Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

The last of the trilogy. With Mars terraformed, the few remaining first hundred and their native born successors are faced with more political challenges from an over crowded and envious earth, and fundamental decisions as to how to make the most of their independence when there are such a range of views amongst the martian communities.

Not as dry as it sounds – and I really enjoyed seeing the characters and situations evolving over a further century (thank heavens for the longevity treatment, even if it is an easy fix….). The only thread left dangling loose: what did happen to Hiroko? link: Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

Not as immediately gripping at Red Mars, but it only took one section for that to change.

We meet the second generation of the Mars settlers, the first generation to be true “martians”, born and bred on Mars, and get to know some of the original settlers a bit better. The story takes us through the years from the unsuccessful revolution of 2061, to the successful uprising 60 or so years later, a period during which the temperature continues to rise and the vegetation thrives, turning red Mars green. On Earth, population growth continues, pressure on space and resources intensifies, and sea levels rise.

More marvellous “future history”. Blue Mars already underway…. link: Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

Excellent sci fi from Kim Stanley Robinson, and the first of his Mars trilogy.

Red Mars is about the colonisation of Mars, initially by a team of 100, the creme de la creme of science and engineering drawn from around the world (Earth!). Kim Stanley Robinson delves deep into the social and political developments that surround and affect the initial expedition, not just on Mars but back on Earth too. As events unfold over several decades we get to see both how people develop and the changes they make to Mars, together with those that are forced upon them.

Although there is plenty of technology and science, it isn’t dry sci fi or robots taking over the world or galactic empires doing battle. It’s a convincing account of what might happen, how people will behave and why – not just as individuals but as groups / organisations / businesses / governments – and (at many levels) of the new world they live in, all set in the early decades of the 21st century.

This review doesn’t really do justice to the book, particularly the scale, the scope and the thinking that has gone into it. However, one Amazon review puts it beautifully:

“”Red Mars” is so realistic that it almost reads like a work of narrative history documenting events that have taken place many years ago.” Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

The Years of Rice and Salt – Kim Stanley Robinson

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel meets SciFi/Fantasy – my two favourite fictional genres! A good borrow from Phil.

As the blurb on the back said, “Imagine a world without Europe….”

…. or more accurately a world where the population of Europe is almost entirely wiped out by the Plague in the Middle Ages. Focussing key people, eras and events, Kim Stanley Robinson describes the next 600 or so years (it’s hard to keep track of where “we”‘d got to in his timeline) and conducts a huge thought experiment over the course of 800 pages.

It would have been useful to know that “Extra continuity is given by a touch of fantasy as the Buddhist wheel of reincarnation brings back the same characters (coded by initials) again and again with varied roles, relations and sexes.”

Buy it: Amazon link