. It is on the long side for a novel. It covers a huge span of years. It has a very large cast of characters. It deals with some pretty big issues: politics, human over-population, space colonization and life extension among them. Perhaps because of this vastness on so many levels it took me a long time to get through this novel. The conclusion was satisfying not only because it neatly wrapped up the trilogy, but also because I was somewhat relieved to be done.
I don't mean this as a criticism of Robinson who I think is a terrific writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two Mars books, but I just couldn't get into Blue Mars for some reason. Despite the huge cast of characters, the interaction between them was somewhat minimal. Characters spent a lot of time wandering around on the partially terraformed planet by themselves observing the geology, the flora and the fauna. Very lengthy descriptions worthy of a travelogue perhaps, did not make for a real page-turning read.
The huge span of time that the novel covers seems to take away from the drama of big events. The long view of history is always so much less interesting than the real-time nitty gritty stuff.
Sep 11, 2008
Excellent conclusion to the series
Blue Mars needs to be read in the context of the first two books of the series, Red Mars and Green Mars. The three books are woven together so well that they are difficult to separate. You'll miss the rich character development without the first two books. If you read the first two, there is someone there for everyone to identify with and cheer on. Robinson's ability to bring Mars alive from a geological and geographical standpoint are again present and strong. The conclusion satisfyingly integrates the characters varying perspectives and challenges, yet leaves enough unsaid for your imagination to project forward.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-05-13 Red Mars, the kickoff to Robinson's epic Mars trilogy, won the Nebula for best SF novel of 1992; its follow-up, Green Mars, won the parallel Hugo for 1994. The conclusion to the saga is not unlike the terrain of Robinson's Red Planet: fertile and fully developed in some spots, vast and arid in othersæbut, ultimately, it's an impressive achievement. Using the last 200 years of American history as his template for Martian history, Robinson projects his tale of Mars's colonization from the 21st century, in which settlers successfully revolt against Earth, into the next century, when various interests on Mars work out their differences on issues ranging from government to the terraforming of the planet and immigration. Sax Russell, Maya Toitovna and others reprise their roles from the first two novels, but the dominant "personality" is the planet itself, which Robinson describes in exhaustive naturalistic detail. Characters look repeatedly for sermons in its stones and are nearly overwhelmed by textbook abstracts on the biological and geological minutiae of their environment. Not until the closing chapters, when they begin confronting their mortality, does the human dimension of the story balance out its awesome ecological extrapolations. Robinson's achievement here is on a par with Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Herbert's Dune, even if his clinical detachment may leave some readers wondering whether there really is life on Mars. Author tour. (June)
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