Greg Bear:Moving Mars

When I first heard the title of this book, I figured that it must be about a gigantic engineering project to move the planet Mars. But after reading the dust-jacket blurb and the first hundred pages, I decided it must be called that for a different reason. Perhaps it was the population of Mars that was "moving". While not trying to spoil anything...my first impression was fairly close.

The book takes a long time to really get moving. The first half is devoted to how the main character, Casseia Majumdar, first gets involved with a student protest against the first unified Martian government(which doesn't last too long), then falls in love with a young physicist named Charles Franklin but decides she doesn't want to marry him, and finally goes to Earth as part of a diplomatic mission. This is all buildup for the second half of the book, and IMHO goes on too long.

Upon Casseia's return from Earth, she's beginning to realize that Earth is somehow scared of Mars, or something Mars might be able to do...and that something is linked with the research project Charles is involved with. She gets involved with another attempt at a unified Martian government, this one more successful, and ends up as Vice President.

Then she finds out what Charles has been working on, and all hell breaks loose.

A bit less at the beginning and a bit more at the end would have been nice, but the second half of the book leaves little to be desired. It compares favourably to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, with which there are nontrivial similarities, and my pulse was pounding right to the very end.

In all, a great book, but a bit off in the pacing. It ranked high on my Hugo ballot, but not at the top.

%A Bear, Greg
%T Moving Mars
%I Tor
%C New York
%D November 1993
%G ISBN 0-312-85515-X
%P 448 pp.
%O Hardcover

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com