Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2021
"Red Mars" ends in 2061 with the defeat of the First Martian Revolution. "Green Mars" opens in 2081 with our surviving protagonists having gone to ground, living in an underground dome at the South Pole, and it ends in 2127 with another revolution. While "Red Mars" features lots of Martian geology, "Green Mars" shifts to focus on botany.

The South Pole community of Zygote is part of an underground network, connected by the roving Coyote, a mysterious character who plays a major role in "Green Mars." We are introduced to the sansei (a Japanese term), the third generation, especially Nirgal, who features prominently in volume three, "Blue Mars."

A twist is the entrance of one of the powerful metanational corporations into the movement. Praxis is headed by the visionary capitalist William Fort, and he sends Art Randolph, engineer and manager, as a diplomat to join the Martian underground. I knew I loved KSR when he has Fort promote the theory of Herman Daly, one of the founders of ecological economics:

"Capital is a quantity of input, and efficiency is a ratio of output to input. No matter how efficient capital is, it can't make something out of nothing... Fusion power and self-replicating machinery have given us enormous amounts of power, but we have to have basic stocks to apply that power to. And that's where we run into a limit for which there are no substitutions possible" (78). And Fort uses Daly's image of Empty Earth Economics for mainstream (neoclassical) economics and Full-Earth Economics for ecological economics, which recognizes that there are limits to growth. Fort sees Mars not just as a source of minerals, but as "bioinfrastructure." He says "...its bioinfrastructure has to be *constructed* you see... Mars is bioinfrastructure investment..." And so KSR weaves an evolved type of ecocapitalism into his utopian vision, along with ecosocialism and ecoanarchism.

Eventually there is a big conference of the underground network to debate what sort of society they want to create, and to plan the revolution. And William Fort is there, along with Art Randolph.

Sax Russell, the physicist, becomes my favorite character in the trilogy in "Green Mars," continuing on through "Blue Mars." In "Red Mars" he has been the head of the official UNOMA terraforming project. In "Green Mars" Sax goes undercover in the metanats' ongoing terraforming project with plastic surgery and a false identity. He works with a team developing new lichens and plants to help the process of changing the atmosphere. So he becomes an expert in botany. He has further adventures which I will not reveal. Later he develops weapons technology for the rebels, and also works his way into politics and sociology -- social engineering. He is the hero in the long section called "The Scientist As Hero."

PLOT SPOILERS
As I have telegraphed, "Green Mars" ends with the Second Martian Revolution, which succeeds where the First Revolution failed. A key development that makes this possible is the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet on Earth, which results in massive flooding and the creation of millions of refugees and social breakdown. This crisis leads to a civil war among the metanats, and while the Earth powers are busy fighting one another, the Free Mars movement seizes the opportunity to strike, with a massive, coordinated uprising. This is a very realistic move on KSR's part -- revolutions often take place when the ruling regime is weakened. That was, for instance, why the October Revolution in Russia was able to win during World War I.

According to the principle that all fiction is necessarily about the time and place in which it was written, the trilogy is relevant to making the needed ecosocialist revolution on Earth in the 21st century.

It is a truism that the middle part of a trilogy is always the weakest. I did not find that to be the case at all with "Green Mars." It effectively builds on "Red Mars," extending the science, the politics, and the characters in a satisfying dramatic arc.

And so it sets up the action in "Blue Mars"!
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Martian Revolution
By Autonomeus on February 22, 2021
"Red Mars" ends in 2061 with the defeat of the First Martian Revolution. "Green Mars" opens in 2081 with our surviving protagonists having gone to ground, living in an underground dome at the South Pole, and it ends in 2127 with another revolution. While "Red Mars" features lots of Martian geology, "Green Mars" shifts to focus on botany.

The South Pole community of Zygote is part of an underground network, connected by the roving Coyote, a mysterious character who plays a major role in "Green Mars." We are introduced to the sansei (a Japanese term), the third generation, especially Nirgal, who features prominently in volume three, "Blue Mars."

A twist is the entrance of one of the powerful metanational corporations into the movement. Praxis is headed by the visionary capitalist William Fort, and he sends Art Randolph, engineer and manager, as a diplomat to join the Martian underground. I knew I loved KSR when he has Fort promote the theory of Herman Daly, one of the founders of ecological economics:

"Capital is a quantity of input, and efficiency is a ratio of output to input. No matter how efficient capital is, it can't make something out of nothing... Fusion power and self-replicating machinery have given us enormous amounts of power, but we have to have basic stocks to apply that power to. And that's where we run into a limit for which there are no substitutions possible" (78). And Fort uses Daly's image of Empty Earth Economics for mainstream (neoclassical) economics and Full-Earth Economics for ecological economics, which recognizes that there are limits to growth. Fort sees Mars not just as a source of minerals, but as "bioinfrastructure." He says "...its bioinfrastructure has to be *constructed* you see... Mars is bioinfrastructure investment..." And so KSR weaves an evolved type of ecocapitalism into his utopian vision, along with ecosocialism and ecoanarchism.

Eventually there is a big conference of the underground network to debate what sort of society they want to create, and to plan the revolution. And William Fort is there, along with Art Randolph.

Sax Russell, the physicist, becomes my favorite character in the trilogy in "Green Mars," continuing on through "Blue Mars." In "Red Mars" he has been the head of the official UNOMA terraforming project. In "Green Mars" Sax goes undercover in the metanats' ongoing terraforming project with plastic surgery and a false identity. He works with a team developing new lichens and plants to help the process of changing the atmosphere. So he becomes an expert in botany. He has further adventures which I will not reveal. Later he develops weapons technology for the rebels, and also works his way into politics and sociology -- social engineering. He is the hero in the long section called "The Scientist As Hero."

PLOT SPOILERS
As I have telegraphed, "Green Mars" ends with the Second Martian Revolution, which succeeds where the First Revolution failed. A key development that makes this possible is the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet on Earth, which results in massive flooding and the creation of millions of refugees and social breakdown. This crisis leads to a civil war among the metanats, and while the Earth powers are busy fighting one another, the Free Mars movement seizes the opportunity to strike, with a massive, coordinated uprising. This is a very realistic move on KSR's part -- revolutions often take place when the ruling regime is weakened. That was, for instance, why the October Revolution in Russia was able to win during World War I.

According to the principle that all fiction is necessarily about the time and place in which it was written, the trilogy is relevant to making the needed ecosocialist revolution on Earth in the 21st century.

It is a truism that the middle part of a trilogy is always the weakest. I did not find that to be the case at all with "Green Mars." It effectively builds on "Red Mars," extending the science, the politics, and the characters in a satisfying dramatic arc.

And so it sets up the action in "Blue Mars"!
Images in this review
Customer image
Customer image
One person found this helpful
Report abuse Permalink

Product Details

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
776 global ratings