Moving Mars (1993)
Spine Front Cover Book Details
Greg Bear
Publication Date 2001
Format Leather-bound (235 x 160 mm)
Publisher The Easton Press
Genre Science Fiction
Product Details
Series Masterpieces of Science Fiction
No. of Pages 407
Paper Type Acid-neutral paper
First Edition No
Personal Details
URL This book on
Rating 8
No. of Reviews 56
Frontispiece/Illustrator Marc Fishman
Introduction/Foreward George Zebrowski
Original Details
Original Publisher Tor Books
Original Publication Year 1993
In this 1995 Nebula Award-winning novel, a revolution is transforming the formerly passive Earth-colony of Mars. While opposing political factions on Mars battle for the support of colonists, scientists make a staggering scientific breakthrough that at once fuels the conflict and creates a united Mars front, as the technically superior Earth tries to take credit for it. Backed against a wall, colonial leaders are forced to make a monumental decision that changes the future of Mars forever.
Collector's Notes

Moving Mars was published in November of 1993, at 448 pages, by Tor Books with a dust-jacket illustration by Wayne Barlowe, and simultaneously in the United Kingdom by Legend, at 452 pages, with a dust-jacket illustration by Nick Rodgers. The novel was reprinted by the Science Fiction Book Club in January of 1994 at 407 pages, and in paperback by Tor at 500 pages in December of 1994.

Science fiction is a continuing dialogue about the human species and its place in the universe, and Greg Bear's twelfth novel became part of the dialogue about Mars that became a major focus of science-fiction writers as soon as sending people to Mars began to seem possible. Although the red planet had been the subject of speculation ever since the earliest humans noticed it moving against the fixed stars, astronomer Percival Lowell re-invigorated speculation with his announcements of canals and the possibilities of life. The romantic adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, interspersed with an occasional threat of invasion in the tradition of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and the greater realism of Stanley Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey," were the direct result.

Mars provided a habitation for ancient civilizations and metaphors. C. S. Lewis used it for Christian fables in Out of the Silent Planet and Ray Bradbury, as a contrast to the crude materialism of human explorers. Reaction to romance and metaphor arrived in the 1950s with the realistic extrapolations of Arthur C. Clarke's The Sands of Mars, Cyril Judd's (C. M. Kornbluth avid Judith Merril) Outpost Mars, and Erik van Lhin's (Lester del Rey) Police Your Planet, as well as Robert A. Heinlein's earlier Red Planet and Rex Gordon's No Man Friday.

With the moon landing a reality in 1969, writers turned their attention to what seemed like the next likely goal in space. Just as a series of stories and novels about the coming conquest of the moon had seemed to anticipate, if not prepare the public for, the epic, televised Neil Armstrong's footprint ("one small step for a man "), the reality of a Mars expedition may well be foreshadowed by a flurry of novels about the difficulties and triumphs of the colonization of Mars. Sterling Lanier published Menace under Marswood in 1983, Lewis Shiner, Frontera in 1984, Ian McDonald, Desolation Road in 1988, Robert L. Forward, Martian Rainbow in 1991, and Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars, and Jack Williamson, Beachhead, in 1992.

Where these novels dealt with the problems of reaching and achieving a foothold on an alien planet, Moving Mars takes place in a period more than a century after the first settlements. The pioneer period is over, and the difficult business of creating a viable social and political community has begun. Parallels to human history are inevitable: the emotional and financial sacrifice of sending colonists to a distant world creates the expectation of reward, but the colonists have their own lives and values to protect and their own aspirations shaped by their new environment. Heinlein in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress drew comparisons to the American Revolution, while Isaac Asimov in "The Martian Way" displayed his special talent for rational compromise. Moving Mars assumes a more pragmatic scenario of betrayal and miscalculation, mixed with scientific and technological speculation and a final epic journey. In the process Bear imagined such things as a quantum logic computer that has since been realized, and speculative physics inspired by a 1960s book by physicist Frederick Kantor that physicist John Archibald Wheeler has called, more recently, "its from bits."

It was a typical Greg Bear performance, solid extrapolation and inspired speculation happening to characters who display the solidity and stigmata of real people, and it won him another Nebula Award from his fellow writers as the best science-fiction novel of the year. Bear's early experiences may have prepared him for far-traveling. His father was a Navy man, and after Bear's birth in San Diego in 1951, he was taken to Japan, the Philippines, Alaska, and various parts of the U.S. by the time he was twelve. Bear started writing in Alaska at the age of nine, finished his first story at ten, and sold his first story at fifteen. By the time he was twenty-three he was selling regularly and has been a full-time writer ever since. He published his first novel in 1979. Since then he has published a dozen and a half novels and numerous short stories. He is one of a handful of writers who have won Nebulas in all four categories, and his most recent novel, Darwin's Radio, won a Nebula Award in 2001.

Bear married Poul Anderson's daughter Astrid in 1983. They have two children. He worked as an artist early in his career, painting covers for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Galaxy, among others. He served two terms as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Of his writing The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction said, "Between 1985 and 1990 . . . he published six novels whose importance to the realm of hard SF - and to the world of SF in general - it would be hard to overrate . . ." It called Bear one of the two contemporary writers who "centrally... manifest the voice of US genre SF." Of Moving Mars, it continued, Bear's "novel gains a commensurate freedom of sweep in its story - which intermixes politics and an array of scientific discoveries - of the emancipation of Mars from the hegemony of a paranoia-driven Earth."

If science-fiction writers already have imagined human colonies on Mars, can the reality be far behind?