Developing the groundwork for the Mars Trilogy?

by Kim Stanley Robinson

The cover shows a structure similar to Stonehenge, on a rocky ground with a moon and space in the background. First published in 1984, which makes it his second published novel, several years before the Mars Trilogy. 

The age shows a little, one part of the political landscape is the Soviet Union, people print out and read paper books and Pluto is still the ninth planet.

We start in 2248 A.D., with Emma Weil on a spaceship in the asteroid belt. There is a revolution brewing on Mars and a mutiny on the ship. The revolution made me think of the Mars Trilogy.

Part Two is Hjalmar Nederland in 2547 A.D., an archaeologist excavating and exploring the Unrest of 2248. I liked the beginning, but skimmed through a lot of the second part of Hjalmar‘s story. Too reflective for my current mood. Great stuff for lovers of Mars stories towards the end. The political dynamics were again very reminiscent of the Mars Trilogy. Maybe Robinson expanded on this story and the idea he developed here for those later books. The story reflects on the loss of memories and self and how history is perceived.

Part Three: Edmond Doya, 2610 A.D., starting with him reminiscing about that expedition to Pluto in 2547, discovering Icehenge. He goes back to Pluto and tries to determine who built Icehenge and what it all means for the history that has been written. Again I liked the start and the ending and skimmed through the rest. The ending was pretty, but unsatisfactory. I don‘t think Robinson and I will become friends anymore, his style is too dry for me, at least in this.

Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings
Tomaso Albinoni, Adagio in G minor

Icehenge is Kim Stanley Robinson’s second novel, published in the same year as The Wild Shore, 1984. The novel consists of three stories connected through time, two of which were published before and significantly revised for the novel, and one written for the novel.
Icehenge deals with many themes, with each part complementing or shedding light to the other. In a background setting of the colonization of the solar system and social unrest in Mars, Icehenge explores the effects of longevity on human memory, historical memory, historical revisionism and the imperfect knowledge of past events.

PS: I wonder if I would still like the Mars Trilogy, if I re-read it now. I don‘t wonder enough to actually try though. This has been on my shelf since 2016, I am quite happy to give it a send-off now.


2 thoughts on “Developing the groundwork for the Mars Trilogy?

  1. Interesting to hear your thoughts on this one! I don’t know that I had heard anything about this book before. I would like to try the author’s Mars books at some point (since they’ve won so many SFF awards) but they’re not a high priority for me yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure if I would still like the Mars trilogy now, considering that everything else I read by the author was a bit meh. Back in the early 2000s I loved the trilogy.


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