Robin Wiley's Reviews > Green Mars

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Mar 20, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: life-changer, love-it-more-than-puppies, sci-fi

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 particular engine works. For those of you sick of Star Trek solutions - Reconfigure the tri-corders or the dilithium crystal and BAM - problem solved! I swear you will feel satisfied.

How would you decide how many people to send? How would you choose who goes? How would you design the ship so it would keep your settlers (cuz they are not coming back) alive, and sane for the 6 month trip? How would you design the ship so at least parts of it can be used immediately upon landing for something useful? Once you land, how does the human brain handle 1000 new colors that are ALL warm (yellow - purple) and NO cool colors. No blues or greens...ever. How do you MAKE water, and oxygen, and heat? What do you do to earn your money, or your food once you get there? How do you create rules, and a government in this completely alien place? How long would it take before you decided Earth's laws and rules no longer applied?

These are the questions he explores, discusses and answers.

If you like to think about stuff like this - start reading and make yourself a happy human. If "thinkin" ain't your thing - walk away slowly and no one will get hurt. John Carter this is not. You are participating in the dialogue, even if you are just watching the action. So this is a book for those who want to ponder, brood, wonder, think, debate and discuss.

What's to love?

ACTION - biblical-size natural disasters on Mars and Earth, and a revolution.
DESCRIPTION - lot's and lots and lots, but the scale is so HUGE it's cool. Instead of Grand Canyon, think Marinaras Trench, but not under the ocean.
CHARACTERS - Great! These people had to endure a year of isolated, highly-monitored living in a confined space to get a ticket on the spaceship. But think about it, what kind of people would want to do that - no family, no friends - move to Mars, face possible death, not come back. Just think about it. Bottom line - these are not mainstream, balanced people.
CREATION - creating a new world, new economic systems, new politics, new ecosystems, new species, new religions, new science. Every civilization is a possibility of what you can have, and an example of what you should dismiss. What would you do?

What's not so fun?

Sometimes the Tolkein-size descriptions of the landscape are too much. Skim a little here and there if you have to, but don't miss the EPIC size scenery, because it will stick with you forever.

Read this and for the rest of your life, you will perk up whenever someone mentions Mars. Oh, and you will have informed opinions.
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Robin Wiley 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 particular engine works. For those of you sick of Star Trek solutions - Reconfigure the tri-corders or the dilithium crystal and BAM - problem solved! I swear you will feel satisfied.

How would you decide how many people to send? How would you choose who goes? How would you design the ship so it would keep your settlers (cuz they are not coming back) alive, and sane for the 6 month trip? How would you design the ship so at least parts of it can be used immediately upon landing for something useful? Once you land, how does the human brain handle 1000 new colors that are ALL warm (yellow - purple) and NO cool colors. No blues or greens...ever. How do you MAKE water, and oxygen, and heat? What do you do to earn your money, or your food once you get there? How do you create rules, and a government in this completely alien place? How long would it take before you decided Earth's laws and rules no longer applied?

These are the questions he explores, discusses and answers.

If you like to think about stuff like this - start reading and make yourself a happy human. If "thinkin" ain't your thing - walk away slowly and no one will get hurt. John Carter this is not. You are participating in the dialogue, even if you are just watching the action. So this is a book for those who want to ponder, brood, wonder, think, debate and discuss.

What's to love?

ACTION - biblical-size natural disasters on Mars and Earth, and a revolution.
DESCRIPTION - lot's and lots and lots, but the scale is so HUGE it's cool. Instead of Grand Canyon, think Marinaras Trench, but not under the ocean.
CHARACTERS - Great! These people had to endure a year of isolated, highly-monitored living in a confined space to get a ticket on the spaceship. But think about it, what kind of people would want to do that - no family, no friends - move to Mars, face possible death, not come back. Just think about it. Bottom line - these are not mainstream, balanced people.
CREATION - creating a new world, new economic systems, new politics, new ecosystems, new species, new religions, new science. Every civilization is a possibility of what you can have, and an example of what you should dismiss. What would you do?

What's not so fun?

Sometimes the Tolkein-size descriptions of the landscape are too much. Skim a little here and there if you have to, but don't miss the EPIC size scenery, because it will stick with you forever.

Read this and for the rest of your life, you will perk up whenever someone mentions Mars. Oh, and you will have informed opinions.


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