I promised to post a PDF with selections from Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars for those who are interested in checking out the book. Here’s the PDF: Red Mars.
I’ve taught this selection as a standalone reading before, so it works as introduction to the book. Here’s a reading guide in the event that you want to get started:
Red Mars is a book about the colonization of Mars. In the year 2026, 100 people leave Earth for Mars on the spaceship Ares. Many of the people aboard are either Russian or American, for the mission has been funded and organized by these two countries. Once the “First Hundred,” as they are known, leave Earth, they remain in touch with mission control and the governments (and companies) who have funded their trip; the folks on Earth are ostensibly “in charge,” but because the First Hundred are millions of miles away Earth has few ways of exercising control.
Here are some characters you need to know about:
Nadia (Chernyshevski) – Engineer and contractor responsible for building the first settlement on Mars, which is soon called “Underhill.” The section we are reading is written from Nadia’s point of view.
Ann (Clayborne) – American geologist who comes to study the surface and geological history of Mars.
Sax (Saxifrage Russell) – American physicist known for his detachment and sharp, analytic mind.
John (Boone) – American astronaut. He was the first human to step foot on Mars during an earlier space mission, and as a result is the most famous person on Earth and on Mars.
Maya (Toitovna) – Russian astronaut and politician. She is the leader of the Russian contingent.
Frank (Chalmers) – American astronaut and politician. He is the leader of the American contingent.
Arkady (Bogdanov) – Russian astronaut whose main role as member of the First Hundred is to design simulations that test and provide practice for the First Hundred’s attempt to land their ship on Mars. On their way to Mars, Arkady pointed out that they no longer needed to follow instructions from Earth, and could make their own decisions about the future of Mars.