Yes, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) has been out since the early ’90s, but somehow I’ve been under a rock (cough, graduate school) and not managed to pick up on this series until Brian brought it home from our favorite little SF&F bookstore.  And I’m amazed how well this trilogy fits into my current thinking about ecology and virtual environments.  Why couldn’t I have read these back when I was first writing about Spore and the absurdity of terraforming alien planetoids with lasers, tractor beams, and magical U-Built-It kits?

I’m consistently amazed by the level of technical detail Robinson crams into these books, and the sometimes excruciatingly precise description of Martian geography.  Here is a series that tackles global warming on not one, but two planets, takes nuclear energy and radioactive fallout in stride, but stops regularly to coo over salt-tolerant lichen and, well, dirt (ok, regolith).

I’m not sure yet what I think about Hiroko, the “farm workers,” and the mysterious will to life that Robinson dubs “viriditas” (how does this compare to Bruce Sterling’s Viridian?). I’m a little tired of woman being identified as the all-mother/goddess/planet, let alone an Asian woman (a.k.a. Why does the Japanese lady have to strip for every public gathering?).

Robinson lives in Davis, CA.  Who knows?  I might get to ask.