The second volume of the Mars series, Blue Mars is almost as good as the first one. Now that the "First Hundred" have arrived on Mars, and the terraforming process has begun, sucessfully, we become embroiled in the internal politics both on Earth and on Mars.
I originally thought that the initial scope of Red Mars could not be duplicated, but this book picked up immediately where the first one left off. We find the colonists have split into very specific groups, some going underground (The Transnationals) some disappearing into the bleak landscape. The atmosphere is still unbreathable, but life can be sustained with the right equipment and a little ingenuity.
Unfortunately, the same problems that still plague earth have traveled to Mars with the colonists, so the political, economic, scientific and psychological issues they thought to escape now have a firm hold on the Red Planet. Again, the character development is in-depth, the problems so real, you can't help but be captivated by this story. And again, the breathtaking descriptions of Mars as a planet are unbelievable. Kim Stanley Robinson has an incredible vision of what it will be like when we get there and I hope we are not disappointed - he has given us a look at what we will expect to see.
Green Mars really explores the human problems that drive them all. Decisions must be made regarding the way Mars is transformed: do they develop it to fit the human need, or preserve it and change themselves? Can they somehow work the government and corporate cultures as they know them from Earth into the Mars mind-set? Do they really want to? And, what happens when some of them stop dying?
There is a little more action in this book than the first. And some surprises as well. The first volume was an almost traditional struggle story, the second one more adventure. What the next one holds you will have to find out for yourself, but read this one all the way through. You owe it to yourself, and the cast of charaters, to finish the story.
Title: Green Mars