Customer Reviews


68 Reviews
5 star:
 (33)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
This second volume of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is a very worthy Hugo winner. Although there are elements of RED MARS I did not like (which I'll not go into now), with RED MARS as a background, I found GREEN MARS to be brilliant. If you haven't read Red Mars, don't tackle this volume first.
KSR really did his homework in studying the social scientific...
Published on July 8 2004 by C. Baker

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Mars' greening is long and tedious
Using Heinlein's classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a blueprint, Robinson tries to portray a second Martian revolution in this sequel to his brilliant novel, Red Mars. Disappointingly, this volume is almost completely consumed by character and setting, perhaps trying to make up for the shortage of action, which doesn't really take off until the last few dozen pages...
Published on July 7 2002 by Dave Deubler


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, July 8 2004
By 
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
This second volume of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is a very worthy Hugo winner. Although there are elements of RED MARS I did not like (which I'll not go into now), with RED MARS as a background, I found GREEN MARS to be brilliant. If you haven't read Red Mars, don't tackle this volume first.
KSR really did his homework in studying the social scientific aspects of his novel (as he did with the rest). The metanational and transnational corporations are a believable outgrowth of current economic trends and their reactions toward Mars and its denizens in GM logically follows their development in the novel. KSR also did a better job of staking out the various issues and ideologies involved in terraforming, giving the policy and political middle-ground between the Reds and the policy of the Transnational Authorities (which is terraforming as quickly as possible moving toward a viable atmosphere on Mars).
The Part entitled "What is to be Done" was excellently written and extremely realistic (even if I have trouble believing that with all the political elements represented that some didn't opt out because of ideological extremism). That the group left without any real political action plans made the section even more convincing. The culture of the youth born on Mars seen through the eyes of members of the First Hundred shows a wonderful sense of cultural development with all the elements it entails including genetics, the Martian environment, and how they were raised (interacting with the first two). KSR does not do quite as well at developing individual characters in GM but his characterization does lend itself to understanding the motivations of individuals and empathy
The long descriptions of the Martian landscape is at times hard to appreciate given that I have never been to Mars and have never studied photos of Mars' surface and landscape. I like the two places where there were small maps of Mars in the text. The development of large, complex living environments with the limited resources of those outside "the net" or the umbrella of the metanational corporations that control most of Mars is hard to perceive too. But this is easily overlooked at the sake of the larger picture that GM paints.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETIMES REVOLUTIONS DO COME TRUE, June 15 2003
By 
Sesho (Pasadena, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
The first book of Kim Stanley Robinson's epic trilogy, RED MARS, wone the 1993 Nebula Award for Best Novel. This sequel, GREEN MARS, won the 1994 Hugo Award. Except for the last Hugo, which went to a Harry Potter novel (something which will taint the award forever), this award is not given lightly. Green Mars deserved all the honors that could be heaped upon it. In some ways it reminds me of Peter Jackson's Two Towers film, in that it is a middle chapter in a much greater landmark saga.
Green Mars starts out about 40 years after the failed revolution by elements of the original settlers to free itself of the rule of Earth. That revolution caused much destruction and thousands of deaths but in the end it failed. It failed because there was no coordination among the disparate groups. Some were fighting to keep Mars as it was, some to change it, some were out merely to seize power for themselves. Now the legendary First Hundred settlers have been hunted down and reduced to just 39. Those that are alive must live in secret sanctuaries hidden throughout the landscape or take on fake identities. And all the while, Mars is beginning to show life on its surface.
Hope springs eternal, for the metanational corporations, the real force that controls Mars, from Earth, are about to embark on a civil war amongst themselves. Also, a new generation of Martians are coming of age and doing something their predecessors didn't. Organizing themselves into a united and coordinated front. Establishing goals and having patience for the right moment to strike. Kinda like a twelve step program for revolution.
In Green Mars, different parts of the book are divided into the perspective of the various characters. Nirgal, the first to be introduced, is a young ectogene, a cellular descendent of the First Hundred, who is taught by Hiroko, the weird and reclusive religious cult figure from the first book. He will try to be the bridge between the old and the new Mars, gathering support from the young generation who see themselves as Martians, not settlers. Art Randolph is from Earth, sent by the CEO of Praxis, a leading metanational company, to infiltrate the underground movement of Mars. His mission is not to harm it, but to help it. Sax Russell's identity is changed by plastic surgery so he can spy on the metanationals. Ann Clayborne, the eco-terrorist from the first book must find her will to fight again. Maya Toitovna must come to terms with her past and find the ground to stand on to become a leader for the new generation as well. Only together will all these elements, will all these different camps be able to defeat the powers of Earth.
This book was great. Robinson's science fiction is not that of Star Wars. His vision of Mars is something to me that could truly happen. In fact, these books have read like future history, if there is such a thing. The settlers didn't land on Mars to fight aliens. They had to fight about what they wanted their world to be like in terms of politics, environment, and society, freedom. This book is a good treatise on what it takes to make a revolution. I mean, to make a good one. The book is really about finding commonality and being able to act as one. Kim is a masterful studier of character. There is no cuteness as in immature sf writers who know nothing of relationships except what they see in movies. This book is strong. It cannot be read alone though, meaning Red Mars must be read first. In some ways, reading this book is like looking at the problems faced by our founding fathers 200 years ago. The formation of a nation. Seek this book out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sequel, May 4 2003
By 
not4prophet (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
"Green Mars" is a very well-written sequel, and it will definitely satisfy anyone who really liked "Red Mars". Much of the book focuses on the continuing terraforming effort on Mars. Near the start of "Green Mars", we are introduced to some of the new tactics that are being employed to adjust the Martian atmosphere and surface temperature. Gigantic roving machines are liberating water from the regolith, and a series of mirrors are placed so as to increase the amount of sunlight incident on the planet. Robinson's depiction of the scientific reality that would have to underlie a terraforming effort remain convincing throughout this volume. He keeps a record of how the atmosphere and the surface life forms are changing without ever getting excessively bogged down in the scientific details.
The overall story arc in "Green Mars" is still quite strong. It begins with the news that one of the huge corporations headquartered on Earth is interested in contacting members of the Martian underground, a loose collection of various groups that are considered to be outlaws by the corporate-controlled Martian government. On Mars, the resistance groups and the Authority figures have reached a sort of stalemate. Police forces raid several settlements with impunity, but the resistance groups are becoming better organized. The planning and preparations for another rebellion against the United Nations Authority are a major focus of "Green Mars". Robinson gives a great deal of thought to the logistics of such a revolt, and he provides a convincing portrayal of the conflicts between different rebel groups.
My biggest gripe with "Green Mars" is that the author seems to be growing a little bit too attached to some of his characters. We learn early on that the population of Mars has swelled into the millions, both because of immigration from Earth and because of new generations that were born and raised on Mars. But despite this fact, the overwhelming majority of the story is told from the perspective of surviving members of the first hundred, most of whom seem to be running out of interesting things to say. Only one very brief segment is told from the perspective of someone on the 'other side', a representative from one of the metanational corporations on Earth, and we get fairly few glimpses of what life is like for those born and raised on Mars. I feel that "Green Mars" could have benefited quite a bit from a broader perspective. Nevertheless, it is still a quite impressive effort overall, and I am eagerly awaiting a chance to read the final entry in the trilogy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The "Mars Series" is great for the teenage male in your life, March 28 2003
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
The three books in Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy" are my absolute all-time-favorites. He is truly gifted at writing about advanced science and technology and equally adept at creating "real" characters, because he understands psychology. This is a rare talent: to be scientifically knowledgable and a master at creating believable characters. The books are part action, part scientific explanation (like Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame), and part character development.
In "Red Mars" (the first in the series) Robinson paints a totally believable picture of what our future might be like as we get ready to explore and colonize Mars. Mega-corporations, earthly power struggles, and the selection process for determining who might get to be the first to go to Mars, are all very possible and Robinson crafts a story around these topics with ease.
In the second book, "Green Mars," Robinson portrays the struggle to get vegetation growing and to create a breathable atmosphere. He also describes more political struggles between those on Earth and those on Mars. This was probably my favorite of the three, but mainly because I am more interested in the science that would be needed in this phase of colonization.
In the third book, "Blue Mars," the planet become more Earth-like. The atmosphere is more developed, water travel becomes possible, and more. (I don't want to give it all away!)
The books can be kind of scholarly at times, but I was so impressed with these books that I gave them to my teenage brother. He was so impressed with them, that he gave them to one of his very best pals. And we all had a blast discussing them together. If there is a teenage male in your life -- or if you love sci-fi and have always wondered what it might be like to go to Mars -- then this trilogy is definitely for you. Very highly recommended!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A Generation of Native Martians, Nov. 23 2002
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
Green Mars brings in the next generation of martians, most we meet are of Hiroko's test tube brood. This is the generation which has been raised to take thier place in Mars as leaders, shaping Mars's politics, culture and trade. Politics are discussed in this book in closer detail, and the real motives behind the forces and influences on Mars are given explination.
As with Red Mars, the powerfull descriptions and setting enable you to visualise a new world as it would be seen. The changes taking place on the planet are noticable, and enable a dramatic escape at the climax of the book in the midst of war.
However, the trillogy, which is really one huge novel broken into three parts, is such a huge undertaking it begins to loose some of it's reality in this book. "The Treatment" enables the charachters to live for the full two centuries of this trilogy, and there are just so many charachters....I'm going to have to read it all again just to understand all the people involved. Some tediom sets in with this book, and more with the next. Still, as one who loves to dream about the day when we can live on Mars, I loved it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars even worse than Red Mars, Sept. 25 2002
By 
Bryan Erickson (Eagan, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
Robinson's Red Mars formula of intriguing, well-researched colonization and terraforming technologies forming the background dressing for long-winded, asinine political polemic from a dozen cookie-cutter Ralph Nader campaigners continues here, with even less success than in the original. The laughably demonized transnational corporations are at it again, not content to wrack Earth alone with the spasms of war and environmental catastrophe which are apparently their sole modes of economic activity. The noble Marxist settlers, meanwhile, continue their endless bickering over whether the lifeless geology of Mars is a sacrosanct natural environment that can only be poisoned by the presence of humans, while stirring up in rebellion against the oppressive capitalists. While "Red Mars" made settling Mars incredibly easy, prepare to keep suspending your disbelief as a multi-talented physicist now also becomes an expert at genetically engineering life to adapt to the Mars environment, while also designing interplanetary ballistic missiles for the People's Revolution in his spare time - despite being lobotomized by the baddies.
Our red heroes also get a few new friends, including a new Mars-born generation who may or may not have supernatural hippie powers, and a few new émigrés from Earth for whom fondness for surfing replaces the white cowboy hat as the emblazoned symbol of their Good Guy status. It's a shame, because one of them starts out the novel looking like an actual meaningfully different character, and a step outside the tedious Robinson norm, in a terse scene where his frying pan symbolizes his estrangement from his wife and other attachments to Earth. As soon as he gets to Mars, though, he catches the virus that apparently infects everyone on the planet with a disease that makes them talk and act like mass-manufactured new age hippies from UC Davis.
A few slight hints at redemption are offered, such as a passage where the purple sky of the Martian dusk effectively conveys the pathos of a Russian main character, and at the end of the novel, when an intriguing engineering solution allows the rescue of a doomed city of colonists. But it's scant consolation for all the many hundreds of wasted pages of yawn-inducing rant. I actually picked up Blue Mars after finishing this one, with one iota of hope left that it might offer some redeeming virtue to explain why each of these three novels was awarded either the Hugo or Nebula Prize. A few pages into it, I gave up and swore off Robinson forever. In one emphasized passage, a young Martian proclaims, "I don't give a damn about Earth." Well baby, we don't give a damn about you either.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Mars' greening is long and tedious, July 7 2002
By 
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
Using Heinlein's classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a blueprint, Robinson tries to portray a second Martian revolution in this sequel to his brilliant novel, Red Mars. Disappointingly, this volume is almost completely consumed by character and setting, perhaps trying to make up for the shortage of action, which doesn't really take off until the last few dozen pages. Admittedly, the crisply drawn characters and realistically invoked Martian landscapes were perhaps the best parts of the earlier book, but readers may remember that some of the best characters from Red Mars were killed off, and the new characters introduced are remarkably wooden and dull, while their contributions to the plot are so negligible that one suspects they were added merely as padding, and not because they needed to be there. As a result, this novel takes forever to get moving - the first 470 pages could easily be cut to a quarter of that length without any harm to the story whatever. In Red Mars the interior monologues informed the readers of the action taking place as well as providing intimate portraits of the men and women who colonized the planet. In this installment the monologues seem more like vague ruminations that don't move the plot at all (the first sentence of this review tells you more about the plot than the first couple of hundred pages of this tome), nor do they tell us anything terribly interesting about the characters, let alone make us like them. Robinson clearly had enough material here for a very short novel, and filled it out with the same techniques that worked so well for him in Red Mars, but by keeping the plot effectively a secret from his readers, he leaves us with nothing to do but admire the scenery and listen to some fairly unpleasant (even fanatical) people. While not exactly a bad book, it's a serious letdown from the majesty of Red Mars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Red, but not bad, April 14 2002
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
Robinson's second book of MARS isn't bad. It has some of the characters from the first book, has the great in-depth detail as the first and has some innovative ideas on some of the problems facing Mars living. An interesting book, just took a long time in the telling. I found in this book, the focus changed from the characters to the science. Red had some the best character detailing I've ever read, just wow. This one seems less focused on that, more interested in the working of the biology, terraforming and political aspects. As with other books that come up with great economic and social ideals, it spends a lot of time explaining the ideas which really slows down the reading. One part of the book has a great meeting of all the factions and talks about the basic ground work for a Mars government, and gets into some of the finer aspects of things but from a reading point of view, way to much detail, unless this is what you were looking for. One thing I will say for Robinson, he has a great way of scientific description. He describes algae in process and function as others would descibe flowers in color and smell. Not bad at all. But again, a long book, and requires a lot of focus to pull all the way through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical affinities & divergances demarcate 22nd c Mars, March 19 2002
By 
Christopher (Seattle, Washington, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
Kim Stanley Robinson's epic Mars trilogy proceeds with new characters and familiar ones. Robinson is now comfortable in his role as planetary surveyor and scribe; his scientific capacity and artistic bravery are equal to his first volume, Red Mars. New readers are introduced to those remaining from the original 100 settlers to Mars, and are given the opportunity to explore the red planet from pole to pole. Those familiar with the exploits of Maya, Sax, Ann, Nadia, and Coyote will be delighted to see the evolving planet through their friends' eyes for a few thousand more miles of adventure and another generation of time.
Mars has experienced its first revolution and its people are now recovering and reorganizing. Several political factions exist: the Reds, those committed to the maintenance of Mars in its primal state, even if that means the expulsion of humans (the Reds were responsible for one wave of the revolution); then there are the Greens, those dedicated to terraformation and viriditas, life's natural pattern of growth and complexity... this group was driven south and underground, and here we find most of the original 100 settlers; next are the Transnationals, the Terran corporations that have spread to Mars (who unleashed a majority of the destruction during the revolution); finally, there are waves of Emigrants who simply have no room left on Earth, or wish to start a new life and family on Mars. Robinson's grasp of the political climate is impressive, as he juggles so many realistic and human motivations. With patience, you will discover the leaders and beliefs of all major groups (a welcome shift from sci-fi's traditional cardboard political cutouts).
But it's still a small world, the population split into only a handful of communities, and the potential as great as ever. "Every human was a great power, every human on Mars an alchemist."
Green Mars is essentially a collection of self-contained short stories, in the mode of Isaac Asimov's original Foundation series; Green Mars weaves fine threads through seven characters and 40 earth-years. In addition, each section is prefaced with a few pages written by other characters, major and minor... these introductories' relation to their following story isn't always clear, but it's often a nice, short respite from the just concluded 50-100 page tale.
First, we travel to the south pole, into caves dug in the frozen ice-mass. Here, we find the Greens continuing both the education of their children and their social engineering; most of the children are test-tube creations, combinations of the strongest members of the community. "Hiroko, who seemed an alien consciousness, with entirely different meanings for all the words in the language" is the group's silent godmother and planner... their future lies in her enigmatic hands. All south-pole Greens travel about in camouflaged vehicles, but not for much longer... their preparations for re-assumption of Mars leadership proceed.
The second story shoots us across 50 million miles, back to Earth. Art Randolph is a technical manager for the transnational corporation, Praxis. He has been summoned to a private seminar on a lush ocean island by Praxis' owner, William Fort. At this seminar, he and a dozen other employees study new and classical theories of economics, and consider how Mars now fits into the picture.
Art must learn quickly, for his next assignment is a space shuttle to the glowing red neighbor in the night sky. His first task will be to become a member of the Greens' underground community.
Robinson explores so many diverse topics over the course of this book that you ponder whether multiple authors took part in its construction. But Robinson's method is consistent throughout: most characters are rational scientists or engineers, who often sound identical but are differentiated by their personal beliefs.
For instance, stories three and four explore the exploits of Ann Clayborne and Sax Russell, respectively. Ann is the first Red, the founder of the movement... in her eyes, no further terraformation or settlement can be permitted, no matter the scientific gain. Sax, in contrast, is the joyous (and possibly mad) scientist, who thrills to new discovery, even if it leads to mass change on Mars. Yet, as scientists, who should have so much in common, Sax can't understand Ann's total hostility towards him.
"Scientists who used different paradigms existed in literally different worlds, epistemology being such an integral component of reality. Scientists debating the relative merits of competing paradigms simply talked right through each other, using the same words to discuss different realities. It had been a frustration to both of them, and when Ann had cried out that he had never seen Mars, a statement that was obviously false on some levels, she had perhaps meant only to say that he hadn't seen her Mars, the Mars created by her paradigm."
Sax eventually leaves Ann behind and proceeds to explore the evolving Ares. Some readers will lap up Robinson's rich detail and etch the new map of Mars on their memory, others will simply page through quickly to the next story. For there are many stories and events remaining. Most significantly, scientists on Earth discover a longevity treatment that more than doubles an average human's life span. Robinson manages the complexity with a measured and humane hand, devising many interesting side-stories. Later on, the larger underground communities band together to hammer out a rough draft of Mars' first constitution, even as a second revolution is approaching. All philosophical differences must be resolved here.
The highlights of this book are the stories starring Sax Russell (most likely Robinson's alter-ego) and the almost overwhelming chronicle of Maya Toitovna, who has entered a grave clinical depression... Robinson's grasp of the human condition is profoundly acute. This is what places his Mars Trilogy at the forefront of all science fiction, as one of the most relevant and prescient accounts of humanity's future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Grand Master Sci-Fi, but..., Feb. 1 2002
By 
K. Barnes (Austin,TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Green Mars (Mass Market Paperback)
In one book KSR has managed to explore everything from the social, political, economic as well as the environmental, technological and psychological issues that might manifest from colonizing a planet. He even gets into the philosophy of aesthetics, warfare strategies, grass roots movements... you name it -- it is all here. It adds up to a creation of what one day could be real people, real personalities and real situations.
The 3rd person narrative switches focus from person to person each chapter, so you get the benefit of different perspectives on issues and learn what drives each character. I can't say there are any completely "good" or "evil" people... at least I didn't feel that the story tried to push any character in that direction (thankfully).
The writing and plot were so engaging that I sped through the first 430 or so pages and was extremely excited about the prospect of the next book in the series. Having taken 3 days to get through those pages, it took 6 months to get through the next 100 pages. So here is where my criticism begins.
Part 9 gave me problems. It is told from the perspective of Maya (known already from RED MARS) who has been taking the "immortality" shot. She has bipolar disorder, with many more downs than ups. Reading through this part was like being stuck in a room, no exit, for months on end with a person whose one goal is to make you as cynical, pessimistic, and unwilling to let go of the past as she is. While her personality was brilliantly brought to life, it was also depressing that with all the advances in technology KSR couldn't have provided advances in medicine to help her. Maya's rantings during this part of the book were frustrating and the section was so long for its lack of pertinence to the rest of the story that I quickly became bored. I was so side-tracked thinking of the many different ways she could kill herself that I only finished the section by scanning through the last portion. Unlike the other characters after 150 or so years, she never grew any wiser, in my opinion.
After page 550 (mmp edition), being released from Maya's drabness, things picked up again. The anticipation of the new revolution was so great that I finished the rest of the book within a few hours. Had I been able to skip the 9th part, I would have given this book a 5 star rating -- up in the ranks of Herbert's DUNE. The issues made in Part 9 could have been put forth in 20 or so pages rather than 100+. Better yet, they should have been made from somebody else's perspective.
As it is, because of the excitement of the story as a whole and the incredible theories put forth to chew on, it still deserves between 3 1/2 to 4 stars.
Definitely a worthwhile read, with that one exception. I will definitely continue to the next book in the trilogy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Green Mars
Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (Library Binding - May 1995)
Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews