Red MarsMarch 17, 2015
This is one of piece of sci-fi that deserves to be on my all time favorite. There might be a bias in my review here, because I tend to like solar-system sci-fi. Maybe because it is closer to home, and we can relate better to it.
The story begins with the “first-one-hundred”, 50 men and women that will be the first permanent colonist in Mars, selected among the best mind on Earth, to form the first permanent human settlement in Mars, and be there for good.
The book is a bit of a collection of closely related short-stories, each of them has different narrator and point of view. It makes this book quite interesting this way, because you see different kind of truth from different beholders.
The book can be a bit boring in some part, especially the technical and geological part (hey, it is not like we are familiar with the maps of Mars!)
There are plenty of things in this books: environmentalism, prolonged life, international politics, theology, transnational capitalism, exploration, and of course TERRAFORMING! I definitely am going to major in Terraforming if it is available right now in the university.
The science part in this novel is also very interesting, even though it might not be plausible. Come on guys, it is a fiction, not a handbook guide to Mars! There are some parts worth mentioning: automatic robot construction, martian storm, and of course SPACE ELEVATORS! I wish I could see a space elevator before I die, but I think it is a long-shot.
Wonders how it might look like? Here it is:
The concept itself might not be created by Kim Stanley Robinson (the first idea might be coined by Arthur C. Clark in The Fountains of Paradise), but still the depiction in this novel is very interesting, both the technical and the economical impact. And since it can created a really cheap means of travel to the geosynchronous orbit (or in the story areosynchronous orbit, that is the analog of martian to earth orbit, you landlubber!), even NASA consider it. Check it out here:NASA space elevator
But I think the best part in this novel is the questions asked. The questions is the best what-if scenario that is the hallmark of a good sci-fi. What will happened if we have surpassed the Earth support system (the Maltusian)? What would life be if we can actually live up to 200 years old? Will the colonization of Mars actually repeat the mistake in the earlier colonization of the New World? These kind of questions really make us think, and that is why I give this novel a FIVE STAR.