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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Moving Mars

Moving Mars: A Novel by Greg Bear

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

February 5, 2002

"Moving Mars" by Greg Bear features a cool concept, moving the entire planet of Mars to a new star system, but the execution produced only average results.

This is told in first-person through Casseia Majumdar, who starts as a confused college student and becomes the second president of Mars. The problem is that Casseia is about as interesting as I am, which is to say not at all. It is refreshing not to have a female lead that comes off as a butch superwoman, but Casseia does not come off as someone who is strong enough to run your corner convenience store, let alone an entire planet. Most annoying is that Bear glosses over most of Casseia's development from a confused young woman to a mover-and-shaker on Mars. She comes back from a failed diplomatic mission to Earth, falls in love, and next thing you know she's stumping with her mother-in-law to form a democratic government on Mars. The transition is so quick that it really is not believable to me, hence I could not buy into her becoming this awesome authority figure who decides to move an entire planet to save it from an aggressive Earth.

This problem could have been solved by eliminating the first quarter of the book, which focuses on a student riot at Casseia's school. The riot does nothing to advance the plot, and its only long-term effect is to introduce Casseia to Charles Franklin, the brilliant physicist who comes up with the method of moving Mars. This could have been achieved in another way that would have left more pages to devote to Casseia transitioning from confused twentysomething to influential figure.

"Moving Mars" is built on some heavy-duty science, which I don't understand and so am a bit skeptical of. I'll leave it to others who have a stronger physics background to determine if "descriptor theory" would actually work, but I find it hard to believe, even after the long, complicated discussions about it featured in the book.

Overall, this book was not a total sleeper, it picked up in the last 200 pages or so, but it was not a real page-turner either. It is incredibly average, I won't recommend it, but I wouldn't say to avoid it either. Read it if you have nothing better to do.

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