For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank... read more
Red Mars starts in 2026 with the first colonial voyage to Mars aboard the largest interplanetary spacecraft ever, the Ares, with a crew of whom are to be the first hundred colonists, composed for the most part of Russians and Americans. The book details the construction of the first settlement... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Red Mars starts in 2026 with the first colonial voyage to Mars aboard the largest interplanetary spacecraft ever, the Ares, with a crew of whom are to be the first hundred colonists, composed for the most part of Russians and Americans. The book details the construction of the first settlement on Mars, called Underhill. A debate among the colonists breaks out about the advisability of terraforming the planet, focusing on the two extreme views personified by Saxifrage "Sax" Russell, who believes their very presence on the planet means some level of terraforming has already begun and it should be continued, a viewpoint held by a group called the "Greens"; and by Ann Clayborne, who represents the viewpoint that humankind does not have the right to change entire planets at their will and Mars should be left in its original state, a viewpoint held by the "Reds". Hiroko Ai represents a middle ground, believing that a new way of living could evolve on Mars, a philosophy referred to as Areophany.
The Greens eventually win out, through direct intervention in some cases, and the first steps to terraforming Mars start during the novel. At the same time, new towns are developed across the planet, increasingly open as new technologies and materials allow pressure to be contained in new ways. However, because of the greed of the transnational corporations that come to dominate and control the nation states of Earth, the new Martian towns become overcrowded and undermaintained. Several cases of sabotage of terraformation infrastructure occur, blamed on the anti-terraforming Red forces. The situation results in a violent revolution in 2061, in which many of the First Hundred are killed, and much of Mars' infrastructure, notably the space elevator and Phobos, are destroyed. Most of the surviving members of the First Hundred are forced into hiding underground — in this case a literal underground shelter created by Hiroko Ai under the Martian south pole.
Followed by Green Mars.
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