After reading The Ministry for the Future, recommendations for the Mars trilogy followed me around various apps and lists for a while. Needing a bit of sci-fi to offset the historical fiction I’d just read, I decided to give it a shot.
The Mars trilogy is really good hard science fiction. Robinson knows his research, and shows it — maybe a bit too eagerly. Does the reader need to know the tradeoffs between various atmospheric concentrations of Nitrogen and CO2? Probably not. Am I going to be able to keep the geographic relationship between Pavonis Mons, Ascreus Mons, and Olympus Mons straight? Definitely not. But when the balance is just right, it scratches all the nerd itches I have.
As an author, I imagine one of the main downsides to spending so long in a single setting is that you run out of descriptive words. I learned every synonym for “rough” — crenulated, craggy, weathered, rough-hewn, pocked, pitted, on and on.
Fun fact:1 Red Mars was the inspiration for the excellent album-closer on The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)”.
I have no way to prove this. Wayne Coyne, if you read this, drop me a line. ↩︎