Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 3)

Monday, February 25, 2019


Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 3)
Kim Stanley Robinson, 1996

Hugo winner - 1997

Premise: Sequel to Red Mars and Green Mars. The people of Mars take the next steps in trying to create a new society while not abandoning the problems of Earth. The survivors from the first settlers learn how different life becomes when you live for hundreds of years.

This book was long, and, much like its predecessors, it’s more a collection of connected stories than a novel. The book overall tells the story of the aftermath of the revolution, the creation of the new Martian government, and then the various ways people learn to live on Mars. Because each section follows a different character, you get a variety of perspectives, but that also means that some plot threads or ideas are dropped and never really picked up again.

Overall I enjoyed this one because I enjoy Nadia and Ann, and both of them were important characters. Nadia’s section is all about the creation of the new government and social structure on Mars. In 2018, it was downright soothing to read about people working hard and arguing in good faith about how to create the best society by learning from the past (particularly learning from what hasn’t worked).

Ann, long-time leader of the Red movement (those who want to prevent or delay terraforming) has largely lost any personal drive, but she comes to a kind of peace that feels genuine and reasonable. Sax, her long-time rival and champion of terraforming, continues his own physical and mental healing from the previous book. Other sections follow second-generation character Nirgal in his search for a life of meaning, and original leader Maya in her attempts to guide the politics of the next generation while struggling with aging. (I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting - did I say it was a long book?)

One section I didn’t much like follows a third-generation character, and she was just such a young careless hedonist compared to the other characters that I couldn’t really sympathize with her.

The longevity treatments that felt somewhat silly to me in the previous book are given appropriate political and personal weight here and become a much more interesting element.

Overall it’s a strong book, but I think I found it more impressive than compelling as a whole.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

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