Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1994)
At the end of Red Mars, the first of the trilogy, after the revolution of 2061 which resulted in the massive flooding of parts of the planet mars, Green Mars takes the story up some 50 years later with the controversial terraforming of Mars continuing apace. The flooding of 2061 found the last of the First One Hundred settlers of mars taking refuge in the underground settlement of Zygote. The story continues by following the activities of those remaining First One Hundred, their children, and their grandchildren.
While the Transnats (Trans-National Corporations) on Earth continue to try to find ways to exploit the resources of Mars, the people who have moved to, or were born on Mars contemplate their bid for independence as a sovereign planet in the solar system. As this would be a threat to the planned exploitation of the red planet, they attack the Zygote encampment to re-assert their authority over Mars. The remaining First One hundred and their offspring move to places of safety, or have their appearances changed to continue to survive.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, a major crisis is taking place as the oceans rise; not because of Global Warming though, but rather as a result of volcanic activity near and around Antarctica that is melting the ice and causing huge icebergs to fall into the ocean. So not only is there the possibility of another revolution taking place on Mars, but there is also revolution taking place on Earth as people scramble to survive in their rapidly changing environment.
Mars’ continues to change more rapidly than expected because of genetically engineered plant life that is thickening the atmosphere by taking out carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen, and the engineers that are working the terraforming machinery are also adding nitrogen to the atmosphere. Mars’ surface isn’t able to support human life, so people either life underground or in huge tents, either with environmental controls. Another goal is to warm the planet’s surface through the use of giant orbiting mirrors that focus more sunlight on the surface.
The most interesting aspects of this book though are the interactions between the characters, the philosophical considerations and the political ramifications. But be warned, this book, as well as the first of the trilogy, Red Mars, are not for the casual reader. These are difficult books to read in that you actually have to immerse yourself in what you are reading. Let your mind wander for any short length of time and you will miss something important. These stories are like a high level jigsaw puzzle, but if a piece is missing, you will never understand the whole picture.
Well written, extremely detailed, well researched, and highly imaginative. I would recommend this for anyone who loves an intricate tale.
Well, there it is…