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Blue Mars

(Mars Trilogy #3)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  25,555 ratings  ·  821 reviews
The red planet is red no longer, as Mars has become a perfectly inhabitable world. But while Mars flourishes, Earth is threatened by overpopulation and ecological disaster. Soon people look to Mars as a refuge, initiating a possible interplanetary conflict, as well as political strife between the Reds, who wish to preserve the planet in its desert state, and the Green "ter ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 768 pages
Published July 1997 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Ltd. (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Henry Avila
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
An independent Mars but not a peaceful one, Blue Mars, blue skies, a great , stormy, huge , Martian North Sea, of the same color, turning salty, fish swimming below, birds flying above, animals roaming around the land, majestic trees growing on beautiful hills, sparkling rivers gently flowing by, magnificent green vegetation everywhere on shore, dark clouds that cause showers to pour down, howling winds over 150 miles a hour, making powerful waves crash on pretty little fishing villages and reso ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the hardest to rate of all three in the trilogy. Why? Because it's also the best in the trilogy.

Let's start at the beginning:
The final volume picks up shortly after the end of the second. There is another revolution, this one slightly more successful thanks to Earth being flooded with problems (see what I did there? ;P). However, violent outbursts such as the Reds firing missiles at the new elevator are thwarted. A delicate balance is established that, through the course of the boo
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first two novels in the Mars trilogy were pretty much a tight mix of colonization, politics, SO MUCH GREAT SCIENCE, and fairly interesting characterizations pretty much designed to carry the sprawling expanse of what MARS is more than anything else.

Let's put it this way, and careful, because here comes a spoiler, but...

Mars is the main character. :)

The third novel has relatively little action in it, but that's okay.

There's a new constitution being hammered out for the fascinating experiment
Michael Finocchiaro
[SPOILERS POSSIBLE BELOW, however, if you have come this far in Robinson's Mars Trilogy, there is little here that is really all that surprising.]

So, I suppose I can be a bit more open and explicit about my likes and dislikes of the Mars Trilogy now that I finished Blue Mars.
Science Geekout - For my inner geek, there was certainly a lot to enjoy overall. The concept of terraforming (and in this last book, colonizing the rest of the accessible solar system), fusion technology for space tra
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review of Blue Mars is in fact a review of the entire trilogy, since it's one continuous story -- one that altogether weighs in at something around 2,300 pages. I've been living on Mars for the last 3 months and wish that, if it were possible, I could actually live there, at least the Mars portrayed in these books. It's certainly not a series for everybody -- all those lots of pages are filled with lots of science, lots of politics and political theory, and lots of philosophy.

However, for

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and beca
Ambitious and flawed, but still very special

The lengthy time it took me to finish this lengthy final volume in the monumental Mars Trilogy was mostly due to the fact that my reading schedule has been severely truncated lately. However, I will also say that this was the weakest of the three books in the trilogy, with a bit too much material that felt like a travelogue padding it.

Having said that, though, I am still very happy that I read the whole trilogy, which remains an incredibly ambitious an
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
There’s lots left to the imagination but quite a satisfying ending to this epic story nonetheless.

There were parts that dragged and sometimes I think that this book simply served as a place for KSR to satisfy his itch to expostulate on his research into fascinating subjects like memory, politics, biology and the like. But I’m kind of a nerd and KSR does a great job of making it really interesting even if it contributes absolutely nothing to the plot/story.

I could’ve lived without the extended
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: My worst enemy.
The science is great. I don't agree with all of it, but who am I to say? I would equate his use of science as a literary device to Asimov, except Robinson uses science that is reasonable within humanities grasp. The science is the real strength of this book and series. It is outstanding.

His moving from character to character throughout all three books worked well. No points lost there.

The real problem with this series and especially this book was that, even though parts of it were fascinating, p
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

This last volume couldn't suck me in like the other two did. But it is still an impressive undertaking filled with understandable musings about a wide variety of scientific areas.
Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is a glorious beast. It is one of the most extraordinary science fiction epics I have ever read. Vast and complex and meticulously researched, character-driven but interplanetary in scope, gritty, political, beautiful, inventive, and always surprising. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me shiver in awe.

So why only three stars for Blue Mars, the final installment?


Blue Mars is set after the colonization struggles of Red Mars and the political uph
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
There’s something of ‘after the lord mayor’s parade’ about this volume. After the revolution of the last volume, I was hoping for something of civil war in this. For the bulk of the narrative though it’s just a lot of characters figuring out what Mars means to them; which although well written, lacks a certain drama. For instance, there’s a long section about blight attacking the potato crop of one of the major characters. Now, if you were actually farming on Mars, that's no doubt a problem whic ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: maps, science-fiction
"Here we are." A genre, if not a literary tour de force. Blue Mars concludes nearly 2000 pages of Robinson's middle 1990s future history of the settling and development of Mars. While Robinson strays close to the border of ridiculous social commentary a la Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, most readers will identify his monumental achievement chronicling the physics, chemistry, biology--and, yes, even the psychology and politics of his brave new world.

That said, Robinson cut
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every now and then I stumble across a truly inspired book. This is one of them. One of three, actually, as it is the last in a trilogy, starting with “Red Mars” and continuing with “Green Mars”. Colonists come to Mars and transform it into a liveable world, while trying not to make the same mistakes as Earth did. Beautifully written, great characterisations. Mars comes to life, it’s almost like reading poetry. I felt really bad after finishing it, because I had to part with this great story.
Too much politics and not enough science for my tastes.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful and endlessly fascinating exploration on comprehensive set of themes from humanity's collective sociopolitical issues to individual experiences on human condition, scientific speculation, and the marvel of nature.

Whole of the series has been a captivating vision and a pleasantly intellectual read. Leaving me most excited to continue with more of Stanley Robinson's work.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
Back in my drinking days, I would occasionally wake up next to someone I was sorry to find there, but I would still make them breakfast out of some sense of obligation. Misplaced empathy; too-long-delayed sobriety; vestigial chivalry; call it what you will. Reading Blue Mars was a lot like one of those breakfasts. I had enjoyed myself with book one and part of book two; this was just playing out the string. After I got rid of the novel, I lost its phone number and went to different bars for a co ...more
Dawn C
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
Just finished the Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy. The third books definitely didn’t let up, but took the story, their dilemmas and the characters to a new level. I was quite sad to let them go by the end, I could have read about them forever, I think. This has definitely been one of the most profound and fascinating works I’ve ever read, heavily focused on socio- and geopolitics, science and medicine, with long chapters of debate and moral exploration. Just like I love my scifi.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets indicate some additional information for the sake of readability). It is one of my lost reviews.

This volume of the Mars Trilogy departs from its predecessors in one tremendous leap -- this is a work of philosophy and politics before it is a story. And th
Megan Baxter
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I just don't even know where to start with this book. There are so many parts of it that aggravated me nearly to the point of distraction, and then there would be a part that was pretty good, and then there would be frustration again, and sometimes I'd want to tear characters out of the book and throttle them. Is it really that bad? Or is it just that I am far too aggravated by what is really a defining feature of many of Robinson's characters in many of his books?

Note: The rest of this review h
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The characters of The Mars series are much like Martian volcanoes: flat and shallow at first glance, with little expectation beyond the short horizon. But the horizon deceives, and that gradual slope in development results in a surge that extends miles into the atmosphere. That surge occurs in this third installment, Blue Mars, and leaves the reader gaping into the enormous depths of jagged human emotions.

It’s not that KSR intended for his characters to appear two-dimensional in the first instal
Genia Lukin
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
More than a review of the book itself, this is a brief review of the whole trilogy.

In Red Mars robinson sends his crew of highly-cold-war-themed characters to the Promised La-- I mean, to Mars, where humanity can begin a new era of terraforming, colonization, and all-around awesomeness. But as soon as they arrive there, the colonists, all of them Spacefaring Badasses (except the radical Christian) decide that they wish to establish a New and Utopic Society, and that they deserve, nay, are oblige
Robin Wiley
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, life-changer
For me, this trilogy is one of those life-changing books - something you talk about, and think about years later. If we ever go to Mars - this is the way it should be done. For those of you not familiar with Kim Stanley Robinson, his science is so grounded in real, hard, current science - it's called future history.

For those of you scared of sci-fi being too boring - much like that physics class you hated - relax. Robinson gives you the basic idea, without pages to describe just how a particula
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This final part ends one of the most complex sci-fi series I have ever read. The accent here is put on the development of the natives, their society and also on the their relationship with Earth and the new colonized planets.

It is not a light read, however, the way KSR imagined the development on Mars is highly interesting, with the focus not on action but on characters, which are analyzed in great detail.

Some will find it boring, but it depends on what your expectations are: if you expect great
Rachel (Kalanadi)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, utopia, fiction
This final instalment of the Mars trilogy was published in 1996, which makes it all the more audacious and impressive that Kim Stanley Robinson thoroughly dismisses globalised capitalism as unstable and archaic. In ‘Blue Mars’, he evokes a postcapitalist Martian economy consisting of co-ops, universal basic income, and gifting. By this point in the trilogy, the reader know what to expect: a narrative focused not on big dramatic events, but on environmental change, scientific discovery, and polit ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the final volume of Mars trilogy. Each volume was highly praised, this one won both Hjugo and Locus for the Best novel in 1997. I read is as a part of Buggy read of the trilogy in December 2019 at SciFi and Fantasy Book Club group.

The book starts where Green Mars has ended: Mars proclaimed its independence and Earth is in turmoil, caused chiefly by the great flood, but more generally by treatments that greatly increase active lifespan, as the author puts it, the Hypermalthusian Age. Mars
The final book of the Mars Trilogy continues the story of the first settlers some 150+ years after their initial landing on the red planet. Unlike the first two, there are no vast planet changing terraforming events in this book, more a continuation and an examination of the consequences of the previous actions. (Which is good as one of my criticisms of Green Mars was that it ended almost the same as Red Mars.) All the endless talk of political, economic and environmental themes made the book qu ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Mars is free now. We're on our own. No one tells us what to do."
- Opening lines of Blue Mars

(See a longer, more philosophical version of this review on my blog)

Blue Mars confirms it: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy has ascended to my personal pantheon of science fiction series. It's up there with Frank Herbert's Dune series, Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, Octavia Butler's Earthseed Duology, Ursula Le Guin's Hainish Cycle, and the Culture series of Iain M. Banks. Like these other masterpi
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I read my friend Trish's review on Goodreads ( and found myself agreeing with her on a lot of it, but she liked it more than I did. I find it to be a far superior review and won't waste my time or yours when you can simply read hers.

Perhaps it is because I didn't read the second? Also many of the characters from Red Mars were dead and I didn't like their bratty offspring. The hippie-dippy political/economics world view coupled in with completely odd bits
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Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, probably best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy.

His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the 15 years of research and lifelong fascination with Mars which culminated in his most famous work. He has, due to his

Other books in the series

Mars Trilogy (3 books)
  • Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)
  • Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, #2)

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