Sunday, 26 February 2012

Moving Mars - Greg Bear - Final thoughts

I loved Moving Mars.  It's a gripping science fiction novel, about the settlers on Mars, and how they grow up and break away from Earth.  It's much more than that, though. I posted earlier about my first thoughts while reading it, and I've had over a week to let it settle in my mind.  Moving Mars is about the people who settle there, and how Mars changes them. It's much like how settlers here in North America or Australia must have felt - and their descendants.  Because the settlement on Mars is 70 years old, when they face the stuggle they have with examining if they should stay with earth, and what right they have to be a world in their own right, it's like remembering our history - how the US colonists fought to not pay extra tax to England, about 150 years after the first settlers arrived.  When does a colony become a self-sufficient country or world?  In Moving Mars, we get to experience first hand the changes that Mars goes through, through the eyes of Casseia Majumdar, and through all the characters around her, especially Charles Franklin, who makes the scientific breakthrough in thinking and physics, that leads Earth to struggle with Mars for control of that power.  It was unputdownable. 

I loved how Casseia travels back to Earth early on, so we get to see how Earth has changed.  I was fascinated by the way Bear shows that economics and the hidden few that control the economic system, eventually paved the way for the different continents to come together in a power base, so there were several groupings that decided how the world would function as a unit as man moved into space - first the moon, and then Mars, were colonized.  People are the same, though how they connect has been changed by social networking - there is a very cool party scene that Casseia experiences while on Earth, that I could see the new generation coming up, wanting to create between their social plug-ins and desire to connect with as many people as possible, in many different ways.  It was fascinating.

I enjoyed the advances in science and technology that Bear explains made moving into space possible, and how life was possible on Mars - the physical contraints, and why they tunneled into Mars to live, rather than just living on the surface.  Most of all though, I enjoyed the idea of the thinkers, the super computers that eventually evolve to having a personality made when a person joins with them - goes into them, in a sense. The blending of human creativity with all that is known to exist, makes for an interesting way to see one possible future for the computers and internet and the vast possible ways we could interface together.  What do we do with knowledge?  Where can we go with it?  In Moving Mars, it eventually becomes possible to break down the smallest particle, to its essence, with thought - the space in the center of the smallest photon, is empty, surrounded by the energy charge that makes it positive or negative.  Out of this, the photon moves towards or from the photons surrounding it, and so we have the physical structure of life.  Once Charles is able to think his way to that structure, and with the help of a Thinker, join his mind to moving the photon, then moving in space becomes possible. I won't say any more, because I don't want to give away what he does, and why, though I will say that it was powerful to read, and very thought-provoking.  I also have to apologize if I got any of the science wrong, I'm sure I got a term in there wrong somewhere!

I read this for Carl's Sci Fi Experience, and also as part of my personal challenge to read more Hugo and Nebula winning science fiction. Moving Mars won the Nebula Award, and deservedly so.

We have 3 days left, and I have two more books to review for Carl's Sci Fi challenge.  If I'm lucky, I will have another one to add in time.  However, I am going to be continuing my science fiction reading this year.  I am participating in the Grandmaster Challenge at World's End blog, and I am having a ball finding new books and authors to read. 

I also am finding I am piling up other books to read very soon - The Morville Hours, and finish reading some books I started before Christmas, like The Most Beautiful Villages in England, and The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.  And, of course, Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge will be starting very soon (I hope!), and I have several books out from the library already that fall into this fantasy/dark fantasy area. 

Finally, for a brief time:
Plus, I finally broke down and requested a book from our library, that it not currently being published and no copies are floating around:  The Winds of Marble Arch, the collected short stories of Connie Willis.  It finally came into my house yesterday.  I have it for a maximum of three renewals, and then I have to let this dear book (I already love it) out of my hands again.  I won't read it all in time for Carl's challenge, but it will fit into the Grandmaster reading challenge.  I love it because I have read a few short stories by Connie, and I know fabulous ideas await me.  Of course the very best news would be that Subterranean Press finally announces they are publishing the announced but never seen soft cover edition of Winds of Marble Arch.  Not yet. Sometimes, despite all our advances, other things get in the way of getting a book published.

I hope you have a week filled with good reading ahead also!


Gavin said...

I haven't read this one but you have me adding it to my list. Thanks for introducing me to World's End!

Cath said...

I think I'm going to have to try and read Moving Mars sometime this year. So pleased it was such a huge hit with you.

I love the sound of the Connie Willis anthology!

Yes, I'm now collecting books together for OUaT. I grabbed City of Bones by Martha Wells for my Kindle last night and there are two other books I want to buy but am wondering if I should, as I've already bought a lot of books this year. What a terrible addiction we have! LOL

Kathleen said...

You've been finding so many great Sci Fi books to read that I am now compiling a list of your recommendations so I can look into getting a few from my library to try them out.

Emily Barton said...

Oooo, The Morville Hours. I (yes, the person who hates gardening) LOVED that book! The Connie Willis sounds really good, too.

Susan said...

Gavin: You're welcome! It's addictive there, isn't it? lol

Cath: is it up? the new challenge? oooh goody. I was looking at my shelf on the weekend, putting the Vampire Tapestry back until OuaT started....I have so many books to add for the challenge! lol you're right, we are addicted. we're both hardcore bibliophiles! lol

I will email you about Morville Hours, I haven't forgotten that you wanted to read it with me. Will be emailing shortly....

Kathleen: I'm cheering here and delighted that you want to try some of them too! yaay! let me know (or us know) which ones you think you want to try. I'm curious what you are tempted by.

Emily: You read the Morville Hours? Oh and you loved it too,like Eva did. I must get to it soon. I'm thrilled you loved it, even if you aren't a gardener, it's lovely when a book reaches across to reach that part of us all that loves the earth, isn't it? now i really want to get to it soon!