Study Guide

Red Mars Genre

By Kim Stanley Robinson


Science Fiction; Utopian Literature

The Sci-Fi Guy

You're probably not surprised to discover that Red Mars is shelved in the science fiction section. After all, it takes place on Mars and prominently features, well, science—we're talking about the building of an entire civilization, after all. But this book isn't just science fiction…

Welcome to Awesomeland

Not to put too fine a point on it, but a utopian novel is one that describes a future or ideal society where everything is hunky-dory, a-okay, and Grade-A awesome. The people live happily, the community is darn near perfect, and you'd have to be certifiably insane to not want to live there.

So then, is Red Mars a utopian novel? To which we answer: sort of. It's not exactly a utopia. Things go wrong, people die, and the political situation is hardly ideal. But Robinson seems interested in pondering whether science can overcome our modern-day crises of politics and environmental destruction to create something akin to a utopia. In other words, the possibility of utopia is on the table with this one.