These are novels of development, in both political and technological senses. In them, Kim Stanley Robinson shows an encyclopedic knowledge of research on the potential for colonization of Mars and on its landscape. He extends and develops this knowledge into what might happen in the future. This detail consumes a large part of the trilogy, and in sections it slows the narrative, as in the extensive descriptions of the new landscape as the colonists begin to terraform Mars. One critic described the novels as “reading NASA tech manuals” and thought that the level of detail interrupted the story’s flow. Robinson chooses to provide a level of detail that allows the reader to become a part of the society, and his descriptions of everyday activities, such as Martian jogging and theater, provide a convincing level of depth to his portrait of Martian society.
Parallel with the technological details (and certainly in the forefront in Green Mars and Blue Mars) is the development of Martian society. The society contains a number of segments, some based on elements from Earth’s society, such as nationality or religion, and some more specific to Mars, such as the ecological divide between the Reds and the Greens on issues concerning terraforming. The resulting discussions, especially the Dorsa Brevia conference in Green Mars, shows Robinson’s belief that positive change still can be accomplished through people gathering in...
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