byKim Stanley Robinson
Green Mars is the second book of a trilogy Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars. Red Mars introduced one hundred people from Earth to Mars. Red Mars was an exciting trip to the red planet where the First One Hundred built habitable cities, invented new sciences that included an anti-aging treatment, and allowed us to learn and grow with the new inhabitants of Mars. The book ended on a bad note where the Reds, a revolutionary group, blew up power plants and cities. As a result the First were under suspicion and in order for them to survive, they went underground. Green Mars picks up on the events of the newly inhabited Mars about forty years later.
We find some of the survivors of the First One Hundred living under the polar cap in a huge-domed habitat that had an ice dome, large lake, living plants and a village that had 124 permanent inhabitants and a daily population of around 200 as a result of visitors from other sanctuaries.
The inhabitants of Zygote, the largest sanctuary located under the polar
The other characters who are introduced at Zygote are children that are
a product of Hiroko’s effort to start populating Mars. She had taken
sperm donations from all the male members of the First Hundred. Hiroko
herself was pregnant constantly as was the other females in her group.
These children all now live in Zygote. They are all related.
There are three other major characters:
We find the children in school at Zygote. They have different teachers everyday. Sometimes it is Hiroko who takes them to the beach and she talks about life philosophically. Sometimes it is Maya who spends all the time on difficult mathematical problems. Occasionally it will be Coyote. The children love him. He travels all over Mars and shares his stories with the children. It was Coyote who suggested the children needed to go outside and see what Mars was like instead of just living in the ice dome.
Jackie, Nirgal and Harmakhis were best friends. They were always together.
Hiroko, Zygote’s leader, had to take in an additional twenty-two people because their ice home had collapsed. Food became short.
Nirgal fell into the lake one day and Jackie reached in the riptide and pulled him out. They were frozen and were told if ever they fell in they were to immediately run to the bath house to warm up. Nirgal saw Jackie was not warming up. He touched her and pulled on his inner strength to warm himself as well as Jackie. From that moment on everyone looked at Nirgal differently. He had a talent, a Martian character never seen before. Nadia, Sax and Michel witnessed the phenomena.
Jackie obtained her grandfather’s (John Boone) AI.
The children went to the surface now periodically. As Nirgal grew, Hiroko became distant and treated him as she treated everyone else. He felt he was no longer special because he was her son. Jackie was kissing Harmakhis and Nirgal knew things were different. Jackie was no longer Nirgal’s. She and Harmakhis were lovers.
Simon was Peter’s father. Ann was his mother. Nirgal learned Simon had a resistant leukemia. Nirgal had the same rare blood type so he donated his bone marrow. The first treatments didn’t work and they took a second bone marrow donation. Nirgal’s arm was painful. The second treatment didn’t help Simon and he died. It was the first death at Zygote. Nirgal couldn’t sleep or concentrate on school. Hiroko sent him off with Coyote. Nirgal was seven Martian years old which made him about fourteen Earth years old.
Nirgal left with Coyote and road in the boulder car that was disguised so as not to be noticed by a satellite scan. They drove at night and rested during the day. Coyote told Nirgal he was 109 Earth years old. All of the First Hundred were around his age. The trip with Coyote was amazing for Nirgal. He saw extraordinary landforms and visited other sanctuaries.
Learning about the current state of technology keeps Coyote busy. He visits moholes where robots were used to dig for minerals. Ultimately these digging robots would dig deep enough to reach molten rock. This heat can be used to heat the Martian atmosphere. Coyote and Nirgal visited one of these moholes and started the robots just to see what would happen.
The First Hundred had to go into hiding after the first revolution on Mars. They were thought to have caused it. If they had not gone underground at Zygote they would have been killed. Still unsure of the Transitional Authority’s position, they remain hidden. Nadia, Maya, Sax, Hiroko, Michel, and Ann are now over one hundred years old and have for the last forty years plus lived at Zygote.
Once home, Nirgal wasn’t comfortable with the children or with the adults. Nirgal discovered Coyote was his father while on the trip.
Jackie’s Grandfather John Boone believed Mars will never be safe until Earth is safe.
One day the entire ceiling of Zygote cracked and fell. Everyone was able to get out in time. Nadia planned and executed a new location in another part of the polar ice cap. The new location was called Gamete.
Nirgal and Jackie made love once and Nirgal was flabbergasted when he saw her again with Harmakhis. When Coyote came back Nirgal was happy to leave with him. Jackie was furious he was leaving her. Coyote, Peter, Michel and Nirgal left the Polar Cap.
Arthur Randolph, Art, was hired by an eccentric rich business man William Fort to go to Mars and acquire mineral resources for him.
Nirgal now 25 years old, greeted Art on Mars and introduced himself as being the one who had contacted William Fort. Nirgal told Art he had to slip him in the underground and make it appear as an accident. After Art traveled for days, he accidentally got locked out of his vehicle. Coyote picked him up right when Art thought he was going to die.
Ann Clayborne, a geologist and Peter’s mother, traveled around Mars taking samples and inspecting the surface. She discovered they were mining the liquid aquifers and melting the permafrost probably with nuclear explosives. Then they were pumping the water to the surface. Ann was extremely upset because the new ocean would eventually cover the old Vastitas Borealis landform destroying the essence of Mars forever. It started to snow, then the snow turned black, then it turned to raining mud. Ann was in her car when Coyote found her. He told her there were fifty other sites where they were ice-drilling. She was furious. She told Coyote about the Reds. The Reds had slowed terraforming. There were proposals of different types of terraforming. Some people suggested the low altitudes be made into an artic environment and make them barely livable and leave the high altitudes above the bulk of the atmosphere natural. Coyote supported the Reds and acted as a conduit between the underground refugees. Coyote refers to himself as a Boonean and wants a free Mars. John Boone, who was murdered, had been a great promoter of peace on Earth and peace on Mars, a free Mars.
Sax Russell wanted to get back to work. He was tired and bored of hiding so he got a new persona and cosmetic surgery. He went to work in the materials lab at Echus Overlook. He soon moved to Kasei Vallis. He was happy to be working again.
Peter, Ann’s son, flew stealth planes all over Mars and into outer space to the moon and asteroids.
Sax’s new name was Stephen Lindholm. Stephen was full of questions and laughter. While at work one day, Sax was introduced to Phyllis Boyl. Phyllis didn’t recognize him as Sax. She was one of the First One Hundred but she was a company gal. Phyllis looked about sixty years old but was actually one hundred and fifteen. At a party Sax and Phyllis got together and became lovers. Sax’s identity remained a secret from Phyllis because Sax knew if she found out who he was she would report him to the Transitional Authorities because all of the First were wanted.
Sax explored the new and changing Martian surface and relished in its new beauty. One day Phyllis and Sax went out on the ice and they fell into a crevasse. They were rescued but not until Sax had revealed part of the ol’ Sax character. Phyllis was uncomfortable with his reaction to their fall down the ice chute and his obsession with the blue-green algae he found deep in the ice. Sax wanted to break up with Phyllis but instead she announced she was going on another job so Sax did not have to break up with her. She left.
Sax went to a scientific conference and felt very much at home. After the conference Sax experienced insomnia. He also became aware the transnationals were everywhere. With the First Hundred dead or in hiding the tradition of Mars as a research station was gone. Now the only science here was terraforming.
The small countries of Earth were being purchased by large private companies. Mars was exporting metals and importing people and goods at an accelerated rate since the elevator was back in operation.
Coyote’s name is Desmond. He visited Sax to get items for Hiroko. Hiroko wanted Sax to steal the items from his company Biotique. Sax and Coyote saw a bright beam of light from space and they flew out to see what it was. The Transitional Authorities were burning a molten canal with an Ariel lens to warm the planet.
Phyllis came back and she had discovered Stephen was Sax and she was very angry. Sax knocked her out and tried to escape only to be arrested at the train station.
Maya and Coyote had picked up Art just when he thought he was really going to die. Art had many questions about the underground and soon realized he was for all intents and purposes their prisoner. They thought he was a spy. And of course he was but only at first. Art told them Sax was under arrest and was probably being tortured for the information about the First. Maya and Coyote decided to go get Sax.
Maya and Michel admitted their mutual love for each other. Michael and Maya rescued Sax. In the process Maya had to kill Phyllis. Sax was sick and comatose so they decided to take him to a med clinic. Sax died and Nirgal used his special warming gift to revive Sax. At the clinic, Sax woke up in about a week. Maya, Michel, Coyote, Nirgal and Sax left together to take Sax back to Gamete to heal. Sax had great difficulty saying words because the Authorities had micro-waved his brain.
It didn’t take long for Art to become dedicated to the underground. He proposed a meeting of all the sanctuaries to discuss what everyone wanted to have, a free Mars. Finally they arrived at Gamete to give Sax a safe place to heal. Art met the surviving First. Sax worked on speech therapy. Michel was very helpful with Sax’s recovery. He would spend hours and hours talking to Sax. Art developed a good relationship with Nadia. Nadia was going north and invited Nirgal and Art along. Nadia, like Coyote had built numerous shelters. They stayed in the shelters during the day and traveled at night. They wanted to set up a meeting at Dorsa Brevia because it had a large open area and housed four thousand people. Everywhere they traveled they acted as ambassadors of freedom for Mars. They rallied support for a meeting.
Gamete was attacked and destroyed by the Transitional Authorities. Hiroko and her people escaped to another sanctuary. Hiroko wanted to go to the Dorsa Brevia sanctuary and the meeting was set up. The Swiss had structured the meeting centered on workshops. Conclusions of the workshops each day decided the topics to be discussed the next day. The meeting went on for days and then it went on for weeks. Art and Nirgal worked with the Swiss and hammered out a proposal. William Fort, Art’s former employer, talked at the meeting saying he wanted to watch how things happened. Finally, Art presented seven work points for a Martian government. Those ideas were felt to be a consensus of everyone. Everyone was happy with the results of the meeting and most agreed John Boone would have been happy too.
Sax was talking much better and he wanted to contact Peter. Coyote arranged it. Peter and Sax worked on a plan. They decided to chew up the asteroid Deimos with robots so the military couldn’t use it. Peter and Sax continued working together on a number of projects so when the time came for the revolution they would have tools in place to help Mars win its freedom.
It was M44 (Martian Year 44) and Maya had her 130th birthday. Maya was forgetting her first years on Mars. The age treatment was not working for her memory so Michel suggested she read books about John and Frank, her old lovers and friends. Maya became friends with Art and they both agreed they didn’t care what happened to Earth. They were happy Sax and Peter destroyed the Aerial lens and that they were successful in firing Deimos out of orbit. Maya found out the truth; Frank had set up John Boone to be killed. Frank was responsible.
On Earth the people who had received the age treatment lived inside walled fortresses. Everyone else was rioting, burning and fighting.
Meetings with the Free Mars groups continued. The summer of M-49 an iceberg turned to water and filled the basins on Mars. Odessa was taken over by the Transitional Authorities. It was rumored Hiroko and her people did escape. The five metanationals continue to fight over Mars and Earth.
When everyone was at a Free Mars meeting in M52 year 2127, Spencer announced the trigger had occurred to start the Revolution for the freedom of Mars. The West Antarctic ice sheet on Earth had collapsed into the ocean raising the sea level six meters around the world. An Antarctic volcano had erupted.
Maya had everyone met at Underhill. Underhill was the first human settlement on Mars. All the security people who worked for the Transitional Authority were told to go to Sheffield where they would be safe. Otherwise, they would be killed for no reason. This is a Revolution. Underhill was the first town on Mars freed. Maya found herself at the apex of all decisions. She was the coordinator of the Revolution. Nadia discovered Sax had been very busy over the last few years. Sax had planted trees and now was burning them. Sax said this was the only thing he had not told her about.
The security people, the torturers were moved out into the asteroid mining belt. Nadia kept the Reds under control.
The Revolution was a success and they announced Mar’s freedom from Earth. Maya told everyone they expected immediate confirmation and ratification of their sovereignty according to international law from the world court, United Nations and other relevant governmental bodies.
As for a free Marian government, there will be a meeting in Burroughs and they will use the Dorsa Brevia Declaration as a starting point for the new Martian government. All of the Transitional Authority personnel can join the free people of Mars or they can go to the spaceport unharmed.
The Reds continued to take out cities and destroy physical plants. People died.
Sax and Peter maneuvered the ship that was carrying the back up army for the Transitional Authorities out into space where they can areobrake around Saturn or an asteroid and subsequently return to Mars or Earth. The Transitional Authority’s one stronghold was at the bottom of the elevator. Peter had control of all the asteroids in orbit around Mars and the moon.
The dike at Sabishi broke at the hands of the Reds. Masks were flown to Burroughs so everyone could breathe when the tent broke. The Transitional Authorities headed for the spaceport. Nadia, Sax, Art and Nirgal went and cut the tent to allow the people to escape. Special masks were distributed so everyone could breathe once outside the tent. They discovered Kasei was responsible for the broken dike. He said he did not have a choice. All cities were secured by the Revolutionaries except for Sheffield. Sabishi burned and Burroughs drowned. Some cities claimed their own independence. Nadia said, “Fine. Send them the Dorsa Brevia Declaration. If they agree to the human rights section, we won’t bother them.” Maya at 143 years declared she was walking the whole way from the decimated Burroughs up the escarpment to the train station. Nadia’s eyes were hurting from the cold. They walked for hours. Finally, they made it to the train station about dawn. Everyone had bloody eyes. Everyone fell asleep on the train.
When they woke, they were updated on the situation on Earth. The oceans had risen four meters and all the large corporations were using their money for rescue efforts.
Nadia, Maya, Art, Sax and Nirgal agreed Earth had to be at peace for
Mars to know peace. Everyone thought even though the Reds continued to
blow up pumping stations Arkady, Simon and John Boone would be very happy
with the results of the Revolution.