Study Guide

Red Mars Tone

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Tone

Casual Friday Chit-Chat

Elsewhere in this guide, we've made a big deal about all the scientific know-how present in Red Mars since there's a lot of scientific know-how in this beastly book. But just because it's intelligent doesn't mean its tone has to be all professorial. In fact, it's very casual, laid back and, you know, just kickin' it. Case in point:

But now Maya was talking about Frank. Frank, who had a sixth sense for trouble between John and Maya (six would not be necessary), and who came running to Maya every time he felt the signs, to walk with her and talk about his vision of Mars, which was progressive, exciting, ambitious, everything that John's was not. (4.2.8)

See what we mean? The tone gets the point across but kind of wanders a bit. There's even time to throw in a little joke in parentheses at John and Maya's expensive. It's the kind of tone that can discuss serious issues but in a congenial manner—something you'd see between friends at a restaurant on a Friday evening.