Study Guide

Red Mars Part 5, Chapter 4

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 5, Chapter 4

  • That night, John watches Martian television.
  • He spends the next few days at Echus Overlook before receiving a call from Helmut Bronski in Burroughs asking for a meeting.
  • The night before John takes off, he goes to see Sax in the labs.
  • Sax is planning to place a robot-controlled ice asteroid into orbit so the ice can burn up and thicken the hydrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere.
  • John rummages through Sax's stuff and finds a message about some hidden group working on their own, out of sight from the authorities. Seems Sax isn't as on the up-and-up as he seems…
  • John takes the train to Burroughs to meet with Helmut Bronski, German millionaire and UNOMA official. He informs John that Armscor, a transnational consortium, will be awarded the prospecting contract in Elysium.
  • John wonders if that breaks the Mars treaty, but apparently the treaty is up for revision and certain politicians and companies are anticipating certain revisions. Wink, wink.
  • And Armscor has a lot of political sway since it's composed of fifty of the old Fortune 500 companies. In other words, they've got bank and own banks.
  • During dinner, John realizes he's never been waited on before on Mars. As for Coyote, Helmut knows nothing.
  • The next morning, John has Pauline, his computer/AI, help him research Helmut's doings over the last six months. His list of potential sabotage suspects has a new addition.
  • John treks up to Bradbury point to observe the mining operations up there. He learns that the miners need the elevator to be built, otherwise they can't ship their product to Earth and their profit margins won't include actual profits.
  • He also learns about an Arab caravan that has said they were visited by some lost colonists. He heads out to meet them.