Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Green Mars (Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson
The second part of the Mars trilogy. The first Martian revolution failed in the previous book. People are picking up the pieces, both the rebellious colonists and the giant transnational corporations of Earth. But who will control the future Mars – greedy corporations or people who live there? And how Mars will be terraformed, will there be any areas with original geography left – there are some very bitter disagreements about that even among the colonists. Slowly, Mars turns more hospitable, and slowly the secret organizations of the colonists gain more supporters and more power. But how could they win the giant, all powerful and rich corporations with large private armies? Will the new rebellion end as badly as the first one?
The book has fairly little actual plot. It mainly describes the changes, which happen on the planet - and boy - it describes them in detail, in mind numbing detail. Different characters move around the planet, apparently for no other reason than enabling the author to describe the different features of Martian landscape and terraforming methods very carefully. Omitting the descriptions the page count could have been cut by something like 85-90%. The writing as such was pretty good, but at places it was more than a little dull. The events there were, happened in kind of bursts, followed by a hundred pages of sightseeing trips around the planet. The Martians itself are fascinating – how living on another planet changes people? Are there other ways of organizing society as the traditional free market capitalism while giving wide personal freedom? Those were the interesting parts of the book, not the details of the planet.
The scientific knowledge of Kim Stanley Robinson was slightly suspect, again. According to him the Martian work crews use dowsing to find water on Mars. Really? Why not astrology as well? The prior book had devices which worked against the laws of thermodynamics – this is about as stupid mistake.
I have now read 92% of all novels which have won the Hugo award.