Things I have learned from Red and Green Mars

I know I’m 20 years too late on the bandwagon but even thought I have owned the trilogy since they were first published I only ever read the first (Red Mars) and about a quarter of the second (Blue Mars). Thanks to my Audible subscription I am now able to catch up and have made my way through Red and Green (at nearly 40 hours each!) over the last 2-3 months (an hour and a half in the car each day helps).

Red Mars was a breeze to listen to again, just the right balance action and science and human drama even though it often bordered on soap opera, but after about 2 hours of Green Mars I remembered why I stopped reading it in the first place. It’s been a real struggle to get through it and with just an hour and a half of listening to go I’m glad it’s nearly over and I’m hoping the story picks up in the final book. I have no clue if that will be the case, I have somehow avoided reading anything about Blue Mars since it was released so it will be a surprise no matter how bad/good it is.

Anyway, being two thirds of the way through the trilogy a few things really stick out about the books, things which Kim Stanley Robinson really got wrong or just seemed dumb, here are a few highlights:

  • In 100 years, old people (150+ years of age) will have A LOT of sex, even with the longevity treatment that’s just gross.
  • You will be able to recieve a paper fax through your mobile phone before the century is out, a paper fax!
  • As early as 2050 all recording of video material will be on magnetic tape.

I know it’s not unusual to get technology wrong in sci-fi books but this series is only 20 years old (Red Mars was first published in 1992) and even back then the compact disc was making well entrenched, as were mobile phones so these two faults stuck out to me as terrible extrapolations, I’m sure there are hundred more.

Bucky balls are still awesome.