Green Mars

Green Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

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Overview

Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel • Kim Stanley Robinson’s classic trilogy depicting the colonization of Mars continues in a thrilling and timeless novel that pits the settlers against their greatest foes: themselves.
 
Nearly a generation has passed since the first pioneers landed on Mars, and its transformation to an Earthlike planet is under way. But not everyone wants to see the process through. The methods are opposed by those who are determined to preserve their home planet’s hostile, barren beauty. Led by the first generation of children born on Mars, these rebels are soon joined by a handful of the original settlers. Against this cosmic backdrop, passions, partnerships, and rivalries explode in a story as spectacular as the planet itself.
 
Praise for Green Mars

“One of the major sagas of the [latest] generation in science fiction.”Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Dense as a diamond and as sharp; it makes even most good novels seem pale and insignificant by comparison.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Grand in scope, meticulous in detail.”The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553572391
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1995
Series: Martian Romance Series , #2
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 54,927
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.83(h) x 1.01(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

The point is not to make another Earth. Not another Alaska or Tibet, not a Vermont nor a Venice, not even an Antarctica. The point is to make something new and strange, something Martian.

In a sense our intentions don't even matter. Even if we try to make another Siberia or Sahara, it won't work. Evolution won't allow it, and at its heart this is an evolutionary process, an endeavor driven at a level below intention, as when life made its first miracle leap out of matter, or when it crawled out of sea onto land.

Again we struggle in the matrix of a new world, this time truly alien. Despite the great long glaciers left by the giant floods of 2061, it is a very arid world; despite the beginnings of atmosphere creation, the air is still very thin; despite all the applications of heat, the average temperature is still well below freezing. All these conditions make survival for living things difficult in the extreme. But life is tough and adaptable, it is the green force viriditas, pushing into the universe. In the decade following the catastrophes of 2061, people struggled in the cracked domes and torn tents, patching things up and getting by; and in our hidden refuges, the work of building a new society went on. And out on the cold surface new plants spread over the flanks of the glaciers, and down into the warm low basins, in a slow inexorable surge.

Of course all the genetic templates for our new biota are Terran; the minds designing them are Terran; but the terrain is Martian. And terrain is a powerful genetic engineer, determining what flourishes and what doesn't, pushing along progressive differentiation, and thus the evolution of new species. And as the generations pass, all the members of a biosphere evolve together, adapting to their terrain in a complex communal response, a creative self-designing. ability. This process, no matter how much we intervene in it, is essentially out of our control. Genes mutate, creatures evolve: a new biosphere emerges, and with it anew noosphere. And eventually the designers' minds, along with everything else, have been forever changed.

This is the process of areoformation.

One day the sky fell. Plates of ice crashed into the lake, and then started thumping on the beach. The children scattered like frightened sandpipers. Nirgal tan over the dunes to the village and burst into the greenhouse, shouting, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Peter sprinted out the doors and across the dunes faster than Nirgal could follow.

Back on the beach great panes of ice stabbed the sand, and some chunks of dry ice fizzed in the water of the lake. When the children were all clumped around him Peter stood with his head craned back, staring at the dome so far above. "Back to the village,” he said in his no-nonsense tone. On the way there he laughed. "The sky is falling!" he squeaked, tousling Nirgal's hair. Nirgal blush and Dao and Jackie laughed, their frosted breath shooting out in quick white plumes.

Peter was one of those who climbed the side of the dome to repair it. He and Kasei and Michel spidered over the village in sight of all, over the beach and then the lake until they were smaller than children, hanging in slings from ropes attached to icehooks. They sprayed the flaw in the dome with water until it froze into a new clear layer, coating the white dry ice. When they came down they talked of the warming world outside. Hiroko had come out of her little bamboo stand by the lake to watch, and Nirgal said to her,

"Will we have to leave?"

"We will always have to leave," Hiroko said. "Nothing on Mars will last."

But Nirgal liked it under the dome. In the morning he woke in his own round bamboo room, high in Creche Crescent, and ran down to the frosty dunes with Jackie and Rachel and Frantz and the other early risers. He saw Hiroko on the far shore, walking the beach like a dancer, floating over her own wet reflection. He wanted to go to her but it was time for school.

They went back to the village and crowded into the schoolhouse coatroom, hanging up their down jackets and standing with their blue hands stretched over the heating grate, waiting for the day's teacher. It could be Dr. Robot and they would be bored senseless, counting his blinks like the seconds on the clock. It could be the Good Witch, old and ugly, and then they would be back outside building all day, exuberant with the joy of tools. Or it could be the Bad Witch, old and beautiful, and they would be stuck before their lecterns all morning trying to think in Russian, in danger of a rap on the hand if they giggled or fell asleep. The Bad Witch had silver hair and a fierce -glare and a hooked nose, like the ospreys that lived in the pines by the lake. Nirgal was afraid of her.

So like the others he concealed his dismay as the school door opened and the Bad Witch walked in. But on this day she seemed tired, and let them out on time even though they had done poorly at arithmetic. Nirgal followed Jackie and Dan our of the schoolhouse and around the corner, into the alley between Creche Crescent and the back of the kitchen. Dan peed against the wall and Jackie pulled down her pants to show she could too, and just then the Bad Witch came around the corner. She pulled them all out of the alley by the arm, Nirgal and Jackie clutched together in one of her talons, and right out in the plaza she spanked Jackie while shouting furiously at the boys. "You two stay away from her! She's your sister!" Jackie, crying and twisting to pull up her pants, saw Nirgal looking at her, and she tried to hit him and Maya with the same furious swing, and fell over bare-bottomed and howled.

It wasn't true that Jackie was their sister. There were twelve sansei or third-generation children in Zygote, and they knew e other like brothers and sisters and many of them were, but not all. It was confusing and seldom discussed. Jackie and Dao were oldest, Nirgal a season younger, the rest bunched a season after that: Rachel, Emily, Reull, Steve, Simud, Nanedi, Tiu, Frantz, a Huo Hsing. Hiroko was mother to everyone in Zygote, but not really-only to Nirgal and Dan and six other of the sansei, and several of the nisei grownups as well. Children of the mother goddess.

But Jackie was Esther's daughter. Esther had moved away after a fight with Kasei, who was Jackie's father. Not many of them Irn who their fathers were. Once Nirgal had been crawling over a dune after a crab when Esther and Kasei had loomed overhead, Esther crying and Kasei shooting, "If you're going to leave me then leave!

He had been crying too. He had a pink stone eyetooth. He too had been a child of Hiroko's; so Jackie was Hiroko's granddaughter. That was how it worked. Jackie had long black hair and was the fastest runner in Zygote, except for Peter. Nirgal could run the longe and sometimes ran around the lake three or four times in a to just to do it, but Jackie was faster in the sprints. She laughed all the time, If Nirgal ever argued with her she would say, "All right Uncle Nirgie," and laugh at him. She was his niece, although a season older. But not his sister.

The school door crashed open and there was Coyote, teacher for the day. Coyote traveled all over the world, and spent very little time in Zygote. It was a big day when he taught them. He led the around the village finding odd things to do, but all the time he made one of them read aloud, from books impossible to understand, written by philosophers, who were dead people. Bakunin, Nietzsche, Mao, Bookchin-.these people's comprehensible thoughts lay like unexpected pebbles on a long beach of gibberish. The stories Coyote had them read from the Odyssey or the Bible were easier to understand, though unsettling, as the people in them killed each other a lot and Hiroko said it was wrong. Coyote laughed at Hiroko and he often howled for no obvious reason as they read these gruesome tales, and asked them hard questions about what they had heard, and argued with them as if they knew what they were talking about, which was disconcerting.

"What would you do? Why would you do that?" All the while teaching ad them how the Rickover's fuel recycler worked, or making them all check the plunger hydraulics on the lake's wave machine, until their hands went from blue to white, and their teeth chattered so much they couldn't talk clearly. "You kids sure get cold easy," he said. "All but Nirgal."

Nirgal was good with cold. He knew intimately all its many .n stages, and he did not dislike the feel of it. People who disliked cold did not understand that one could adjust to it, that its bad effects could all be dealt with by a sufficient push from within. Nirgal was very familiar with heat as well. If you pushed heat out hard enough, then cold only became a sort of vivid shocking envelope in which you moved. And so cold's ultimate effect was as a stimulant, making you want to run.

"Hey Nirgal, what's the air temperature?"

"Two seventy-one."

Coyote's laugh was scary, an animal cackle that included all the noises anything could make. Different every time too. "Here, let's stop the wave machine and see what the lake looks like flat."

The water of the lake was always liquid, while the water ice all coating the underside of the dome had to stay frozen. This explained most of their mesocosmic weather, as Sax put it, giving them their mists and sudden winds, their rain and fog and occasional snow.

On this day the weather machine was almost silent, the big hemisphere of space under the dome nearly windless. With the wave machine turned off, the lake soon settled down to a rounder flat plate. The surface of the water became the same white color as the dome, but the lake bottom, covered by green algae, was still visible through the white sheen. So the lake was simultaneously pure white and dark green. On the far shore the dunes and scrub to pines were reflected upside down in this two-toned water, as perfectly as in any mirror. Nirgal stared at the sight, entranced, everything falling away, nothing there but this pulsing green/white vision. He saw: there were two worlds, not one-two worlds in le the same space, both visible, separate and different but collapsed.

Table of Contents

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Green Mars 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy this book! Detail oriented. Educated. Plausible story line. With our current exploration of Mars (in it's infancy) the possibilities in this book could be our future. It is a must read.
InvictusNW More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed Green Mars. I had trouble getting into the previous Red Mars, but once I was hooked into the characters and the culture - I was really hooked. I went on to read Green Mars and Blue Mars and had trouble putting them down. This book is realistic science fiction. The culture and people evolve in realistic ways over the time in which the book takes place. I especially liked the fact that every character was at times unlikeable. There was plenty of human frailty and heroism, political intrigue and even war. If you enjoy realistic sci-fi that concentrates on rich characters, I recommend this book and the trilogy.
Yann More than 1 year ago
This trilogy has the width and breadth of Lord of the Rings on Mars. The description of Mars is grand. The imagination and research contained in these books are truly impressive. The story overall is epic. My only issue with it is that the style may be a bit heavy and the action a bit slow with sudden bursts of activity, which are very quickly described. Kim Stanley Robinson seems to like spending time describing landscapes and settings rather than action itself. The characters are somewhat complex but too many of them to fully develop them, except for the character of Hiroko, Maya, and Sax. Finally, despite the slow pace, it is a great trilogy with a long-lasting impression, which is probably what should matter in the end.
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First of all this Green Mars is the 2nd book of the trilogy not as I expected the third. Red, Blue, Green, just seemed more sensible to me, especially with red being the dry mars, and hence Blue wuld be the wet mars, followed by Green the living mars. Not so. Red to Green and Blue last. Not sure why this is called Green mars, very little vegitation is surviving - although some does and the surface is now distinctly not red in many places. Perhaps it is in reference to the two factions within the natives - the Reds are fundamentalist no-terraformists while the Greens are more moderate terraformist supporters of various kinds. Given the ending in Red Mars it is now clear that the Surface of Mars has been altered forever. The story continues in the same style as previously - sections are devoted to a specific character and told in a fairly tight third person - although not quite as tightly as in Red Mars, there are a few disconnects with other characters jumping in. I gave up trying to keep track of exactly when events happened, but Green Mars starts quite a bit after the end of Red - the 'war' in '61. Which didn't turn out quite as well as it seemed, the First 100 are down to 39, and still bitterly divided about the fate or Mars. However the old Transnational companies have now become Metanationals - shortened to Metanats, which I always read as Mentants as in Dune, very annoying - and in a very convenient and not quite belivable plot twist, one sympathises with the Martian 'natives', so that as the conflict over the ownership of Mars escalates and the conditions on Earth deteriorate there is more information around and the natives can be better prepared - if only they can agree in which direction they wish to be prepared! Hiroko is still an enigma, and although we gain a bit more detail about Coyote he too is still much of a mystery figure. However we do get a lot more information about the new youngsters on Mars, 2nd thrid and even fourth generation children, who naturally enough don't quite see eye to eye with the elders.Much less science in this book compared to the last - although there is still some especially early on. The background now is more about rebellion and discussion. How would you go about taking over a planet? How do you as an anarchist copmrimise enough to form a government? How do discussion work and where does agrement come from. Again the tight third person narrative gives a good view on the different sides of the matter. There is also some wonderful commentary on getting old, and the problems a healthy and long lived population have to come to terms with. I wasn't completely convinced that a 120yr old martian would be able to be accepted as a immigrant from earth without any questions being asked! And there is still way too much water being found compared to the infromation that we now know. The Metanats are otherwise remote and not quite convincing either. Overall it's still a cracking good read though, and the many problems of Mars and it's people are captivating - not just as a story but as all good SF should be, also as commentary on the problems we as society may face. Much of the discussion dialog you can see repeated in internet forums every day - iconoclasts who don't/won't or can't see anothers opints of view; or even that there are two or more equally but contradictory right answers to a given problem. Is going it alone the right thing to do?...................................................................................................................
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sequel to Red Mars is unfortunately not quite as exciting and a bit more difficult to get through. What could be tolerated in the first book ¿ the endless descriptions of driving around on Mars, the minutiae of Martian geology and terraforming ¿ I was less tolerant of in its sequel, and more inclined to skip ahead. But I did enjoy the climactic Martian revolution while at the same time I was wishing for more social conflict and less hard science. The emergence of a new type of person ¿ the Martian ¿ as well as the evolving ramifications of the anti-aging treatments were fascinating, and I look forward to more elaboration on these subjects in the final book in the trilogy.
auntmarge64 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Exhausting. The book opens almost a century after the colonization of Mars (recounted in [Red Mars]), with 39 of the original First Hundred settlers still alive and active as leaders in various political and scientific movements and taking repeated anti-aging treatments. They live side-by-side with several other generations, all born on Mars, physically different and politically Martian to the core. Earth is just not a priority for them. For newer immigrants, however, Earth is still very central, as it is for the huge multinational corporations which run Earth and, increasingly, Mars, with private security forces. As life on Earth deteriorates towards a new world war, with increases in population but limited distribution of the anti-aging treatments and then the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, Martian underground leaders must decide how to foster independence from Earth while they deal with the forced climate changes they've made to Mars and a variety of factions, some quite violent, who can't agree on how Mars should be developed (if at all) and how to end multinational control. Long, with some very tiresome scientific and philosophical debates and few really likable characters. OTOH, if you want to read the Mars trilogy, this is part II and essential to the story line. Many characters are familiar from [Red Mars], and there are a couple of intriguing new ones. Be warned, though: get a map of Mars to use with the book.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A total pain in the ass. More semi-soft science, more noodling philosophizing, more disconnected narrative; large parts are bogged down with tiresome, transparent, pot-boiler-grade plot threads, and the rest reads like an earth science textbook.Honesty dictates that it be disclosed that I haven't actually finished this book. I realize it's bad form to give up on something half-finished, but seriously, do I have time for this?
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like most sequels, I found Green Mars to be less enjoyable than its predecessor. Red Mars was an adventure--the colonization of Mars--filled with plenty of sci-fi background. Green was just as geeky, but "explore strange new worlds" was replaced by meetings, politics and Martian spirituality. (spi-fi?) --J.
TheCrow2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the second book of Robinson's Mars trilogy the terraforming of Mars continues. The remaining of the "First Hundred" and their followers are living (mostly literally) underground in various communities. The whole terraforming story and the descriptions of the mars fractions is fascinating and beliveable but the book has a huge weakness. Sometimes it's utterly boring... Regularly repeating endless descrtiptions of the surface of Mars, long philosophizing leading nowhere...It's a shame because as I said before the basic plot's great.
MinaKelly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took a lot of self-restraint not to read this as soon as I finished Red Mars. I had to restrain myself for two reasons: one, I had too many other books on my to-read pile to justify even buying Green Mars, let alone reading it, and two, I would have burnt out pretty quickly. Much like the first novel, Green Mars is full of complicated politics and complex inter-personal relationships. The plot is glacier in both pace and preventability. I found it harder and harder to put the book down the nearer I got to the end.To quote Wellington: "The history of a battle, is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance..."The events in Green Mars are like the history of multiple balls, a whole complex of ballrooms. Overall it is a political novel; it just happens to be set in the future.
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Again, with "Red Mars" and the follow-up "Blue Mars," a very solid trilogy about the social and environmental transformation of Mars (and themselves!) by long-lived human settlers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great sequel to Red Mars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book in this series was exciting and engrossing. This one was nearly the exact opposite. At least half of the book is the internal monologues of the now very old characters from the first book. They rehash the plot of book 1 in their heads, ruminating endlessly, ENDLESSLY. And if they aren't indulging their own memories they are talking about the events of the past with other characters from the past. The positive aspects of the book are mainly descriptions of the technology and economy of the new Mars society. I finished the book because I feel committed to the series and am hoping the next one will be as good as the first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The second volume of Robinson's projected Mars trilogy is well up to the standards "Red Mars" set. Some generations after the end of that book, the terraforming of Mars into a world habitable for humanity is well under way. Factions on Earth and on Mars advocate every possible position, from gutting the planet's resources to leaving it virginal. The colonists are also divided along a number of other lines, including religious ones. A good many of the First Hundred from "Red Mars" are still around in the capacity of mythic mentors. Add double handfuls of exotic but well-rationalized technologies, customs, and institutions, and the resulting book can hardly be other than impressive, as impressive as Robinson's rare gift for dealing in archetypes without failing at characterization. This may well be Robinson's best book and possibly the best of the many and various our-future-on-Mars novels to date.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tedious character relationships is the common theme. Btw, use of "elegiac" is incorrect. Kim likes to show off his thesaurus often that someone got him for his birthday. I wish someone still wrote hard scifi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
no wonder he has been awarded by his piers the hugo award so many times. one of the finest scifi writers of our time. all the books in the series will leave you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story has science,sociology and a top notch story line.It is seldom that every aspect of life is included in a story.Two thumbs up !
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