It is quite difficult for me to decide quite where to begin with Red Mars. I’ve had so many thoughts and so much information to ponder upon. Perhaps the most interesting part that I read that even now continues to stick with me would be the beginning of part two the double binds. When I reflect on what I read a particular quote came to mind that I thought embodied (for lack of a better term) the essence of the double binds.
““…they were crazy enough to want to leave Earth forever, but sane enough to disguise this fundamental madness, in fact defend it as pure rationality…..and so, naturally they claimed to be the most scientifically curious people in history! But of course there had to be more to it than that. They had to be alienated somehow, alienated and solitary enough not to care about leaving everyone they had known behind forever…”” (Page 27-28)
I noticed that there were many fluctuating levels of alienation and togetherness. Each individual had to be strong enough to handle taking care of themselves and being alone while also having healthy levels of social skills to get along with different cultures and races and beliefs in order to survive.
Personally, at the end of page 29 I found this passage to be particularly foreboding, “The selection committee had thus created some of the very problems it had hoped to prevent.”. Though one thing that particular puzzled me was Chalmers actions in Part 1 during the Festival night. His actions seem so mischievous and primitive.
Something else worth mentioning is as I read the relationship between Chalmers and John Boone being similar to the relationship between Crake and Jimmy. Crake and Boone are both charming and public figures that people seem to easily be drawn to while Jimmy and Chalmers, both talented in their own rights, are more behind the scenes to the bright spotlight shining on Crake/Boone. I came upon this thought on page 39, “It was difficult for Chalmers, of course; he was the Americans’ official leader, and even had the title “Captain”—but Boone, with his blonde good looks and the strange presence of hi accomplishment, certainly had more natural authority—he seemed the real American leader, and Frank Chalmers something like an overactive executive officer, doing Boone’s unspoken bidding.”
S/N: Originally, I had thought Oryx and Maya Toitovna were quite similar as well but the verdict is still out on that one.