One of the strangest things that I found interesting in the reading of part four and the first third of part five was the chapter focusing on Michael. It makes no sense for the Mars team to have sent someone along that apparently has many psychological problems along to be the chief phycologist of the Mars expedition. Didn’t anyone screen for this? In the italicized portion before Part Two, the ‘other’ narrator goes on to explain how Michael Duval was chosen to be a part of the Mars expedition, and includes the line “the selection committee had thus created some of the very problems it had hoped to prevent” (page 29). So knowing that, the committee only chose to send one shrink to help ninety-nine other people, even though it had already determined that even the process of being chosen was going to have adverse affects on the people of the Mars expedition. Later on, before the scene with Hiroko, Michael himself states that “every therapist on Earth was also in therapy, it was part of the job, it came with the territory” and even “certainly it had been a mistake to have only one psychiatrist along” (page 215). I wonder why, exactly, did the people running the whole thing back on Earth agree to only have one person on board that was going to monitor and stabilize the mental health of the whole group. Was it just wishful thinking? Then, the whole scene with Hiroko and her clan of followers was just bizarre and unexpected. According to all the other characters, Hiroko had always been unpredictable and a little bit odd, but it was completely jarring to see it in detailed action. Then the fact that Michael chooses to go with them, to apparently escape to a hidden refuge in the south that the farmers had been building for quite some time!
What I also found interesting were the time skips during Michael’s chapter. During Nadia’s Part Three, there were obviously points where large amounts of time were passing, but they weren’t clearly marked. Had we just jumped a year? A week? A month? But here it was very easy to follow the time skips, with Michael actively mentioning what Ls it had become. Though we rarely got to know what was going on with the rest of the colony during the skips, it felt as if it were more comprehendible than Nadia’s vague mention of passing time.