After I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 I knew I wanted to read more of his work and I finally got around to reading more. Red Mars is the first in his Mars trilogy and I loved it. Humans have made it to Mars and are now ready to start colonizing it, so they send 100 people, all scientists, to be the first to live there and create a colony.
Of course the reason for going to Mars is that Earth is completely overpopulated and running out of the things we humans need to survive. Many see Mars as a way to get more minerals and make money to help Earth survive. The first 100 are all of various disciplines of science and we learn about them as we follow their journey to Mars and what they do there, especially after more people start to arrive. The United Nations is overseeing everything with treaties, but of course the old politics come into all the decisions made on Mars about how to move forward.
The first big battle is about terraforming or not and the battles only increase from there. As more and more people arrive life gets harder. Life on Mars is already incredibly difficult, you can’t just walk outside, everything is quite fragile, so when people start to get upset and strike and such, it’s fairly easy to really harm people quite easily.
The hope in the story comes from a group that leaves the first 100 and disappears to build their own life. Those folks are trying, in earnest, to find a new way to live without the old baggage and while you don’t quite see where that’s going at the end of the book, I have a feeling it will be important in the series overall.
The amazing thing about KSR’s writing is how he always leaves me feeling hopeful, even when things aren’t going well. I’ve already started reading the next installment in the series and am intrigued where this is going to go.
A few lines that jumped out to me as I read.
Beauty was the promise of happiness, not happiness itself….
…[B]ut being the consciousness of the universe does not mean turning it all into a mirror image of us. It means rather fitting into it as it is, and worshiping it with our attention.