Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Read March 9, 2010 – March 26, 2010
Premise: An international group of scientists is sent to Mars to perform research and set up a colony, eventually leading to terraforming efforts to make the planet fit for human habitation.
Verdict: This novel didn’t win a Hugo, although it was nominated for one (and lost out to two novels, as this was a year there was a tie.) The final two books of the trilogy, however, won Hugos and this was one was necessary to understand those. This book is so smart and brilliant. The characters all have these flashes of poignant insight into the nature of life and humanity and the universe and I just want to stop and write them down. They make me go “YES! That is what I mean when I say x, y, and z.” This book goes very in-depth into the particular issues involved not only in the scientific and physical struggles of setting up life on Mars but also on the political turmoil and social dynamics of removing a portion of the population to a planet that is then exploited for its natural resources and the cheap labor on the surface. Add in the fact that the amazing scientists discover an immortality treatment and you get major overpopulation on Earth and multi-national corporations fighting to gain control of anything and everything within the scope of humanity. Yeah, ok, so it’s intense. But I really adored it. I loved all the characters, I actually cared about their romantic trifles (this is becoming a rare thing with me—caring about romance), and I love all the detail that Robinson put into this novel.
Can’t wait to read the other two.