Fiction Reviews

Blue Mars

(1996) Kim Stanley Robinson, Voyager, 15.99, hrdbk, 616pp. ISBN 0 246 13883 1

The final volume in Robinson's Mars series is more in the same vein as Green Mars. Taking us from the end of the successful revolution against Earth by the colonists to the final stages of the terraforming project via a non-existent or at best loose plot, Robinson has again attempted to synthesise elements of planetary travelogue, political and economic treatise, scientific primer and, like, really caring characters. The result is more of a literary pot pourri than a novel.

Robinson obviously believes there is no place for a plot in the modern novel if you throw enough padding in. Why, for instance, was there around four pages of supersymmetric superstring theory? I certainly could see no relevance. Robinson clearly does not lack ambition. He does however lack restraint, and I wonder at the editor allowing such a woolly and unexceptional mish-mash to go uncut. I personally thought Red Mars was outstanding both in scope and execution, but the final two volumes are tedious and more of a chore than a pleasure to read.

Graham Connor

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