Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 2)

Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 2)
Kim Stanley Robinson

Hugo winner - 1994

Premise: Sequel to Red Mars. Scientists, settlers, and their children fight over the future of Mars.

For better and for worse, this was more of the same from the book before. In other words, different sections follow different characters, and together the stories show the next stage of Martian technology and politics.

The first two sections introduce two new central characters. The first is Nirgal, the son of some of the original scientists. His section started interesting - being raised in a hidden colony by a group of geniuses will make your childhood trippy - but I got bored with him before the end of his section.

The second was Art Randolph, a Terran sent from one of the super-powerful corporations to try to make an alliance with the underground. This story might have been better if I'd cared at all about him.

Ugh, this book is hard. Not hard to read, but hard to be compelled by. It explores the various religions and philosophies growing among the Martian population, the difficulties faced by individuals and groups as the underground movement struggles with Terran corporations for control, and individual stories of the remaining first settlers, but for me, somehow, all of this felt sterile. I was interested - it's well written and researched - but never invested.

Also, I thought that the longevity treatment invented in the first book felt like a cheat. Like something inserted into the world just so that the author could use the same central characters to tell a story playing out over hundreds of years. It stands out because so much of the science is carefully explained, and then this is some magic thing that just is. It's true that some of the most emotional parts of this book involve the treatment and the unexpected mental and emotional consequences of extending your lifespan. But I never quite got over that first feeling.

Was it terrible? No. Did it have moments that were intriguing and touching? Yes. Overall was it just too dang long? Absolutely.

2 Stars - An Okay Book


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