I found the following passage to be a telling microcosm of the novel: “Homesickness, there must be a better term for that, a scientific label that would legitimize it, make it real to others. But he already knew it was real” (226). I thought this was so particularly interesting because it comes well into the novel, so the characters have been there a while. I also thinks it could serve as a sort of thesis for the main point of what Robinson is trying to argue with this novel. It relates to our current situation in that we may never feel comfortable anywhere but on earth and that ruining it and fleeing elsewhere isn’t a real option. Also, I think it questions the notion of what makes us naturally human. Maybe there is a part of each person that it naturally tied to being an earthly that we can’t replicate anywhere else. If this is the case, then how would future generations of people born on Mars be affected? Would it change the way that we exist by being born somewhere else? I think this is very relatable when you consider how you feel after being inside for a long time and then being able to leave. There is an innate part of us that desires being outside and interacting with nature. It seems like the inhabitants of Mars would just feel sort of sick and unfulfilled all the time. This passage also seems to create an interesting sort of paradox between the vast potential of what science allows us to do and the simplistic desires that it can’t replicate. In the midst of a novel concerning the surreal, futuristic goal of colonizing another world, we are faced with one of humanities oldest and most simplistic problems of missing one’s home.
Most of all, I thought of one of the first lines in the novel when I read this where the goal of living on Mars is to escape humanity’s earthly problems by starting over. It seems that these colonists traded earthly problems for martian problems and it is interesting that here, we have someone missing earth and its faults. Another point I believe this novel makes is that the problems we face as a society come from us as a society. Taking our society elsewhere will also take our problems with us. We should work amongst ourselves to alleviate the issues facing our world rather than making more anthropomorphic moves to fix previous anthropomorphic moves.