Study Guide

Red Mars Part 3, Chapter 6

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 3, Chapter 6

  • Back to home and back to work.
  • Arkady swings down to the planet, and Nadia greets him at the launch pad.
  • After the tour, Nadia asks him what he thinks, and he tells her that likes what they've done to the place but finds the aesthetics downright ugly. He suggests some beautification tips to Nadia.
  • At that night's dinner, Arkady makes his suggestions known to the group—and true to form, he annoys some and inspires others.
  • Overall, though, Nadia is glad Arkady is there.
  • For better or worse, Arkady's presence puts the habits of team Underhill under tight scrutiny. This includes the terraforming debate, which has spread beyond the colonists and entered Earth politics as the number one topic of the day. In fact, Earth folk have taken to naming their positions after those colonists who support it, such as the Clayborne position or the Russell program.
  • Ann and Sax are the two most prominent figures in the debate—Ann is obviously against terraforming and Sax for it. But everyone has an opinion. Arkady feels terraforming should start, but his view is political: if they don't terraform, they can't be self-sufficient.
  • With a decision looming closer, Vlad has taken to creating GEMs, a.k.a. genetically engineered microorganisms with the potential to survive and thrive in the Martian world. But he can't go planting the things without UNOMA approval.
  • Arkady thinks they should make this decision on their own, so Frank and Maya ask Nadia to talk with him, have him tone it down a bit. Nadia tries to show him the advantages of a slow, steady approach rather than a quick, overnight revolution.
  • He scoffs, claiming liberals like her never actually do anything, but he tones it down all the same.
  • Ann takes matters into her own hands and tries to secretly garner support for her position on Earth.
  • A group of colonists confronts Ann on the matter.
  • A super-upset Ann argues that the scientists only want to terraform Mars because they want to see if they can—and to her, this is the definition of bad science.
  • Sax counters that the beauty of Mars exists only in the human mind, and that science isn't just about cataloging data, it's also an act of creation. They can't destroy the consciousness of the universe because humanity is that consciousness
  • Before storming off, Ann mentions that humans aren't the lords of the universe.
  • Janet has had her camera specs on the whole time. The video is sent to Earth, and within weeks, a UNOMA committee approves the use of windmills to begin heating up the surface of Mars.
  • Arkady agrees to fly a dirigible and plant the windmills. He invites Nadia along.