Blue Mars

Blue Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553573350
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Series: Martian Romance Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 39,202
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.89(h) x 1.34(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, Sixty Days and Counting, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Galileo’s Dream. In 2008 he was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment.” He serves on the board of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.

Read an Excerpt

At a certain moment before dawn the sky always glowed the same bands of pink as in the beginning, pale and clear in the east, rich and starry in the west. Ann watched for this moment as her companions drove them west, toward a mass of black land rearing into the sky—the Tharsis Bulge, punctuated by the broad cone of Pavonis Mons.  As they rolled uphill from Noctis Labyrinthus they rose above most of the new atmosphere; the air pressure at the foot of Pavonis was only 180 millibars, and then as they drove up the eastern flank of the great shield volcano it dropped under 100 millibars, and continued to fall.  Slowly they ascended above all visible foliage, crunching over dirty patches of wind-carved snow; then they ascended above even the snow, until there was nothing but rock, and the ceaseless thin cold winds of the jet stream.  The bare land looked just as it had in the prehuman years, as if they were driving back up into the past.  It wasn't so.  But something fundamental in Ann Caybome warmed at the sight of this ferric world, stone on rock in the perpetual wind, and as the Red cars rolled up the mountain all their occupants grew as rapt as Ann, the cabins falling silent as the sun cracked the distant horizon behind them.

Then the slope they ascended grew less steep, in a perfect sine curve, until they were on the flat land of the round summit plateau.  Here they saw tent towns ringing the edge of the giant caldera, clustered in particular around the foot of the space elevator, some thirty kilometers to the south of them.

They stopped their cars.  The silence in the cabins had shifted from reverent to grim.  Ann stood at one upper-cabin window, looking south to Sheffield, that child of the space elevator: built because of the elevator, smashed flat when the elevator fell, built again with the elevator's replacement.  This was the city she had come to destroy, as thoroughly as Rome had Carthage; for she meant to bring down the replacement cable too, just as they had the first one in 2061. When they did that, much of Sheffield would again be flattened.  What remained would be located uselessly on the peak of a high volcano, above most of the atmosphere; as time passed the surviving structures would be abandoned and dismantled for salvage, leaving only the tent foundations, and perhaps a weather station, and, eventually, the long sunny silence of a mountain summit. The salt was already in the ground.

* * *

A cheerful Tharsis Red named Irishka joined them in a small rover, and led them through the maze of warehouses and small tents surrounding the intersection of the equatorial piste with the one circling the rim.  As they followed her she described for them the local situation.  Most of Sheffield and the rest of the Pavonis rim settlements were already in the hands of the Martian revolutionaries.  But the space elevator and the neighborhood surrounding its base complex were not, and there lay the difficulty.  The revolutionary forces on Pavonis were mostly poorly equipped militias, and they did not necessarily share the same agenda.  That they had succeeded as far as they had was due to many factors: surprise, the control of Martian space, several strategic victories, the support of great majority of the Martian population, the unwillingness of the United Nations Transitional Authority to fire on civilians, even when they were making mass demonstrations in the streets.  As a result the UNTA security forces had retreated from all over Mars to regroup in Sheffield, and now most of them were in elevator cars, going up to Clarke, the ballast asteroid and space station at the top of the elevator; the rest were jammed into the neighborhood surrounding the elevator's massive base complex, called the Socket.  This district consisted of elevator support facilities, industrial warehouses, and the hostels, dormitories, and restaurants needed to house and feed the port's workforce.  "Those are coming in useful now," Irishka said, "because even though they're squeezed in like trash in a compactor, and if there hadn't been food and shelter they would probably have tried a breakout.  As it is things are still tense, but at least they can live."

It somewhat resembled the situation just resolved in Burroughs, Ann thought. Which had turned out fine.  It only took someone willing to act and the thing would be done—UNTA evacuated to Earth, the cable brought down, Mars's link to Earth truly broken.  And any attempt to erect a new cable could be balked sometime in the ten years of orbital construction that it took to build one.

So Irishka led them through the jumble that was east Pavonis, and their little caravan came to the rim of the caldera, where they parked their rovers.  To the south on the western edge of Sheffield they could just make out the elevator cable, a line that was barely visible, and then only for a few kilometers out of its 24,000.  Nearly invisible, in fact, and yet its existence dominated every move they made, every discussion—every thought they had, almost, speared and strung out on that black thread connecting them to Earth.

Table of Contents

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Blue Mars 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
SteveTheDM More than 1 year ago
Good gracious, this book took me *forever* to plow through. About ten years ago I had read Red Mars and Green Mars, the previous two volumes in this trilogy, but had never gotten around to reading Blue Mars. (I think it had something to do with the sudden arrival of babies in the family...) Anyway, I finally snagged a copy of this one and dove in. The story is basically the events following the Second Martian Revolution (which happened at the end of Green Mars), in which Mars becomes further terraformed (life taking hold), and in which the hard work of building a state and a government post-revolution takes place. The book is told in large sections from the perspectives of a number of the "first 100", switching back and forth as their stories unfold. What I liked: Watching how a constitution convention works in a technological age was fascinating, if only because the management of human capital is what's really required. I think I've become a fan of light political fare, as long as it doesn't get too dry. I also liked the weird time shifts as all the first 100 start to get truly old (their longevity solutions result in more than two centuries of life). By the end of the book, the characters had become intriguing, but they took me a long time to get used to. What I didn't like: There were lots of bright spots, and lots of places that just seemed to drag along. I think this could have really used a harsher editing pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
words fail me because kim stanley robinson is one of the best writers of our time. his imagination, characters and view of future society is incredible. then icing on the cake and a truly rare thing, he knows his science. not just one discipline but all of them from biology to geology, physics and more. you just don't get any better than this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The three books in this series represent deep thinking, comprehensive research, and provocative speculation about the near-future based on the concrete present.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall I liked the book, but he has a tendency to delve into the minute details of every single concept (I don't think he skipped any of them). In some cases I was interested, but mostly I wanted to follow the characters and would get bored trying to slog through very precise talks about string theory, weather, physics, and whatever else he could come up with. I am an avid lifelong reader of at times very complex books, and I struggled to get through this book. It took several months for me to finish this book which has never ever happened in my 36 years. Anyway, like I said it is still a good book in its own way, but would have benefited from a winnowing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the third and last of the 'Mars' series (Red Mars, Green Mars). The focus of this book is the development of a new culture on Mars in an ever shrinking Solar System, as mankind stretches its colonial reach to other planets and planetesimals. The increasingly growing Earth population is threatening the new Mars society, old thinking against the new, old lifestyles against the new freedoms of life on Mars. Kim Stanley Robinson continues to make the First One Hundred settlers our eyes and ears as we are taken through the development of a new global constitution, the wonders of scientific exploration, the unknowns of extended aging and the limits of memory. The last of these takes us full circle and revisits how it all began in Red Mars, elegantly closing loose threads and bringing this epic story to a satisfying conclusion. The entire series is a must, if long read. Robinson never dumbs down to his readers, instead he requires one to contemplate an onslaught of fascinating scientific information that truly demonstrates the author has done his homework, and that there is so much for us to learn.
DSeanW on LibraryThing 26 days ago
A book so densely packed with ideas should not be this readable.
HanGerg on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The final book in this fabulous trilogy, and it manages to round the series off most satisfactorily, though not too neatly. This has been an unforgettable series of books for me, full of wonders and so believably and cleverly written that you can't help but dream of the day that life may immitate art, and mankind can begin to inhabit Mars with the real life equivalents of the characters that have become like old friends - Nadia, Ann, Frank, John, Sax, Maya, Coyote and all the rest. My one quibble with the whole series is the leisurely pace and somewhat meandering story archs. I would question whether this novel was really improved by, for example, about twenty pages on the brain chemistry involved in creating memories. Much of it is fascinating stuff, but when there are so many wonderfully drawn characters, experiencing such incredible events and breathtaking sights, all the hard science is an uneccessary distraction - for my tastes at least. This shouldn't detract from what a fanastic achievement the whole series is - full of things that will stay with you for a lifetime of reading, and will change the way you see the universe and the people who, maybe one day, will populate it far beyond our home shores.
yeremenko on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The last of the famous trilogy suffers from the common problems with sequels and pure science fiction.It is a fine book and a must read if you liked the first two installments. Robinson creates deep, realistic characters and the stories are more about their evolution than the planet's. The detail and descriptions are excellent.But it is far too long. As can happen when a writer gains status it becomes harder to edit out extraneous passages. Often I found myself understanding what he wanted the reader to see about a character or a plot point then slogging through ten more pages of (frankly well written) over kill. Thios book could easily be 200 pages shorter without losing anything.When pure science fiction goes too far into the future it is hard to keep out of the realm of fantasy but Robinson so carefully builds upon the advances made in previous books it all seems plausible. But you do see the biases of 1990's thinking everywhere by the end. There is a a lot of the "men bad, women good" slant of the early Oprah show in places. But to his credit he writes strong female characters and many of them are not admirable.The best part of the book is the way characters react to one another over hundreds of years.The trilogy is a masterpiece. But it could have been a lot shorter.
maledei on LibraryThing 26 days ago
confused old people stumbling around on mars.
TheCrow2 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I tried to love this trilogy. Really, I wanted to love this book too... As I said before he basic concept is absolutely fascinating. To see the Mars terraforming, to imagine what it's like.... To watch the political skirmises of a new world... But I'm sorry to say, sometimes it's damn boring written. It would be a so better read without a few hundred pages. A great pity....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robinson masterfully captures the possibilities and problems inherent in the creation of a new world without obliteration of the old. This is science fiction of the highest order.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whining dialogue, tedious 3rd person narration, flecks of arcane vocabulary, an over worn premise worth 50 pages put to 3 volumes each over 500. INSIPID comes to mind. What a waste of time.
Citrus More than 1 year ago
Kim Robinson is not for the scientifically faint-of-heart but he does offer an amazing amount of knowledge along with his perfectly understood male and female characters he so adroitly portrays in this third book of the Marc trilogy. I was completely satisfied with the results of several long-term attractions and amazed how intimately he understands female (being a male) motivations - good and bad. If you've read the other two books this one will make you very happy - not going to do a spoiler here but one mystery remains, unless it is in fact alluded to on the very last page, but all ends do get nicely tied up in this book - so very satisfying. I hope Mr. Robinson has added the one mystery he didn't solve in the new book - The Martians - which I will buy next. I HATED to leave Mars when the book was finished but will keep this trilogy on the well-loved and never given away book shelf to be treasured and re-read many, many times in the future. Very, very satisfying and I pretty much wish I was there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An overly detailed, yet exciting and epic conclusion to the Mars trilogy. They should honestly make the Mars trilogy into a movie saga because if they did, the movies would be ground-breaking.
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Gimel_Vav More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the best ever?
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