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Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mars Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,473163999 (3.85)1 / 341
Chronicles the colonization of Mars in the year 2026. For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitovna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life, and death. The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planet's surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces, for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed. Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity,… (more)
  1. 100
    Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (fichtennadel)
  2. 50
    The Martian by Andy Weir (fichtennadel)
  3. 31
    Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson (sturlington)
  4. 20
    Moving Mars by Greg Bear (LamontCranston)
  5. 20
    Mars by Ben Bova (Cecrow)
  6. 20
    How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet by Robert Zubrin (SiSarah)
  7. 21
    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (psybre)
    psybre: Each book contains detailed methods and thinking that goes into solving space-colonization and space disaster issues. They also infuse the issues with politics.
  8. 21
    A Woman of Mars by Helen Patrice (TomWaitsTables)
  9. 10
    The Outward Urge by John Wyndham (MinaKelly)
  10. 10
    As It Is On Mars by Thomas W. Cronin (cgervasi)
  11. 11
    Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia by Alexander Bogdanov (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Inspiration for KSR (note the author's name)
  12. 11
    Threshold by Eric Flint (PortiaLong)
    PortiaLong: Politics and exploration of the solar system.
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» See also 341 mentions

English (154)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
The best Robinson I've read. But I would have preferred much more engineering and problem solving, and much less simplistic politics and magic wands.

> at perihelion Mars is about forty-three million kilometers closer to the sun than it is at aphelion, and thus receiving about 45 percent more sunlight. This fluctuation makes the southern and northern seasons quite unequal. Perihelion arrives every year at Ls = 250°, late in the southern spring; so southern springs and summers are much hotter than northern springs and summers, with peak temperatures as much as thirty degrees higher. Southern autumns and winters are colder, however, occurring as they do near aphelion— so much colder that the southern polar cap is mostly carbon dioxide, while the northern one is mostly water ice. So the south was the hemisphere of extremes, the north that of moderation. And the orbital eccentricity caused one other feature of note; planets move faster the closer they are to the sun, so the seasons near perihelion are shorter than those near aphelion ( )
  breic | Jun 21, 2022 |
review of
Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - January 7-12, 2022

For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1603114-robinson-s-red-mars

I've only read Robinson's Green Earth (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1135644-kim-stanley-robinson?chapter=1 ) before this one. That started out as a trilogy but got compressed into the single volume I read. THAT was excellent. THIS, too, was excellent. This is the 1st bk in a triology, I intend to read the rest. It's certainly epic - something I generally like b/c of the rich detail & overarching vision that's involved. Red Mars meets all the challenges & then some.

"So perhaps it is not surprising that all the oldest names for Mars have a peculiar weight on the tongue—Nirgal, Mangala, Auqakuh, Harmakhis—they sound as if they were even older than the ancient languages we find them in, as if they were fossil words from the Ice Age or before." - p 2

Robinson's characters are numerous & well-developed. Few, or none, of them are over-idealized. The 2 main male characters, John & Frank (Chalmers), are complex & driven. John, the more benevolent of these 2, is presented as giving a PR speech. Frank is presented as causing his murder in a diabolical way. The novel then backtracks to the times preceding this murder & their ideological differences.

""On Mars we will come to care for each other more than ever before," John said, which really meant, Chalmers thought, an alarming incidence of the kind of behavior seen in rat overpopulation experiments; "Mars is a sublime, exotic and dangerous place," said John—meaning a frozen ball of oxidized rock on which they were exposed to about fifteen rem a year; "And with our work," John continued, "we are carrying out a new social order and the next step in the human story"—i.e., the last variant in primate dominance dynamics." - p 5

Despite the dubiousness of John's somewhat wishful-thinking visions I find him much more sympathetic than Frank's cynical worldliness. They're both hyper-aware of their socio-political environment. Frank's murderous plot involves lying to Arab allies.

"Clustered in a plaza like mussels on a rock were a group of Arabs, drinking coffee. Arabs had arrived on Mars only ten years before, but already they were a force to be reckoned with. They had a lot of money, and they had teamed up with the Swiss to build a number of towns, including this one. And they liked it on Mars. "It's like a cold day in the Empty Quarter," as the Saudis said. The similarity was such that Arabic words were slipping quickly into English, because Arabic had a larger vocabulary for this landscape: akaba for the steep final slopes around volcanoes, badia for the great world dunes, nefuds for deep sand, seyl for the billion-year-old dry riverbeds. . . . People were saying they might as well switch over to Arabic and have done with it." - pp 8-9

While Frank gives the appearance to the Arabic settlers of being an ally he's really manipulating them just like he does everyone else. He even tries to sow hatred against them.

"Frank took the shears from his pocket and scratched into a few plastic windows, in Arabic lettering, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew." - p 15

Diabolical - but some people really do do things like this. Such tactics have been used against me, personally, & created a situation where I cd've been killed or crippled so I know from personal experience.

Robinson is mind-bogglingly thorough in his imaginings about the colonization of Mars:

"And then it was ringing midnight, and they were in the Martian time slip, the thirty-nine-and-a-half-minute gap between 12:00:00 and 12:00:01, when all the clocks went blank or stopped moving. This was how the first hundred had decided to reconcile Mars's slightly longer day with the twenty-four-hour clock, and the solution had proved oddly satisfactory." - p 20

[Of interest to me is that there's a 1964 Philip K. Dick SF novel called Martian Time-Slip]

The story goes back to when the initial applicants for emigration to Mars were in training & under observation in Antarctica:

"They could not afford to offend anyone, or complain too much; they could not risk withdrawing too far; they could not make enemies.

"So they went on being brilliant and accomplished enough to stand out, but normal enough to get along. They were old enough to have learned a great deal, but young enough to endure the physical rigors of the work. They were driven enough to excel, but relaxed enough to socialize. And they were crazy enough to want to leave Earth forever, but sane enough to disguise this fundamental madness, in fact defend it as pure rationality, scientific curiosity or something of the sort—which seemed to be the only acceptable reason for wanting to go
" - p 27

Finally, the 1st 100 for Mars colonization were picked. Imagine what such an outcome wd be like for people who 'auditioned' at Antarctica.

"People appeared stunned. When obsessives are given their object of desire, what do they feel? It was hard to say, really. In a sense their lives were ending; yet something else, some other life, had finally, finally begun. . . . Filled with so many emotions at once, it was impossible not to be confused" - p 30

""They can't hold Valentina Tereshkova against us forever!" her mother would cry." - p 35

& who, pray tell, is Valentina Tereshkova & why wd she be a negative person?

"Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Russian: Валентина Владимировна Терешкова, IPA: [vɐlʲɪnʲˈtʲinə vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvnə tʲɪrʲɪʂˈkovə] (listen); born 6 March 1937) is an engineer, member of the Russian State Duma, and former Soviet cosmonaut. She is known for being the first and youngest woman in space, having flown a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.

"Before her selection for the Soviet space program, Tereshkova was a textile factory worker and an amateur skydiver. She joined the Air Force as part of the Cosmonaut Corps and was commissioned as an officer after completing her training. After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, Tereshkova remained in the space program as a cosmonaut instructor. She later graduated from the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy and re-qualified for spaceflight but never went to space again. She retired from the Air Force in 1997 having attained the rank of major general.

"Tereshkova was a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices including being a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1974 to 1989. She remained politically active following the collapse of the Soviet Union but twice lost elections to the national State Duma in 1995 and 2003. Tereshkova was later elected in 2008 to her regional parliament, the Yaroslavl Oblast Duma. In 2011, she was elected to the national State Duma as a member of the United Russia party and re-elected in 2016."

[..]

"Streets in Ukraine that bore Tereshkova's name have been renamed due to her support of Russia's military actions against Ukraine and it was done in accordance with the country's 2015 decommunisation law. A proposal was also brought forward in 2015 to move a monument to Tereshkova in Lviv, Ukraine to the Territory of Terror Memorial Museum. Monuments of communist leaders are removed from the public and placed in the museum as a part of decommunization efforts. In January 2021, 24 Ukrainian streets were still named after Tereshkova; including a street in Busk, located in the same province as Lviv."

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Tereshkova

Given that the Soviet society enabled her to go from textile worker to 1st woman in space I can fully understand why she might go along w/ other decisions of the Soviet state.

"She heard from Nadia and Ivana that the bubble dome was being used for assignations in the quiet hours of the night; many of the cosmonauts and astronauts turned out to be fond of weightlessness." - p 46

"She felt a wild surge of lust, and pushed off the dome toward John. She tucked into a slow somersault, unzipping her jumper as she spun, her heart pounding like timpani, all her blood rushing to her skin, which tingled as if thawing as she undressed, banged into John, flew away from him after an overhasty tug at a sleeve; they bounced around the chamber as they got their clothes off, miscalculating angles and momentums until with a gentle thrust of the big toes they flew into each other and met in a spinning embrace, and floated kissing among their floating clothes." - p 78

I'm reminded of the AAA (Association of Autonomous Astronauts) & their/our preoccupation w/ sex in space. While this latter isn't mentioned in the Wikipedia article, it can still serve as an introduction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Autonomous_Astronauts . My 1st action in their/our name was the launching of balloons, probably w/ messages tied to them, in Canada in 1995. It WASN'T "Air Drop #1". My 2nd action in their name was this:

260. Air Drop #2: Code Name: Alpha Alpha Alpha
- Overtop Carnegie-Mellon University & environs, Pittsburgh, us@
- Friday, September 4th, 1998, 1:30 to 2:30PM

- This was (as the above title indicates) the 2nd in a series. For more info relevant to this 1 (like a rough description of the type of paper plane used) see entry 246. One of the main differences between this & its predecessor is that it was done mainly in the name of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts & not Le Groupe Absence. The day started with a phone call at 8AM from the pilot, Delta Bravo, saying that the weather in Baltimore was too misty for him to take off as early as he'd planned. We
waited an hour to find out how the weather would change. Delta called back & said that it was clearing & that he'd leave around 10:30 & that we should meet him at the Allegheny Airport near Pittsburgh between 12 & 12:30. I called the ground cameraperson, Mike Juliet, to tell him that we'd be starting 2 hours later than I'd originally told him but I only got his answering machine.

12:15 & Juliet Lima, Sierra Lima Foxtrot November, & I (tANGO, aLPHA cHARLIE) arrived at the airport. Delta had just arrived. I was wearing sky camouflage with the front covered with a hundred or so square buttons with images of sky & clouds on them. Sierra was wearing a flight suit. We had a video camera, 2 35mm still cameras, a tape recorder, & a half-frame 35mm camera (for shooting filmstrips).

We shot various footage of each other & the plane & loaded the 950 paper planes (etc) in (unobtrusively packed in a shoulder bag & a small box so that they wouldn't attract too much attention from airport personnel). Delta ran thru his various technical checks & we boarded the plane & got ready for take-off.

Then the camcorder ceased to work. I later realized that a connection in the camcorder power had ceased to work & that the tape had then jammed. I tried changing batteries to no avail. Since we were about to take off, I gave up on the camcorder & decided to concentrate on the filmstrip camera while Sierra shot slides & Juliet shot stills. As the plane lifted off the ground, the filmstrip camera jammed! This had been working perfectly 'til then & I still have no idea why the film wouldn't advance & the camera wouldn't take any more pictures. There were still about 20 pictures left on the roll (out of 48 available).

In the noisy airplane, Delta had asked us to maintain silence while he communicated with the radio tower. I tried to communicate thru gestures to Sierra that I wanted her to rewind her slide film & take it out of her camera so that I could put it in the filmstrip camera & keep on shooting with that. She misunderstood, rewound the film too far so that it no longer had a tongue sticking out for rethreading, & handed me her camera instead. THEN she understood & began frantically trying to pry open the film cannister without exposing the film inside so that the tongue could be gotten out & the film could be loaded in my camera. The film got mangled & that was more or less the end of that roll. Down to ONE still camera &, hopefully, the ground camcorder! At least we got some good audio recording off the plane's sound system.

In the meantime, the plane was circling around the targetted drop area: the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University - picked because it's near an easily identifiable landmark (the Cathedral of Learning), because it has much open space for the planes to land on, & because there would be alotof people milling around outside. Juliet & I had put a "Missed Connections" in the City Paper (a weekly paper in many cities in the US) that read as follows:

UFO'S ON CMU

You: Contactee, Me: Alien. I'll be
landing again on the CMU campus
Friday, September 4, around noon.
Will you be there or what? Our
mating will decide the fate of the
human race. Remember, Home
Skiing is like Yard Sailing.

ID# 1234 (exp 9/29)

"Missed Connections" or "Mis-Connecteds" or "I Saw Yous" (etc) are usually used by people who met someone briefly or just saw them somewhere without meeting them & who want to meet them again. A typical example might be something like "I saw you at Station Square. You had a red sports car & we kept looking at each other. Your friend Jennie introduced us but then you had to go. Can we meet again?"

Juliet & I had given a reading the week before (under the names of Party Teen on Couch #2 etta cetera - see entry 257) where we'd read Mis-Connecteds that our gang (the Kneehighs) had placed in various papers around the US (mainly Baltimore & Pittsburgh). This was partially to SEED the audience's mind in the hope that they'd read the next week's Mis-Connecteds & see the "UFOS ON CMU" one.

ANYWAY, we dropped the 950 paper airplanes over the campus - not sure whether we were actually hitting the target or not. The planes were of a type that flies loop-de-loops - chosen so that they'd stay in the air a fairly long time to increase the chances of people seeing them. We could see them flying all over the place. They looked great! We could see that many of them had landed on a golf course in Schenley Park next to CMU.

We returned to the airport, Delta flew back to B-More, & the rest of us headed back to P-Burgh to drop the film off to be developed & to head to the CMU campus to find out how many of the planes, if any, had made it there. We got there & were happy to find THAT THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!! The drop had actually been ON-TARGET! This's not an easy thing to do when you're flying in excess of 100mph & have other wind factors to take into consideration. We walked around & asked groups of students near where we saw planes if they'd seen the planes come down. None of them had. When we told them that we'd just flown over & that we'd dropped a thousand paper planes onto the campus, they expressed no curiousity AT ALL! They mostly stared dully or hostilely at me & made no move to even look at the pointed-out nearby planes. We didn't find any witnesses to tape-record an interview with & Mike Juliet was nowhere around to be found.

We went to the golf course next & there were paper planes everywhere. I went up to a few golfers who were surrounded by the papers & asked them if they'd seen them come down. They hadn't seen them & hadn't even noticed them all around them!? One guy did pick one up to read it & carried it off with him. We finally found a group of old men sitting around in the shade by the golf course building & one of them had seen the planes come down. They had a couple of the planes there with them. I asked the witness if he minded that I record an interview with him & he said he didn't want to be recorded because he was wanted by the police. I didn't believe this (or that my recording him would matter) but I respected his request & didn't record him. We talked substantially about the project. I explained the AAA somewhat to him - reading the slogans off the plane & talking about some of them somewhat.

The main AAA text on the plane was somewhat like this:

FREE ADMISSION TO RAVE IN SPACE!*
The Asssociation of
Autonomous Astronauts has launched
an information War against
the present-day state, corporate
and military monopoly of space travel.

What we need today is
an independent, community-based
space exploration program,
one that is not restricted by military,
scientific or corporate interests.

Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd.
The AAA moves in several directions at once.
Death to goverment space agencies everywhere.
All power to the Association of Autonomous Astronauts!
Space Travel - By Any Means Necessary
Dreamtime Is Upon Us!
Here Comes Everybody!
Space is the place.
The Christian millenium is right around the corner... may their world end with it!
Space travel is necessary - evolution implies it
Sex in space is necessary - evolution demands it
The Association of Autonomous Astronauts
is making the future happen.
The AAA asks, 'What is the point of going into space
only to replicate life on planet earth?'
Everything you ever wanted on planet earth, and never
received, will be yours in outer space.

http://www.t0.or.at/aaa
http:/www.deepdisc.com/aaa
http://www.uncarved.demon.co.uk
*must provide own transportation

The planes also had 5 rubber-stamps an individual frame of super-8 film from my MIKE FILM project on each of them. The MIKE FILM was accompanied by my Baltimore P. O. Box address. One of the stampings read: Home Skiing is like Yard Sailing - an obscure reference to a fake attempt to start a silly fad thru the TV Hospital (see entries 183 - 189) & another tie-in to the "Missed Connection".

The old man that we talked with said that he thought that most people wouldn't be able to understand what it was all about & that if they'd even look at the planes they'd just throw them away in confusion. He seemed to understand the slogan "Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd" the most easily. He wanted to know if we were a "cult". I told him no.

For the full review go here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1603114-robinson-s-red-mars ( )
1 vote tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
Got to 67%. I enjoyed what I read, and stopped when it was becoming a chore. I leave the book with good memories of it.
1 vote Luminous-Path | Mar 26, 2022 |
Top notch science fiction. I wouldn't say that it transcends science fiction. There is all kinds of technological wizardry that is integral to the progression of the story. Kinda funny to read this in 2022, because the action of the novel starts around then. Nope, we are not living the future we were promised. Well, this novel makes the political situation on Earth look mighty miserable. So that part is looking good. But the whole idea of Mars as an escape... well, this novel is largely a debunking of that notion, though from a political aspect than a technological aspect. Well, the technology is not so easy, either! ( )
  kukulaj | Mar 10, 2022 |
7
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bösl, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dixon, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petri, WinfriedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Lisa
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Mars was empty before we came.
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"We became friends first," Arkady said once, "that's what makes this different, don't you think?" He prodded her with a finger. "I love you."
When you expect to live another two hundred years, you behave differently from when you expect to live only twenty.
Possess nothing and be possessed by nothing. Put away what you have in your head, give what you have in your heart.
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Chronicles the colonization of Mars in the year 2026. For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitovna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life, and death. The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planet's surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces, for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed. Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity,

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