Study Guide

Red Mars Part 3, Chapter 4

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 3, Chapter 4

  • This chapter opens with a discussion on how the colonists use Mars's unique solar orbit to create a calendar different than Earth's. Comes with a chart and everything.
  • Ann invites Nadia on a geological cruise of the Hebes Chasma, but Nadia declines to continue her work on the chambers.
  • The spats from the Ares have returned as well. This confuses Nadia because, well, they're on Mars. What have they got to be so snippy about?
  • But more serious problems also arise: Vlad proposes that the colonists should spend less time on the surface what with the radiation and all, but Ann straight-up refuses to spend her life in a cave.
  • Maya's problems with Frank and John continue, and she even enlists Nadia as a go-between—despite Nadia's claims that she is not, in fact, a go-between kind of gal.
  • One day, while trying to detach a pneumatic hammer from a boulder, Nadia crushes her hand between a tractor and the boulder. She manages to free herself, and to stop the pain, she holds her hand in the freezing cold sand until it numbs.
  • Luckily (?) for her, she only loses her pinky finger and impairs her ring finger a bit. Everyone comes to visit, but Nadia realizes she's alone in terms of a lover—the closest thing she has is Arkady, and he's on Phobos, alone with plenty of other women.
  • More Maya games. Nadia starts to wonder how much of Maya's misfortune in the love department is her manipulating the politics and then covering her manipulative trail.
  • The Martian new year hits, and Ann finally convinces Nadia to come with her on an expedition to the polar ice cap to set up a distillery for water.
  • Nadia decides she could use a vacation.