Back in the beginning of December, when I had just finished Red Mars, I ached to get on with the sequel, Green Mars. But first it took me some time to find it and then I started to read other things, always with Green Mars looking at me – I think I started or intended to start reading it about once a week for months.
Then, finally, about a week ago, I picked it up, determined to read it. And this time I did. Writing a review is hard, though. Almost just as hard as getting started with the book.
Part of it is that like Red Mars it’s so obviously a part of a trilogy that it’s more like part two of a one tripartite book than anything else. But part of it is my over all impression of it, which is hard to sort or define.
This time the telling feels even more distanced than in Red Mars. In Red Mars people were passionately angry or loving or pro or con something or the other – this time it’s just a shrug of the shoulders. Even when things are bad.
Granted, some passages had me reading on without wanting to put the book away but those were mainly in the first half of the book – the second half I often had a strong feeling of disbelief, something which worked to distance me even further from the goings-on. The book never touches on the psycho-social effects on society of prolonged lifespans, only on the socio-economic and then only at a distance, and the original cast, those who survived Red Mars, just lives on and on and on, without much problems other than a sense of disconnection and some insomnia. And some of the other stuff is just plain unbelievable. Like the “resistance” being able to covertly build hidden silos AND missiles for ground to space warfare.
So, this is definitely Big Ideas fiction, in the grandest sense, but this time with insufficient drive and energy.
That said this is not the worst book I’ve ever read and I have a profound feeling that I will not be able to judge this book, this trilogy, until I’ve read the last one – Blue Mars. So that’s what I’ll do – read the last one. Then my verdict will fall.