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.

Top Ten Tuesday in quotes…

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

 This week‘s topic: book quotes that fit a particular theme! I guess my theme will be amusing quotes! Here we go:

“Dogs make sense. They understand hierarchy and the need to cooperate. They come when you call them. A cat though—a cat will take your number and get back to you. Maybe. If he’s in a good mood.” 

Mortal Danger by Eileen Wilks

Read in 2012. The first book was only just interesting enough for me to want to get the next one. Nothing special. But this one grabbed me. I really liked it. Interesting plot, good world building, introduction of some new characters that I really liked and want to see more of. The varying points of view added a nice layer to the various existing characters as well. Very good.

“Some people are like Slinkies. They aren’t really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.” 

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Still one of my favourite UF series. Just re-read the lot last year.

“I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”

The Martian by Andy Weir

I could easily do this whole TTT with quotes from The Martian. I love this book. My cheeks are hurting just from reading over all of the quotes I marked…

“I gave him a smile. I was aiming for sweet, but he turned a shade paler and scooted a bit farther from me. Note to self: work more on sweet and less on psycho-killer.” 

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Still my favourite UF series. And another series I could use easily as well to fill all the quotes for this TTT.

“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg.” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.” 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The story is a mystery, a conspiracy, an adventure and a fight against evil. There is smuggling, thievery, but sadly no pirates. And sadly, it wasn‘t a complete hit for me.

“So you killed him with what now?”
“I tried that Dr. Phil book at first”…”And I finished it off with the toilet seat. Just so you know, you left it up again. That drives me crazy.” 

Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen

Great fun. If you liked the film Zombieland, this is for you.

“She was not a political creature. She felt that politics was the second most evil thing humanity had ever invented, just after lutefisk.” 

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey

My favourite SF series…

“It’s not that I’m not upset; it’s just that I’m too tired to run up and down the corridor screaming.” 

Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

Another good SF series, if you want to read something classic. My steam only lasted a few books in though. As a teenager I probably would have loved this to pieces.

“He was an American, so it seemed only fair to shoot him.” 

The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss isn‘t only great as screenwriter or the occasional supporting actor…

“Once the telephone had been invented, it was only a matter of time before the police got in on the new technology and, first in Glasgow and then in London, the police box was born. Here a police officer in need of assistance could find a telephone link to Scotland Yard, a dry space to do “paperwork” and, in certain extreme cases, a life of adventure through space and time.”

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Another endless supply of funny quotes is the Rivers of London series. And excellent UF. I highly recommend the audiobooks, they elevate the series by a few more pegs.

I could keep going, but that‘s 10 quotes! That was very entertaining, actually….

Life on Mars

I am currently reading…

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

That made me think again about the Mars Trilogy. I read it about 20 years ago and never dared to pick it up again. First of all, because was complex and hard works, secondly because I am afraid that I could end up not liking it anymore.

Unfortunately I managed to loose my reviews for the first two books of the trilogy. I am left with the mini review of the last book of the trilogy:

Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3)
by Kim Stanley Robinson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every now and then I stumble across a truly inspired book. This is one of them. One of three, actually, as it is the last in a trilogy, starting with „Red Mars“ and continuing with „Green Mars“. Colonists come to Mars and transform it into a liveable world, while trying not to make the same mistakes as Earth did. Beautifully written, great characterisations. Mars comes to life, it’s almost like reading poetry. I felt really bad after finishing it, because I had to part with this great story.

A few years later I read a companion book with several short stories:

The Martians
by Kim Stanley Robinson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My favourite stories were: 
– Exploring fossil Canyon
– Maya and Desmond
– Green Mars — great climbing!
– Sax Moments 
– A Martian Romance — ending with a silver lining

I loved Green Mars, great climbing. A very good addition to the main books. In my opinion you should definitely have read the trilogy before this. I don’t think any of it would make much sense otherwise.
The two stories about Michel and an alternative world were quite interesting. The stories at the end mention a crash. I don’t remember this from Blue Mars, I might have to read it again. Anyway, that was a fairly sad ending, although there was obviously a silver lining in A Martian Romance.