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Solving humankinds problem - the Martian way!
on 27 October 2001
Mars is now a green and fertile world thanks to the terraforming-efforts made in the previous two books of the trilogy. The conflict between the pro-terraforming "greens" and the militant "Reds", wanting to preserve Mars, first described in "Red Mars", and the struggle between the Earth-based super-corporations started in "Green Mars" is still omnipresent as the story enters its third century with "Blue Mars". But as the planet strives for independence a third facet comes into focus - should the colony confront the future alone, with minimum contact with Earth, or should the planetary congress seek to aid their former adversary in its battle for survival against a disastrous flood, threatening to collapse the entire planet and possibly dragging Mars down in the fall.
What distinguishes Kim Stanley Robinson's work is his great focus on the socio-economic issues of the future: The power of Mega-corporations vs. civil rights and democracy, healthy environmental concern vs. radical militant "ecoterrorism", longevity-treatments vs. natural lifespans and so on. In Blue Mars these conflicts are in particularly seen in the context of how they're solved in both the Martian and the Terrestrial societies.
Personally I'm very fond of Kim Stanley Robinson's thought provoking style and I often find myself spending loads of time rethinking the "what-ifs" the book deal with. Blue Mars is my favourite in the trilogy - mostly because it has the longest horizons and deals with the entire humanity and so it feels more like a future vision that affects me - but you should give the entire trilogy a chance - It raises such an amazing array of questions that you just can't help thinking of a lot of issues in the context of the book. As it says on the cover of the book "it should be mandatory reading for the Martian settlers of the next century", but nevertheless everyone planning to stay down here ought to examine it as well.