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Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, Book 3) Hardcover – June 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Publisher : Spectra (June 1, 1996)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 609 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553101447
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553101447
- Item Weight : 1.74 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.75 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The story is sprawling, with many scenes and episodes from over a century. There are quests -- Sax pursuing Ann, Nirgal searching for his mother Hiroki, Maya wrestling with what happened with Boone and Frank in "Red Mars," and Ann being shown the new settlements on the Jovian moons and even moons of Uranus (which is a thread KSR picks up on in his later "2312"). And of course there is more politics and more ecology.
The book opens with a threat of civil war with the Reds. A Constitutional Convention is held, and the starting point is the Dorsa Brevia Conference document of the underground in "Green Mars." Nadia and Art facilitate. Nadia is eventually drafted to serve as President of the new Executive Council, and so she becomes the first President of Free Mars. Workplace democracy in workers' cooperatives is a cornerstone. Vlad, the ecologist who is one of the First Hundred, gives a speech: "If democracy and self-rule are fundamentals, then why should people give up these rights when they enter the workplace?" ... The system called capitalist democracy was not really democratic at all." (143)
Later Sax ponders politics: "After repeated experiments it had become clear -- on Mars at least -- that all these contradictory goals could be best achieved in polyarchy, a complex system in which power was distributed out to a great number of institutions. In theory, this network of distributed power, partly centralized and partly decentralized, created the greatest amount of individual freedom and collective good, by maximizing the amount of control that an invididual had over his or her life." (434)
A Martian historian of the 2170s writes a multi-volume "analytical metahistory," proposing a long-term movement from primate dominant hierarchies to democracy, and says Free Mars represents the move to a post-capitalist socioeconomic system she calls the Democratic Age, with a reduced level of hierachy on the way toward ultimate "harmony." This is a reworking of Marx's reworking of Hegel's dialectic of history, though KSR does not mention it.
A delegation from Mars (Sax, Maya, Michel the psychologist, and Nirgal) travel to Earth to work out a new Mars-Earth treaty after the Second Revolution, with Maya taking the lead. Nirgal speaks boldly for Mars helping Earth, which is in crisis. He hikes in a surprisingly ice-filled Alps, surprising since KSR has not indicated that Earth has stopped global warming, and suffers sickness since he was born on Mars, which has .38 of Earth's gravity.
Terraforming/areaforming has continued to the point of creating an ocean in the north -- Oceanus Borealis -- which covers 25% of the Martian surface. It is created through geoengineering, based on the presence of ice which can be broken up and thawed with the rising temperature. This leads to Maya taking an absurdly long boat ride on Mars.
Drawing on biology, chemistry, and ecology, soil is created. Nirgal works a plot of land at one point and we see the difficulties of Martian agriculture. We jump from lichens and tundra plants to forests and large animals including polar bears.
We see some of the new Martian ecology through Nirgal's journeys as he takes up blimp-gliding, joins a feral group, and becomes a long-distance runner.
*** *** ***
The remaining members of the First Hundred are over 200 years old by the end of "Blue Mars" thanks to Vlad's longevity treatments.
The lyrical and poignant ending sees Sax, Ann, Maya, Nadia, Art, and Nirgal peaceful and content after their long adventures.
Blue Mars ties up the trilogy very neatly: the ideas started in Red Mars continue on toward their logical ends. I find that I miss reading the arguments and adventures of what remains of the First 100(+1).
The book isn't perfect: The segments on Earth drag on, it's never explained why the scientific communities on Earth and Mars don't seem to cooperate at all, and I really would have liked to have gotten a few dozen more pages about exactly how and why Hiroko started Zygote.
I feel like we completed this long journey and it was nice to see the first 100(+1) changing over time and becoming closer as they all get older. The scene with Sax and Maya coming up with new colors was very sweet, and wouldn't have worked without the first two and a half books to make the scene work.
Nirgal seems.. listless in the book, which is kind of a shame. But it is realistic. It seemed like the author didn't know what to do with Jackie, and the only options were political assassination or "I have to leave the planet now." We were clearly supposed to dislike
All in all this was one of my favorite hard sci fi series of all time. I'll really miss everyone.
I’ve read Sci-Fi voraciously since 1964. To me, this series seems prophetic. Perhaps some of the science is a bit dated, being conceived and written in the 1990s. We know a lot more now about the dangers and challenges we may encounter in our efforts to expand our reach into our solar system.
All that not withstanding, I believe we (humanity) will overcome those obstacles. Maybe we could even learn to live together more harmoniously and efficiently, as conceived here in this series.
I believe in the power of human ingenuity and creativity. We have a chance to truly find our place in the universe before we destroy ourselves. This series outlines one way that could come to be.
Top reviews from other countries
Like the first two books, Blue Mars is not your usual sc-fi. It's the story of the people who came and made it home; of their children, and their children's children.
The language is rich with detailed descriptions of the science and technology and biology. My vocabulary was sorely lacking, thank goodness for Kindle word look-up, keep a good dictionary handy if reading the physical book. Here are a few examples:
However lots of typos, is this the Kindle digitisation process?
I read the first two books in the trilogy in hard copy and did not find these kind of errors.
"Blue Mars" as the title suggests is set on a fully terraformed Mars. The atmosphere has thickened and heated up and the ice seas have melted and created a hydrosphere similar to Earth. The masks and walkers have now been disposed of. The scientific substance of the book now concentrates on developing the longevity treatment, ecopoesis and the psychological difficulties of coping with living for 200 years plus.
I didn't find "Blue Mars" to be as fascinating and exciting as the first two books of the trilogy and was a bit overlong. Perhaps that was due to over familiarity with the setting and characters and it was only when Nirgal and Zo featured heavily that "Blue Mars" had a character of its own and came to life , but unfortunately most of the book concentrated on the First Hundred whose lifes work was more or less complete by the end of "Green Mars". I would have liked to have read more about "The Accelerando" instead. I also didn't like the prolonged ending to "Blue Mars"; I thought it was lacking in impact somewhat and didn't bring the Trilogy to the spectacular end it deserved.
However "Blue Mars" is still a wonderful book, full of impressive and credible scientific detail, and if Mars is to be colonised then this trilogy is a perfect guidebook for its terraformation. However the timeframe for the colonisation set out by Robinson is slightly over-optimistic I think ; maybe by a hundred years or so. I cant see antelope roaming the forests of Mars until the 23rd Century at least ! Although technology is advancing all the time.
As I read through the Mars Trilogy, I couldnt help but think that science, in its entirety, the geology,biology,physics,chemistry and all its subdivisions , is nothing more than Man progressively trying to get into the mind of God, to be God. They are a very humanist and rationalist series of novels, however they promote a form of intellectual elitism. Science is worshipped,science can provide the answers to everything and highly intelligent elitists know best. There is no room for religion or the supernatural in this vision.
"Blue Mars" is a must read for those who have read the first two books, it would be incomprehensible if you haven't. It is a fitting conclusion to a remarkable series of novels. It is also easy to read ; I raced through its 800 pages in 9 days, so theres no excuse for not reading the whole series now !
that stuff was just a footnote to the main bit about forming a new govt, and the new ecology.
I stopped caring about Phyllis and her one dimensional "Mars is a national park" stick in the muddedness.
I had to skip Michael Duval's bloody sentimental holiday in his home region. It felt like a pointless dead end. I didn't see him as enough of a key character to devote so much page space to his attachment to his home town.
More long winded descriptions. These books really needed a handful of sketches in the back, maybe.
These books deserve a set of mini series though, say 10 episodes for each book.
OK, I'm going back to my short and sharp Kindle self publishing sets.