Greens Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Green Mars is the second book in Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. My thoughts on the first book are here.
I haven’t got to the third book, obviously, but this book seems like a middle book should be- things are happening, but not at the pace of the first. There’s a lot in here that reads like it’s a setup for the final book where presumably all the conflicts in the first two will be solved.
At this point in the series, there is still an ongoing conflict between those who want to make Mars fully habitable by humans and those who want to keep it as much in its original state as possible. The latter are clearly losing- Mars now has an almost breathable atmosphere, liquid water on the surface and plants growing outside of the domed cities. But they haven’t given up.
It’s an interesting discussion to have- what degree is it ethical to terraform a planet that has no biological life? I don’t know. As someone who loves the desert, I can imagine Mars as a beautiful place in its current state. I probably wouldn’t want to live there though.
There’s also the question of who will govern Mars. The first book closed with an unsuccessful revolution, with the revolutionaries scattered and demoralized. The survivors of that revolution are in constant conflict with the young people born after the revolution who are eager for another fight.
I like this part, maybe because Americans love to throw around the idea of having another revolution. Don’t like some new law? REVOLUTION! I have only lived in 2 countries as an adult, so I don’t have much to go on, but I don’t remember anyone in Japan, ever, not even on TV, suggesting revolution for any reason. It’s just not done.
I know we had one successful revolution in America so maybe people think it’s just something you do. I’ve tried to point out to people that there is an important distinction between a war of independence and a war to replace your government. That the track records of these two things are wildly different. But back to the book.
I enjoyed that discussion. Some of the other discussions I wasn’t so interested in- what kind of religion Mars people might create, what kind of economic system could they come up with to replace capitalism, what kind of political organization they would have. It’s not that I never find these things interesting, I just don’t really care for them in novel form. To each their own.