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Green Mars

Written by: Kim Stanley Robinson
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
Series: Mars Trilogy , Book 2
Length: 27 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson imagined a near future in which humankind established the first colonies on Mars and began to make the planet inhabitable for humans. In this stunning sequel to that Nebula Award-winning novel, Robinson takes the colonization of Mars to a new generation, with a new set of problems and concerns.

The initial Martian pioneers had fierce disagreements about how the planet should be used by humans. This led to a war that threatened the lives of billions of people on both Mars and Earth. Now, the second generation of settlers continues the struggle to survive the hostile yet strangely beautiful environment of the red planet. Their decisions and actions will ultimately determine whether Mars will simply be a sanctuary for scientists, a source of raw materials for Earth, or something much more.

Richard Ferrone's robust narration of this thrilling, timeless tale captures the fascinating diversity of Robinson's compelling characters, taking listeners to the farthest frontier of humanity's struggle to survive.

©1994 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2001 Recorded Books

What the critics say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1994

"This may well be Robinson's best book and possibly the best of the many and various our-future-on-Mars novels to date." (Booklist)
"Yet another masterpiece....I can't imagine anybody else staking out any portion of this immemorial dreamscape with the same elegant detail and thoroughness; it's Kim Stanley Robinson's now and for a long time to come." (Science Fiction Age)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Erick
  • 2013-08-05

Green Mars: a textbook scifi novel

Speculative science fiction, when done well, can feel like a yet to be fulfilled prophecy. Kim Stanley Robinson writes good speculative science fiction that achieves this feeling in his novel Green Mars. Green Mars is the second installment of Robinson's epic opus, The Mars Trilogy. Evidence of the book's popularity among scientific crowds is the fact that Green Mars was included in the payload of the 2008 Phoenix expedition to the planet Mars. It is among the first books in the Interplanetary Library.
An initial warning: Red Mars, the first book of Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy, should be read prior to reading Green Mars. The trilogy is not a series of stand alone story arcs that can be coherently read out of order. Red Mars and Green Mars were published a scant 13 months apart in 1993 and 1994. This quick publishing turn around time and the fact that the books are over half a thousand pages each leads one to believe that both books were finished at the same time. While this is just speculation (although I'm sure Kim Stanley Robinson has addressed this matter in interviews in the past 20 years), one can continue to speculate as to why the story was published slightly over a year apart in two different books. Perhaps the author wanted to double his entries in the Hugo and Nebula sweepstakes (Red Mars won the Nebula in 1993, Green Mars won the Hugo 1994). Perhaps the editor thought the tome would be too ponderous for a single book. Perhaps the publisher (Spectra/Bantam Dell/Random House) wanted the profits from two books instead of just one. Whatever the reason, just make sure, even though you are presently reading a review of Green Mars, that you read Red Mars first.
Green Mars is set in the near future and is centered around the populating and terraforming of Mars by immigrants from Earth and native born Martians. Green Mars weaves into its plot many other speculative science fiction devices in addition to terraforming. Medical advancements that double or triple the human lifespan play heavily into the story's plot. Other major plot conflicts include environmental disasters and protection (both on Earth and Mars), political dominance by multinational corporations, population growth, and battles over and with advanced technologies such as space elevators, orbiting solar mirrors, and the medicinal treatments for prolonging life. The story is extremely multifaceted and epic in scope. The trilogy spans about 150 years. Green Mars is not particularly light reading, but the story and the science in the story will not soon leave a reader's hippocampus.
Kim Stanley Robinson employs a narrative style common to fictional mega-epics with a large cast of characters. The story is told from a third person perspective that is limited to a single character's point of view per chapter. The point of view character alternates every chapter so that the reader can get an idea of everything going on all around Mars. The author creates a linear fluidity to the story this way.
This narrative method also allows Kim Stanley Robinson to show off his multiple disciplinary, scientific interests. Depending on the point of view character, the author will use that character's specialty to wax informatively on various fields of science such as geology, environmental science, physics, solar system astronomy, biology, botany, sociology, psychology, philosophy, humanities, economics, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, social engineering, military science, political science, and even a dash of religion. Often the story is secondary and/or dependent on the description of the sciences (and speculative sciences). Attention and focus is required to follow the story through these interesting, college-level, intellectual interruptions. It is impossible to read Green Mars and not learn something.
This will turn off some readers who are only interested in a Mars themed, thrill ride adventure story. If that is what you want, try Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land or Edgar Rice Burrough's A Princess of Mars. Green Mars is written for a “hard science fiction” fan base that is interested in intellectualism as much as literary entertainment.
The characters, especially the point of view characters, in Green Mars are primarily archetypes of different kinds of scientists, various kinds of revolutionary fighters and politicians, and religious leaders. Their personalities are largely shaped by their professions and/or scientific disciplines. However all the characters are well written and through their actions, thoughts, and expressed values the reader sees multiple dimensions of their passions, flaws, and personalities.
The characters and the story are easy to fall in love with but challenging to read. The liberal arts academic who dreaded science class might want to approach this book with caution. However, if you pick up Green Mars and the Mars Trilogy, no matter what you scientific inclination is, you will probably be entertained and definitely be educated.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Hooga Chacka
  • 2013-10-01

Good sequel w/ soulless performance

Richard Ferrone returns w/ another performance almost devoid of emotion and conviction. But the book makes up for it. Great story, believable predictions of the future of economics, and a Terran disaster actually considered one of the worst case scenarios governments worry about. Although there is a lot of hippy-dippy stuff, and some fuzzy ancient history, which bug me, but those are short lived irritations that don't detract from the story. My on;y real issue is all my favorite characters were killed off in the first book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Dutch_Orange
  • 2019-05-03

Great at times, can't be bothered at other times

This is one of the best books on colonization of a different planet and all the problems it brings I have read. Deep, deep scientific study, great cast of real life and flawed characters. Eye-opening. However the author sometimes tends to ramble on with descriptions of the Martian landscape, scientific processes, thought-processes of the characters and more. So much that it becomes work or incomprehensible to the layman or just plain tedious. I don't think I could find the energy to actually read it, my 60-year old eyes have grown weary, but thanks to Audible I enjoy listening to it while I drive or garden and just blank out the not-so-good parts. Not for the casual reader.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David S. Mathew
  • 2016-09-21

The Mars Trilogy (slowly) Continues

First of all, this is the sequel to Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars. Most of the characters from Red Mars return and Green Mars is not written to catch up anyone behind in the lore.

Second, while I enjoyed Green Mars enough to continue to Blue Mars it's definitely not as good as Red Mars. Richard Ferrone's performance is actually a bit better than previously, but the second half of this novel feels a bit like Robinson got bored with his new characters and decided to relive the glory days of the previous novel. Also, a significant part of the prose is pure tech talk, which gets VERY dry. Overall, I'd only recommended this to a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson or a completionist.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JJBigs
  • 2012-03-16

Great Story Continued

What made the experience of listening to Green Mars the most enjoyable?

This book is extreamly detailed both in character content and in the sciences. I feel like I read a textbook with a story attached. I certainly know more about Mars, Climatology, Biology, Geology, and others...and I enjoyed learning about it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2013-08-25

The author is consistently wordy

This is the second of three books by the author, all suffering the same issues. The SCI-FI concepts are pretty interesting - teraforming, robots, vision of the future of colonization of the solar system. There are some very fun concepts in the book. Unfortunately, the author seems bent on displaying his knowledge of just about any topic that comes to mind and this consistently distracts from the story. I was tired when the book was finally done.

The performance is good - kept the story interesting.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 2020-02-16

Exceptional 2nd Installment to Exceptional Series

Engrossing, expansive geopolitics and characters you can really root for, with veins of deep science and philosophy. This series is extraordinary, and this second installment is no exception. Rounding this audiobook out is the high caliber narration performance.

I cannot wait to start the next one!

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  • Kyle O'Neill
  • 2019-12-18

Another Boring Slog

This book is just as much of a slog to get through as it's predecessor "Red Mars". I picked up this series because the creator of the highly popular tabletop strategy board game called "Terraforming Mars" credited Kim Stanley Robinson and the Mars Trilogy with his inspiration for creating the game. For those unfamiliar with that game, it's awesome! However, maybe it's because Kim Stanley Robinson has no background in engineering, say like The Martian's author Andy Weir, that this book doesn't resonate with me any more than "Red Mars" did. Once again, the timelines covered in the plot of the book for terraforming Mars, and dealing with the technological innovation to do it, happen WAY too fast and are actually fairly vague in any of the technical details. The timelines, albeit way off, are merely good attempts at conceptualizing the process. The author covers things in the course of about 50 years that would, in reality, take hundreds of years.

The main characters, in dealing with the sociological, ecological, cultural, and political consequences of colonizing Mars, still just sound buffoonish. The author seems to have thoroughly researched the technological concepts, but has almost ignored researching human nature and the realistic ebb-and-flow of political economy. As a result, these characters serve no purpose other than to push forward the authors premise of the merits of some sort of socialist and communist utopia. The characters are thus not remotely relateable and just sound more like reflections of Kim Stanley Robinson's inner consciousness and worldview. If you want something politically more plausible, that is more in tune with human nature, watch The Expanse on Amazon Prime. That's a more realistic vision of what politically could happen after humanity starts to colonize the solar system.

This book seems to be from the old school of Science Fiction that deals more with the "conceptualization" of Science Fiction related topics and ideas as opposed to the more modern and hyper-realistic Science Fiction novels that cover similar concepts but focuses more on the human experience and actual trials and tribulations of the realistic technological limitations. I hesitate to even think about starting Blue Mars, but I probably will suffer through that one as well. I can't stand to start something and not finish it, even if it is a tedious journey like this Mars Trilogy has become for me.

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  • Corie smith
  • 2019-12-13

Painful

This book just drags in an inane direction. It fails to grab the attention. My recommendation, save your time.

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  • Meghan
  • 2019-12-13

As It Happened

The real history of the colonization of Mars... I was there and you could be too.