Saturday, January 20, 2001

Title: Blue Mars
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: Voyager

Blue Mars is the conclusion of Kim Stanley Robinson's Martian Trilogy, which sees the Martian colony coming to terms with the successful revolution that ended Green Mars, after the failure of the one which brought Red Mars to an end. Fighters struggle to come to terms with being the new government, or surplus to current requirements. The new government has to deal with the people who them there in the first place, staying true to the revolution and the agreements hammered out in its aftermath. People who remain fiercely independent and suspicious of all government involvement - defiant still. All the while compromise has to be reached with Earth still envious of Mars' apparent resource, still struggling with environmental disaster.

In some ways Blue Mars takes a different pace as the characters have nothing to struggle against in the way they did before - all problems becoming more subtle for all their remaining significance. Which lends the narrative a different feel from the previous volumes - allowing us in some ways to experience the jolt that accompanies the sudden loss of momentum. Going from adrenalin to sedation with negotiation - though with progression Blue Mars settles in and we once more feel engaged by this work.

As with the other books in this story Kim Stanley Robinson covers a large period of time - in doing so covering generations and extending the lives of his principal characters further. But in doing so deals with realities, the anti-ageing treatments failing to combat all ills - as memory problems and sudden death spread amongst the really old. This leads to further research and science, along with reflection on the past and how all this affects people. Once again allowing Kim Stanley Robinson's to build a story that combines people with his science fiction.

January 2001

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