In Blood Music (1985), Greg Bear gives an engrossing account of the human species evolving into a single corporate entity. Although not so apocalyptic, Moving Mars also presents a radical change.

A Hugo Award nominee, Moving Mars is an excellent example of hard science fiction, using scientific fact and recognized theory to provide a high level of scientific detail, as well as providing fully realized characters in a convincing social setting. Bear prepares readers for the most astonishing aspect of the story, the movement of an entire planet, with a coherent theory of the physics that would make this possible and a plausible explanation of the necessary technology. The sheer volume of factual detail gives a reality to a Martian culture of four million people living under the surface of a planet that is essentially hostile to human life. The social projections into the twenty-second century are carefully worked out and convincing.

Moving Mars is an important work for its revitalization of the tradition of Martian science fiction. Mars always has been one of the more intriguing planets in the night sky, and it became even more so in the nineteenth century, when Italian astronomer G. V. Schiaparelli detected lines on the Martian surface. He interpreted them as canali, Italian for channels, or natural waterways. In English, the word looks like “canals,” or constructed waterways. The idea that Mars...

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