Red Mars, the kickoff to Robinson's epic Mars trilogy, won the Nebula for best SF novel of 1992; its follow-up, Green Mars, won the parallel Hugo for 1994. The conclusion to the saga is not unlike the terrain of Robinson's Red Planet: fertile and fully developed in some spots, vast and arid in others?but, ultimately, it's an impressive achievement. Using the last 200 years of American history as his template for Martian history, Robinson projects his tale of Mars's colonization from the 21st century, in which settlers successfully revolt against Earth, into the next century, when various interests on Mars work out their differences on issues ranging from government to the terraforming of the planet and immigration. Sax Russell, Maya Toitovna and others reprise their roles from the first two novels, but the dominant "personality" is the planet itself, which Robinson describes in exhaustive naturalistic detail.
Last in the trilogy that started with Red Mars and went on to Green Mars. I found this one to be less interesting to me than the first two. I wanted to know what happened to the characters who'd been introduced in the earlier books, and I got that, but the story itself was less memorable than the earlier two books. Still, all in all the trilogy is an excellent read.
Good gracious, this book took me *forever* to plow through. About ten years ago I had read Red Mars and Green Mars, the previous two volumes in this trilogy, but had never gotten around to reading Blue Mars. (I think it had something to do with the sudden arrival of babies in the family...) Anyway, I finally snagged a copy of this one and dove in.
The story is basically the events following the Second Martian Revolution (which happened at the end of Green Mars), in which Mars becomes further terraformed (life taking hold), and in which the hard work of building a state and a government post-revolution takes place. The book is told in large sections from the perspectives of a number of the "first 100", switching back and forth as their stories unfold.
What I liked: Watching how a constitution convention works in a technological age was fascinating, if only because the management of human capital is what's really required. I think I've become a fan of light political fare, as long as it doesn't get too dry. I also liked the weird time shifts as all the first 100 start to get truly old (their longevity solutions result in more than two centuries of life). By the end of the book, the characters had become intriguing, but they took me a long time to get used to.
What I didn't like: There were lots of bright spots, and lots of places that just seemed to drag along. I think this could have really used a harsher editing pass.
Great third and last book in the Mars trilogy. A lot of book to read but it is well worth it and ties up everything, well almost everything. There is a threat to Mars in terms of Earth immigration because of overpopulation and environmental disasters. The First Hundred, those that landed on Mars to colonize it, are living to be over 200 years old because of longevity treatments. They organize to set up their own government by writing their own constitution and trying not to repeat the mistakes of Earth. They do come up with something different and it works for them. The book also continues about some of the First Hundred and what problems they go through as they age. There are other things dealt with and it wrapped up to be a good book. There are times it gets sidetracked with some scientific things in great detail, but that's part of the story.
The third book in Kim Stanley Robinson's great trilogy about the settlement and terraforming of Mars. The first is Red Mars and it is my favorite, but the second, Green Mars, won the 1994 Hugo Award for best novel.
'Blue Mars' continues immediately after 'Green Mars' leaves off, and moves further into the unknown: Where do we go from here?
This book was my least favorite of the three, as many sections take a turn toward fantasy that undermine the solidity of what came before. The strength of the book lies in the sections featuring the now very aged original characters, who are having to come to terms with their limitations. The final sections focus in on them, and lead to an ultimate section that is idyllic, uplifting, bittersweet, and satisfying in a way I almost didn't think possible.