Basswood's Reviews > Green Mars

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

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Read in December, 2008

I would recommend this book, as I would 'Red Mars' (the first in the trilogy – I haven't read the final book yet). In many ways it is thought provoking and highly enjoyable to read. At times it is hard difficult to put down – what happens next? – yet at others it can drag; especially in relation to the descriptions of martian geography and geology, which I have to admit are not a specialty or particular interest of mine.

Whilst I applaud the character based approach to epic storytelling and greatly admire the decision to focus on the character's disparate emotional lives and interactions, at times their literary representation simply does not do them justice.  On occasions the prose slips too far into simply narrating their inner existences, rather than embodying them through the text (admittedly a tall order...). Perhaps connected to this issue is also the sense that the characters sometimes exist more to articulate particular emotional and political responses to situations and viewpoints than as rounded beings in their own right. There are times when the dialogue seems stilted and cliched in this respect (especially for individuals who have known each other for so long). An example – the conversation between Sax and Coyote (towards the end of the 'Sax' section of the book), where the author's desire to articulate philosophical and political viewpoints seems to totally override natural and believable duologue.

That all said, I really did enjoy this book and it captured my imagination during the time I was reading it. My final thought would be the suggestion that perhaps the trilogy would be a good subject for an epic HBO series adaptation – do they do adaptations? I suggest this because, with sufficient length (it would need at least two series per book) and budget, both the human drama and aesthetic vision of Kim Stanley Robinson's Martian epic could be wonderfully conveyed; in addition, representation in a dramatic medium might help rectify the occasional weaknesses of characterisation and dialogue.
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Kiley I'm reading this now, and so far, Basswood, your review is right on the money. Very enjoyable, but a bit of a drag in the (overly abundant) martin geology sections. Well said!

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