The saying goes that laughter is the best medicine. In Part 3 of Red Mars, this seems to hold true as well as laughter is mentioned on multiple different occasions. This is a pattern of certain peculiarity given the scenario of the book, and how out of place laughter could be perceived as.
On page 99 it reads, “She had been laughing. She stood and walked to another freight drop, humming “Royal Garden Blues.” She climbed the leg of the next drop and rubbed the crust of red dirt off an engraved manifest on the side of the big metal crate.” Later, on the same page the passage goes, “ “Where’s Ann, you women get back here, hey Nadia come help us get this dammed habitat online, we can even get the door open!” She laughed.” Both of these passages show laughter as a means to cope with the world around the characters, as dumb jokes invoke laughter in this case where in other cases it would not. This shows the solitary nature of the first hundred, that there is so much need and yearning for human contact especially during the menial labor portrayed in the passages, that laughter is used as a coping mechanism as a means to deal with the small number of actual people, the laughter fills the darkness and replaces the empty void with the sounds of cheer.
Later on, page 106 contains another passage regarding laughter, stating: “ “No, no,” Hiroko said, laughing. “Day after, okay?” Hiroko’s main competition for labor came from Sax Russell and his crowd, who were working to start all the factories. Vlad and Ursula and the biomed group were also hungry to get all their labs set up and running.” Again, laughter is pointed out as the emotion felt. But this time, it seems that it is laughter to lighten a mood, something definitely of note. Given the small number of people, tensions rising is not an unheard of problem, and the use of laughter here, given that it is stated that there is competition, is used to kind of defuse a situation before it potentially gets out of hand, at which point the entire mission could be jeopardized.
In Part 3, laughter is used in entirely different cases, but both show that emotions are a human need that to be filled, in isolation, and in proper management of a group. Laughter has many uses, and I found it interesting to see it used in this book.