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Moving Mars by Greg Bear

Moving Mars

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Queen Of Angels (3)

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1,333155,822 (3.56)17

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Regarding award-winning SF novels, that prolific fan of speculative fiction, William Shakespeare, once wrote in one of his ‘zines “Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” I’ve often felt the same way, so I’m going to try to read a number of Hugo and Nebula winning novels this year to see whether they live up to the hype and are truly timeless works or whether their popularity was a flash in the pan the year they won.

First up (mainly because it was on my shelf and I’ve never read it) is Greg Bear’s Moving Mars which won the Nebula in 1994, as well as being nominated for the Locus Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. The title is pretty descriptive of the novel: it traces the political upheavals involved in the colonization of Mars that result in the planet being moved from its solar orbit.

OK, I can hear some of you diehards complaining about my having just giving a spoiler, but it’s the title of the book! And besides, the strength of the book — why it won the Nebula (or why I would have given it) has more to do with getting to that conclusion than the actual plot resolution.

In the Terran year 2171 (Mars year 53), the University of Mars Sinai is caught up in the power struggle between the new statist government and the decentralized BMs — binding multiples, the extended family syndicates. The statist government cancels the contracts of all the students, sending them home. Being like college students since the dawn of the university, they do what is natural to their make-up: they protest. Among the protesters is Casseia Majumdar and Charles Franklin, who meet for the first time during the protests.

After the protests, Charles and Casseia become lovers, but soon split and go their separate ways, Casseia to a career in politics and Charles to theoretical physics. Eventually, though, they meet again during Mars’s fight for independence and together they ensure that Mars will never be threatened by Earth again.

The power of the novel is not in the SFnal nature of the storyline — it’s actually not that thick in SFnal tropes (even though they end up moving Mars) — but in the political nature of the storyline. Moving Mars is a political novel about the power of sacrifice. The story is told in the first person by Casseia and follows her development from a self-centred college student to someone who is willing to sacrifice her security and even her life for the sake of Mars’s future.

While reading the novel, I felt it dragged quite a bit through the middle, but by the end, I could see what Bear was up to and why he made the choices he did. Although I had to work to get through the novel, I’m glad he did and don’t wish for him to have done it any differently. A second reading will probably bring greater enjoyment than the first.

So, in conclusion, I think Moving Mars has definitely stood up in the nearly two decades since its first publication. Even though there is a little flavor of datedness, Bear is dealing with issues that transcend time — the Big Ideas — and so the novel will continue to hold up, even when history has passed the era that Moving Mars deals with. ( )
1 vote bluewoad | Feb 9, 2011 |
  mcolpitts | Aug 15, 2009 |
(Alistair) And next in my book-reading, this science fiction work from Greg Bear, set in the same universe downtime from Queen of Angels and Slant, or / (as the cover of my copy would have it).

An enjoyable story, all told; Moving Mars is the first-person autobiography of Casseia Majumdar, the scion of one of Mars's oldest extended families-slash-business syndicates, who gets caught up in Martian politics - both internal and interplanetary - through the frontier society of Mars's first attempts to form a state, up through their final unification and breakaway from an Earth increasingly determined to control both the planet, and the uses of the new theory of physics (rather like some of the ideas explored in his Anvil of Stars, I note) discovered there... and when I say breakaway, I mean breakaway.

Starts slowly, for the first, oh, two-thirds of the book, and I still haven't decided whether that's a bad thing or a good thing. I'm inclined to think it's mostly the latter, since it accelerates to a jolly good climax at the end, and that itself wouldn't have been nearly as good had we not spent the first two-thirds getting to know the characters well, but it does make it slow to start, which may be offputting.

Good politics, with a nice balance between idealism and realism. Lots of plausible future world-depth and developments. Interesting characters. I don't think it's one of Mr. Bear's best books - compared to Eon or Queen of Angels, for example - but it's certainly worth reading, I think.
( http://weblog.siliconcerebrate.com/cerebrate/2008/04/moving-mars-greg-bear.html ) ( )
  libraryofus | May 7, 2008 |
New colony gets a transportation industry leg-up on the old bastards on Earth.

The inhabitants of Mars have to deal with trying to build a society how they want, and not in the old way that has been done before. This requires a lot of politicking and brainstorming.

They also have to deal with the usual greedy types that covet their resources and technology back where they came from.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/06/moving-mars-greg-bear.html ( )
  bluetyson | Jan 9, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Greg Bear goes from strength to strength. This new addition to his distinguished body of work is sure to be considered one of the major SF novels of 1993 and a sure award nominee. The very model of a modern SF novel, it excels in a number of dimensions. ...
... it gives us that without which no Greg Bear novel would be complete, a really Big IDEA. ...
added by RBeffa | editAsimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Moshe Feder

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barlowe, WayneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodgers, NickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russo, CarolCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The young may not remember Mars of old, under the Yellow sun, its cloud-streaked skies dusted pink, its soil rusty and fine, its inhabitants living in pressurized burrows and venturing up only as a rite of passage or to do maintenance or tend the ropy crops spread like nests of intensely green snakes over the wind-scoured farms.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
She is the daughter of one of Mars' oldest, most conservative Binding Multiples - the extended family syndicates that colonized the red planet. But Casseia Majumdar has a dream of an independent Mars, born in the student protests of 2171. During those brief days of idealism she forged bonds of friendship and hatred that set the stage of an astonishing revolution on Mars.

Charles Franklin, too, was caught up in those days of passionate youth. Casseia's first love, and a brilliant physicist, he is so dedicated to science that he seeks to link his mind ot the most advanced artificial intelligence in the solar system. It will cost him a lifetime with Casseia Majumdar. It will teach him the secrets of time and space.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812524802, Mass Market Paperback)

In this 1995 Nebula Award-winning novel, a revolution is transforming the formerly passive Earth-colony of Mars. While opposing political factions on Mars battle for the support of colonists, scientists make a staggering scientific breakthrough that at once fuels the conflict and creates a united Mars front, as the technically superior Earth tries to take credit for it. Backed against a wall, colonial leaders are forced to make a monumental decision that changes the future of Mars forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Casseia Majumdar dreams of an independent Mars and finds herself involved in the planet's revolutionary war. A brilliant physicist and the daughter of one of Mars' oldest colonizing families--both involved in the student uprising of 2171--see the revolution take a dramatic, unexpected turn.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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