Study Guide

Red Mars Part 5, Chapter 9

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 5, Chapter 9

  • John wants to talk with Arkady, so he takes a trip to Phobos.
  • His old friend greets him and gives him a tour of his rocking moon pad.
  • John asks if Arkady is involved in the sabotage incidents, but Arkady says he should know better.
  • Arkady takes John to the infinity vault and informs him that the economic situation is changing on Mars.
  • Before they were a scientific station, a "prehistoric utopia" (5.9.20), but now UNOMA and the transnats know about the resources available and are claiming it's time Mars pay the bills. The debt sharks only swim when there is money in the water.
  • And the First Hundred are getting in on it—Arkady tells John that both Phyllis and Frank are consulting for major transnats.
  • They agree on most things except this small idea: John would like to try to get the Mars treaty renewed as is and then enforced, but Arkady believes more radical action is required. Did we say small? Oops.
  • Back on Mars, John goes to the Sabishii Mohole. The Japanese miners there have begun to worship the nature of Mars again, a Martian resurgence of Shintoism.
  • He talks with a resident named Nanao Nakayama and realizes this group of Martians is also "paying attention in a new way [and] asking new questions" (5.9.48).
  • John returns to Senzeni Na asking about Hiroko, but is told about an upcoming Martian revolution instead. No one sent him an invitation. Do they have invitations for revolutions? Is it B.Y.O.G. (bring your own gun)?
  • Doesn't matter because John thinks a revolution is a bad idea; he believes they have other methods of resistance available to them.
  • In his suite's guest quarters, he bumps into Sam and Chang. They want to know where he's been, but John has a strict policy against being interrogated by people who break into his rooms.
  • John leaves Senzeni Na. On the road, he calls up Helmut and asks him to use his influence to get Sam off his back. But Helmut's on their side.
  • He then calls Frank to ask why Helmut's giving up the planet to these guys. If you'll allow us to summarize Frank's response: John you're an idiot. Look around you. That's the gist of it.
  • Onward to Underhill. It's full of strangers now and hardly feels like home to John. Sadness.
  • While on a walk, he notices Houston and Chang. Not trusting them, he jacks into security and has Pauline scan his room. Good thing, too, since he finds a dead body in the bed (and not one he left there).
  • Using Underhill's robotic janitors, he's able to remove the body with no one being any the wiser. He also tweaks Underhill's security.
  • He walks outside for an hour before re-entering Underhill. UNOMA investigators are waiting for him but find nothing in his room. When they leave, John needs a rest but opts to lie on the floor instead.
  • Later that night, Spencer informs him that they found a body in a robot hopper.
  • The largest dust storm in human Martian history ends, and people go crazy for some sun.
  • John calls Sax and receives more good news: Sam has collected an ice asteroid, and he'll introduce it to Martian orbit soon.
  • This gives John and idea. He tells Spencer they should have a party at Olympus Mons to celebrate the end of the storm; there, they'll watch the asteroid.
  • Spencer thinks this is a good idea.