Sunday, May 20, 2001

Title: Icehenge
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: Voyager

Icehenge is a curious book. It has a lot of the mannerisms of Robinson's Mars trilogy - even to the point where a hefty fraction of the book is set on Mars or relates to Martian citizens. But it doesn't have the same scope as that trilogy and in some ways ends up with a more detached feeling. Which makes it a little harder to get into.

The book is split into three sections, each being the journal notes of the character involved. Which again adds to the abstractness of it at times, because how that character is involved isn't necessarily immediately clear - though with progression it does becomes clear. The story starts with a hijacked ship - caught at the centre of the Martian revolution; using the upheaval to steal gear and make a break for deep space. The revolution is quickly crushed and the Martian council work a revisionist policy covering up the past.

The next two sections present two takes on this from a future trying to understand what really happened in that period of Martian history - which given the increased life spans of the human race is relevant to the present of those still alive. The way the two remaining sections unfold reveal different truths about the past and the evidence that has been left - uncovering conspiracies and hoaxes in a subtle manner. The manner of the narrative in journal format manages to offer little hint of what the real story is. Even by the end questions remain as to what happened, if anything...

May 2001

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