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Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Jan 12, 12

Read from November 10, 2011 to January 12, 2012

These three books form a single narrative spanning nearly two hundred years of human colonization and terraformation on Mars. It is a sprawling epic, ponderous and magnificent, charting the development of a uniquely Martian civilization from the earliest landings through wars, revolutions and waves of immigration on the face of a rapidly changing planet.

But make no mistake: for all of the drama, the triumphs and disasters, there is in fact very little “action,” and that usually reported with journalistic detachment. The story is told through the eyes of a massive cast of characters, but while Robinson’s characterization is excellent, this is hardly a character-driven story, unless you count the Red planet itself. If it’s space opera or melodrama you want, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

At heart, this story is a love song to Mars and the dream of human expansion into space, wrapped in a sociological thought experiment of immense scale. As such, it’s more Tolstoy than Dostoyevsky, but like the works of both of those masters, it remains shockingly relevant. Indeed, against the backdrop of today’s political climate, characterized by corporate influence, reactionary cultural polarization and the nascent Occupy movement, it is downright topical.
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