Dale's Reviews > Blue Mars

Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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's review
Mar 01, 11

really liked it
Read from February 03 to 18, 2011

Robinson's Mars trilogy finishes up strong as the logical progression of the novels leaves behind the era of exploration and colonization and heads into the realms of government formation, resource management, and medical research. All of these aspects of society are interwoven with the futuristic, sci-fi trappings of the series and its premise, but Robinson manages to pull off a really interesting trick in that the longer the trilogy goes on, the less and less life on Mars seems alien and the more it speaks to human universals. Partly this is because at a plot-driven level the terraforming of Mars - literally making it more hospitably Earth-like - is a compelling element of the series, but the shift goes deeper than that. In Red Mars, Robinson introduces the idea of genetic longevity treatments which greatly extend the human lifespan, which seems like a convenient way to allow the same set of characters who first colonize Mars to continue to be the protagonists over more than a century of events throughout the trilogy. But by the end of Blue Mars, the longevity treatment itself is foregrounded as characters deal with issues at ages north of 200 such as memory loss, or excessive emotional baggage, or deeply probed questioning into the fundamental purpose of life - all things which, on a slightly different scale, can resonate with anyone. For all the jargon-buttressed world building in which the trilogy indulges, with highly technical chapters on interplanetary travel and geology (or more accurately areology) and so on, in the end Blue Mars is about coming to terms with being humana nd living life, and acquits itself very well on those counts.

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