Monday, March 21, 2016

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - Book Report #151


This was another audio book for me in Robinson's Mars trilogy.

Like the last book, I am certain I would have abandoned it if I were reading it.  Robinson has a way of digging into things that, if he were on my couch telling me this story, my eyes would glaze overt.

This time it was even worse.  Although, in the last book, I appreciated all the minute details he went into, this time I found it frustrating.  

I kept thinking "Yes, Mars is wonderful." 

"Yes, the scenery is amazing."

I got all that from the first book. All I wanted from this one was a story.  But every time he moved the plot forward he would spend more time looking under rocks and he would skip over important questions that would come up.

Like, after destroying a large structure in space, I would have been very interested in exploring the reaction from the UNTA, the government in the story.  But he had structured the narrative in such a way that we were limited by seeing events through the eyes of the First 100.

I guess I would have been happier had the book been a bit more aggressively edited.

After finally getting to the end I was left uncertain if I cared enough about this series to complete it.

On the plus side, the book explores just how difficult it would be to create a second planet for human habitation.  The first step is dominated by the engineering; how to get there, land and survive on the surface.  

Once more people start to arrive the problems on Earth are imported to Mars; differing motivations, religious freedoms, political ambitions and corporate influences begin to mix into the realities of life on another planet.

It's all very interesting but gets to be a bit dizzying to encompass it all into a novel, even if it's told over three volumes.  I guess the complaint I have with it is that it is a challenging story.  From the length, the depth of detail and the limited scope of the narration, it is not an easy read.  Or in my case, an easy listen.

Still, I came away from both stories feeling as though I have a much better understanding of the planet and the challenges of the endeavor.  I always come away from the experience feeling that I have spent time with a superior mind.  I guess it should be Robinson complaining about me, instead of the other way around.

Robinson's website -

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