Study Guide

Red Mars Part 5, Chapter 7

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 5, Chapter 7

  • John stays at Acheron, studying travel patterns to find the saboteurs and also researching areobotany. He observes Marina designing a new species of sequoia to live on Mars.
  • As a side effect of the longevity therapy, everyone seems focused on longer experiments and longer investigations. Mo' time, mo' research.
  • He also learns about Vlad and Marina's new concept for Mars's future: eco-economics. Basically, it counts economic costs in terms of caloric intake, and by doing so, they hope to keep the economic system free of parasites and over-compensating apex predators like the transnational corporations. But they still have a few kinks to work out.
  • A dust storm hits, the largest and longest in recent Martian history. The pure power of nature amazes John as he marvels at the storm.
  • John leaves during the storm, taking extra precaution due to the dangers.
  • He travels to another mine located at Pt (pronounced "pete"). The Azanian miners have the same mentality as those at Bradbury Point: they need that orbital elevator built to turn profit on their labors.
  • John travels to Pavonis to visit Phyllis, and he finds her habitat crowded with Praxis and other transnational executives.
  • With Helmut, Phyllis gives John and the executives a demonstration of how the orbital elevator will work to get materials to Earth for a very low cost.
  • At dinner, John has difficulty hiding his contempt for the transnationals attempting to make their profit by strip-mining Mars.
  • Afterward, John realizes he's made himself some powerful enemies. Hey, if you're going to do something, go all out.
  • When John leaves, it's to visit Maya at Hellas. En route, he meets a caravan of friendly Sufis who claim he is a talib (seeker) on his tariquat (path).
  • He has coffee with the twenty-or-so people, asking them all sorts of questions about their philosophy and relation to Mars.
  • Later that afternoon, the Sufis suit up and go dancing in the dust; John joins them. Although he is horrible at the dance, the rhythm sweeps him up until he begins to chant the ancient names of Mars to the beat, working himself into a transcendental frenzy.
  • He overworks himself and has to be brought into the shelter before he vomits in his mask (a very serious and gross problem that).
  • Inside, he realizes he wants Mars to have a new religion, and he wants the dance to be a part of it.
  • He partakes in a tea ceremony, and the Sufis tell him how they have studied the old cultures and the old forms of exchange. Their culture is like the ancient ones and revolves around the idea of giving gifts.
  • John asks if they know the Coyote. They do not, but they do tell him about what they call "the hidden one," the last survivor of an ancient Martian race who helps endangered wanderers, rovers, and settlements.
  • Before going to bed, an old woman recites a Rumi Jalaluddin poem. The next morning, John is on his way again.