'Red Mars' by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1)Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red Mars is a science fiction classic written in 1992. This book is everything I wanted and more, starting with first hundred astronauts and cosmonauts migrating to Mars to build the infrastructure such that more people can migrate. By the middle of the book, thousands of people migrate to Mars. The book explores various dimensions the epic project, not just technological challenges, but psychological effects, personality differences, and political interests by superpowers. The geography of Mars is written in vivid, majestic details.

1990s feels so close, yet it might as well been 19th-century Russia. Basically the only rational actors in Red Mars are all white men from United States. Female characters from Russia and Japan are described either to be emotionally unstable or worse cunningly manipulative characters who use sex to advance their career. Various different cultures and religious groups are described with somewhat predictable stereotypes of a tourist who visited the country for a week - to be fair described mostly in favorable way.

Sadly, I am not really sure if the reality of space exploration would be any different if it were to be launched in 2026 given that NASA or UN politics are mostly dominated by men. So maybe the present day readers should swallow this bitter pill as an inadvertently likely depiction of how Mars exploration would be chronicled.

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