Kim Stanley Robinson
Mars - the fourth planet from our sun - the Red Planet...green? The first humans landed over 50 years ago and slowly started the process of colonization. These adventures are chronicled in the first book of this trilogy, Red Mars. The next generation of Mars-born humans have now grown.
The large transnational companies on Earth have grown even larger, becoming metanational companies. Earth's politics has it slowly spinning down, especially now that the longevity treatment is available. Those who can afford it get it immediately. The rest wait their turn, often until they die a normal death. The large companies have control.
On Mars, the elevator is rebuilt for space shipments. Nirgal is one of the first settler's children. He has adopted many of Hiroko's attitudes yet has his own native twist to them. He grows up in her hidden colony under the southern ice cap. He gets a chance to start traveling around his planet with Coyote, another one of the original astronauts who landed from Earth.
Sax Russell is another of the original crew. He is a scientist whose main interest is in terraforming his new world. As one of the First Hundred he has been sought by the metanational companies as an unwanted symbol. He is able to hide his identity and sneak back into Mars civilization. He wants to be able to set up and study his experiments once again. He wants to be involved in the emergence of Mars as a self-sustaining planet.
This is the story of the struggle of a new nation/planet as it forms its identity separate from its parents/controller. Unfortunately such happenings occur with violence and bloodshed. Those of the original crew of the Ares want to avoid that. Not all of the younger citizens, many born there, agree with that philosophy. This is the saga of how the planet grows from a post-revolution small colony into the beginnings of a new society. This is also the tale of the formation of a frozen, lifeless planet into something that may eventually support humans unaided.
Although slow at times, this novel keeps pulling the reader in. New characters are introduced, as well as the survivors of Red Mars. It is a sequel that can stand on its own for the most part. This is true science fiction as Robinson explains how many of the changes to the planet are achieved. He intertwines believable characters with the transformation of the planet.
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