In the Nebula Award winning Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson began his critically acclaimed epic saga of the colonization of Mars, Now the Hugo Award winning Green Mars continues the thrilling and timeless tale of humanity's struggle to survive at its farthest frontier.
Plot Summary Edit
Green Mars takes its title from the stage of terraforming that has allowed plants to grow. It picks up the story 50 years after the events of Red Mars in the dawn of the 22nd century, following the lives of the remaining First Hundred and their children and grandchildren. Hiroko Ai's base under the south pole is attacked by UN Transitional Authority (UNTA) forces, and the survivors are forced to escape into a (less literal) underground organization known as the Demimonde. Among the expanded group are the First Hundred's children, the Nisei, a number of whom live in Hiroko's second secret base, Gamete.
As unrest in the multinational control over Mars's affairs grows, various groups start to form with different aims and methods. Watching these groups evolve from Earth, the CEO of the Praxis Corporation sends a representative, Arthur Randolph, to organize the resistance movements. This culminates into the Dorsa Brevia agreement, in which nearly all the underground factions take part. Preparations are made for a second revolution beginning in the 2120s, from converting moholes to missiles silos or hidden bases, sabotaging orbital mirrors, to propelling Deimos out of Mars' gravity well and out into deep space so it could never be used as a weapons platform as Phobos was.
The book follows the characters across the Martian landscape, which is explained in detail. Russell's character infiltrates the transnat terraforming project, with a carefully crafted fake identity as Stephen Lindholm. The newly evolving Martian biosphere is described at great length and with more profound changes mostly aimed at warming up the surface of Mars to the brink of making it habitable, from continent-sized orbital mirrors, another space elevator built (using another anchored asteroid that is dubbed "New Clarke"), to melting the northern polar ice cap, and digging moholes deep enough to form volcanoes. A mainstay of the novel is a detailed analysis of philosophical, political, personal, economic, and geological experiences of the characters. The story weaves back and forth from character to character, providing a picture of Mars as seen by them.
Stephen, alias Sax, eventually becomes romantically involved with Phyllis, who had survived the events of 2061 from the end of the first novel, but she discovers his true identity and has him arrested. Members of the underground launch a daring rescue from the prison facility where Sax suffers torture and interrogation that causes him to have a stroke; Maya kills Phyllis in the process of the rescue.
The book ends on a major event which is a sudden, catastrophic rise in Earth's global sea levels not caused primarily by any greenhouse effect but by the eruption of a chain of volcanoes underneath the ice of West Antarctica, disintegrating the ice sheet and displacing the fragments into the ocean. The resultant flooding causes global chaos on Earth, creating the perfect moment for the Martian underground to seize control of Martian society from Earth. Following a series of largely bloodless coups, an extremist faction of Reds bombs a dam near Burroughs, the major city where the remaining United Nations forces have concentrated, in order to force the security forces to evacuate. The entire city is flooded and the population of the city has to walk a staggeringly long distance in the open Martian atmosphere (which just barely has the temperature, atmospheric pressure, and gas mixture to support human life) to Lybia Station, in order to resettle in other locations. With this, control of Mars is finally wrested away from Earth with minimal loss of life, leaving the weary survivors hopeful about the prospects of their newfound political autonomy.
Nearly a generation has passed since the first pioneers landed, but the transformation of Mars to an Earthlike planet has just begun The plan is opposed by those determined to preserve the planets hostile, barren beauty. Led by rebels like Peter Clayborne, these young people are the first generation of children born on Mars. They will be joined by original settlers Maya Toitovna, Simon Frasier, and Sax Russell. Against this cosmic backdrop, passions, rivalries, and friendships explode in a story as spectacular as the planet itself.