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on 10 April 2017
Easy to by on Amazon. Story is slow to start with a mix of politics as well as SF. Does include long lists of items I felt was point less.I gets better the more you get into it.
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on 7 November 2017
It was a bit long winded. There was a lot of fantastically researched detail in all three books that added nothing to the story. It would be a much better read with a good bit of editing and the chronology conveyed in a much clearer way instead of how blue the sky was getting or millibars or kelvin.
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on 28 March 2017
Such a good trilogy! Especially if you're into science, design, technology, and space!
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on 12 September 2017
First two parts were magnificent but the third part meandered purposelessly along and I only stuck with it due to previous investment in characters (not at least of which is the planet itself). Will reread without doubt but might skip blue.
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on 15 April 2015
Half way through and i'm enjoying it.
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on 9 April 2016
I used to read hard science fiction back the 1980s. I liked Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle etc.Their muscular individualism always grated a bit, though it was fun. There is a line in Niven in which a character says something like: 'He always lived as if the Universe was out to try to kill him'. It has an easy appeal as a way of thinking for a character or philosophical position, but it is not very sophisticated, nor even observant about how we all actually behave or how history happens.
The Mars Trilogy brings intelligence, complexity and rounded psychology to hard science fiction.
The criticisms I have seen here and elsewhere online about these books actually give away what is brilliant about this work.
Some say it is too full of nerdy science. Some say it is 'a soap opera', about characters and people's love lives rather than a proper piece of science fiction. Some say it is too political and full of theory.
It is all of these things - and therefore none of them. That is the point.
If you can only see one or two of these themes/styles then you are missing its brilliance.
This trilogy is about how all of these things interact and define and determine each other. To think of human lives or human history as having a single thread or single 'cause' is reductive. The nature of the world, particularly the human world, is emergent - it has qualities that are more than the sum of their parts and cannot be reductively deduced.
What is driving the history of Mars? People? Scientific discovery? Social forces beyond our grasp? Sheer physical forces of environment?
And can people really control any of these things? Can they choose who they are? Can they change their personality or the politics of their society? Can they change the entire ecology/geology of their world?
And if they can, should they?
And yes this is a leftish book. It is in a significant way an engagement with Marxism, environmentalism, capitalism, democracy and just about any other grand narrative of humanity. It engages with them all via popular culture (science fiction) and via postmodern culture - because of its refusal to accept that history can be explained by a single theory, while at then same time demonstrating that all have their place. (A bit of glib definition but that will do.)
If you are interested in politics and philosophy and human character, sexuality, science, technology, the vast scale of geological time, religion, myth and urban myth. If you are open to the idea that all of these things come together to create the human experience and yet no single one of them is the real cause or determinant to which all the others are secondary; and if you want to feel for the lives of characters like in a soap opera and yet at the same time feel the path of history and the importance of ideas...
Oh forget it... if what I have just written sounds like pretentious BS to you, don't read these books....
If it doesn't - then you will love them.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 March 2017
On 21 December 2026, one hundred of earth’s most skilled engineers and scientists begin a nine-month long journey to Mars. It’s a joint American-Russian undertaking, aimed at establishing a permanent scientific outpost on Mars with a view to possible settlement and colonisation. It’s one way to solve a number of serious overcrowding and other problems on the Earth.

In the first novel (‘Red Mars’), much of the debate/discussion is centred around the fate of Mars. The physicist Saxifrage ‘Sax’ Russell advocates a ‘Green’ position: arguing for the immediate and rapid terraforming of Mars to make it more suitable for human occupation. The geologist Ann Clayborne advocates a ‘Red’ position: arguing that Mars should be preserved in an undisturbed state. I found their debates are fascinating, even though some of the technical discussion forced me out of the novel to seek clarification of some of the terms. I loved the descriptions, the colours, the sheer size of the landscape.

And then, there are a series of disasters.

The second novel, (‘Green Mars’), picks up the story some fifty years later. While many of the ‘First Hundred’ are now dead, there are now children and grandchildren as well as those who have survived. The multinational/transnational control of Mars has sparked unrest. Corporations on earth seek to exploit rich mineral deposits on Mars. There are underground factions as well: those on Mars seek control over their destiny. Alongside the political machinations and the exploits and adventures of the characters, are beautiful descriptions of the Martian landscape. This book ends with a major catastrophe on Earth which has a huge impact on the importance of Mars.

The third novel, (‘Blue Mars’) follows closely after the conclusion of the second novel. Terraforming efforts, resulting in liquid water being present, help to enable Mars to become preeminent. Events on Earth diminish the power of the corporations. This novel covers a century, which allows the reader to follow both developments on Mars, and the fate of the remaining members of the ‘First Hundred’. Sadly, politics and intrigue exist on Mars as they did on Earth, and despite the wonderful scientific achievements enabling Mars to be inhabited, it seems that existing problems have been imported. Will we ever learn?

By the end of the trilogy, the longevity of characters (thanks to the development of a gerontological treatment) has potential to have a significant impact on population growth. Believable or not, it enables us to follow the key characters for more than two hundred years. Also, by the end of the trilogy, humanity has colonies across the solar system, and is looking beyond.

I enjoyed this trilogy, and I intend to reread it. Mr Robinson has created a detailed Martian world and while I sometimes became lost in the detail, I could appreciate the whole. At times the behaviour of some of the characters frustrated me, but I can just imagine the mono-focus of individuals who believe that they are right and acting in the best interests of both planet and people. Many of the characters are interesting, especially Arkady, Ann, Nadia and Sax. While we have access to their internal viewpoints, we also see them through the eyes of others. Some viewpoints may be more reliable than others.

I finished the last page thinking that the colonisation of Mars as written in this trilogy could well be possible, but probably not in my (normal mortal) lifetime.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2005
"Blue Mars" continues direstly from where "Green Mars" left off. The Martians have gained their independence from Earth and now set about establishing new forms of government and developing their own way of life, rather than have it decided for them by the Terran meta-nationals. The book focuses heavily on the actions of the remnants of the First Hundred, such as Sax,Ann,Maya and Nadia plus new characters like Zo and Nirgal.
"Blue Mars" as the title suggests is set on a fully terraformed Mars. The atmosphere has thickened and heated up and the ice seas have melted and created a hydrosphere similar to Earth. The masks and walkers have now been disposed of. The scientific substance of the book now concentrates on developing the longevity treatment, ecopoesis and the psychological difficulties of coping with living for 200 years plus.
I didn't find "Blue Mars" to be as fascinating and exciting as the first two books of the trilogy and was a bit overlong. Perhaps that was due to over familiarity with the setting and characters and it was only when Nirgal and Zo featured heavily that "Blue Mars" had a character of its own and came to life , but unfortunately most of the book concentrated on the First Hundred whose lifes work was more or less complete by the end of "Green Mars". I would have liked to have read more about "The Accelerando" instead. I also didn't like the prolonged ending to "Blue Mars"; I thought it was lacking in impact somewhat and didn't bring the Trilogy to the spectacular end it deserved.
However "Blue Mars" is still a wonderful book, full of impressive and credible scientific detail, and if Mars is to be colonised then this trilogy is a perfect guidebook for its terraformation. However the timeframe for the colonisation set out by Robinson is slightly over-optimistic I think ; maybe by a hundred years or so. I cant see antelope roaming the forests of Mars until the 23rd Century at least ! Although technology is advancing all the time.
As I read through the Mars Trilogy, I couldnt help but think that science, in its entirety, the geology,biology,physics,chemistry and all its subdivisions , is nothing more than Man progressively trying to get into the mind of God, to be God. They are a very humanist and rationalist series of novels, however they promote a form of intellectual elitism. Science is worshipped,science can provide the answers to everything and highly intelligent elitists know best. There is no room for religion or the supernatural in this vision.
"Blue Mars" is a must read for those who have read the first two books, it would be incomprehensible if you haven't. It is a fitting conclusion to a remarkable series of novels. It is also easy to read ; I raced through its 800 pages in 9 days, so theres no excuse for not reading the whole series now !
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on 21 March 2000
Writing the trilogy must have required huge amounts of research. I applaud KSR for his efforts. However, I cannot applaud him for the significant lack of plot in this book. This book spends a large part of its 700+ pages describing landscapes and the way of life of a number of individual characters.
Most of the more interesting events are related in an almost second-hand fashion and largely glossed over as his characters amble through their lives. You start to wonder why these characters are in the book other than to give you a feeling of being there.
KSR had the opportunity to write a tight, gripping plot about the social, economic, environmental and political issues facing those on Mars. Instead he wrote about the neuroses of his characters as they grow old gazing at numerous multi-coloured sunsets. On the whole this book is aimless, overly long and without any significant direction.
As a bedtime read I could only ever manage a couple of pages before nodding off.
I cannot recommend this book if you are looking for a gripping page-turner. If you want a sedate tour of Martian landscapes and sunsets with no real action then this book is for you.
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on 17 June 2005
On the US mirror site, the usual tedious carping from groupthinking right-wingers that accompanied 'RED' and 'GREEN' has been accompanied by a significant strand of criticism for the slow pace and meandering structure of the final volume of KSRs astonishing 'Mars' trilogy.
Granted, slowing down an already fairly ponderous narrative to a contemplative near-halt is a counterintuitive move, but consider the following:
1) Anyone not ready for a big, slow, character driven journey where literary style is as important as driving plot should have given up halfway through 'RED'. Why continue catering for them?
2) How much more disappointing would it have been if, having shown us the struggle to build a living world, the author fails to describe how people actually live in it?
I think this is what the final trilogy does - which is why the actual plot points sometimes feel a little forced - certainly the mild political wrangling that goes on doesn't deserve the same sort of treatment as the revolutionary fervour of the first two books. Presumably there was more than a little editorial pressure to add at least a little bit of direction - personally I could have done without it, and would have been just as happy with a series of incidents - vignettes showing the fascinating characters in the series enjoying (or otherwise) the fruits of their sacrifices while a new generation expands upon their work.
As to the sudden expansion of human colonisation - the 'Accelerando' - well, Stan's been so good about keeping everything within our own scientific horizons. Why not allow him a few flights of fancy? Remember, also, that this is two hundred years into our future - think back to the early 1800s. In any case, it allows him to have a happy ending on the cosmic as well as the personal scale. While the most tragic character - Ann, who saw so much of what she loved destroyed - finally achieves a rapprochement with the new Mars, we watch humanity overcoming its limitations, learning to grow without destroying everything around it and finding a thousand ways to live and work together. At its best, Science Fiction can express a profound, humanist vision that counteracts the pettiness of everyday life in a truly mind-expanding way - and this trilogy is Science Fiction at its very, very best.
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