Study Guide

Red Mars Part 5, Chapter 8

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 5, Chapter 8

  • The transponders lead him to a new settlement called Turner Wells where he finds fellow First Hundred alumni Mary Dunkel.
  • Mary tells him how drilling into the aquifer was pretty scary since there is a lot of water down there.
  • She's not sure how much damage the deluge would have done, but she's thinking more destructive than a large asteroid. Now we're not going to tell you how to highlight your book, but you should probably highlight this. It'll be important later.
  • 3:30 AM—the witching hour. Or the bombing hour in this case, as John is awoken by the shudder of a small explosion.
  • Mary manages to cap the well, and John investigates but finds no clues.
  • And John Boone's on the road again.
  • This time he meets up with Nadia, who's building a farm with building-sized robots. Go big or go home, right? This is how they farm on Mars.
  • They talk about the space elevator and what it means to Mars; looking at the robots, John is astounded by the power humans possess.
  • Hitting the road again, John has to stop when a dust storm and difficult terrain combine to make continuing a definite no-go.
  • That night, he's visited by five people calling themselves Martians. One's the Coyote and another is named Kasei; they ask John to slow the rate of immigration.
  • He asks them to stop the sabotages, but the Coyote just says they're building Mars the same as he is.
  • John's pretty sure they're with Hiroko, so he asks them to tell her that they need to talk.
  • Realizing the group is paralyzing him with a blue glob of stuff, John springs on them, catching Kasei behind the neck, but ultimately succumbing to the paralysis.
  • When he wakes up, he finds Kasei's skin under his finger nails and saves it to have Ursula do a DNA analysis. Gross and clever.
  • He returns to Hellas Basin to report in with Sax and listen to him give a speech. He also chats it up with Ann, who has her son, Peter, with her.
  • A few days later, John meets with UNOMA investigators Sam Houston, Chang, and their team.
  • They claim to be investigating the sabotage incidents, but John gets the distinct impression they're investigating him, possibly due to their entire lack of subtlety… or something like that.
  • John receives a message from Ursula, telling him congratulations—it's a boy. He and Kasei are father and son.
  • John goes outside to walk in the dust storm, but he's attacked by two people who cut into his walker suit and run. Finding the garage door locked from the inside, John thinks quickly and uses a drill to cut his way into the plastic cover of the habitat.
  • In with the good air out with the bad. Once John has his head back, he runs to his room and quickly dumps the walker suit. His back is badly frostbitten.
  • The UNOMA investigators come to tell him there has been an incident. No duh, right? But John goes with them to investigate, pretending he knows nothing.
  • When he gets back, he finds two investigators in his room. John calls Sam down and gives him the what-for from the First Man on Mars.
  • The investigators leave. John believes he knows who tried to kill him.