Red Moon

Kim Stanley Robinson
Red Moon Cover

Red Moon


What I liked: KSR has some interesting ideas: about reforms which China and the U.S. could implement that would make the economy, the environment, and the general living conditions for humanity much better than they are today. He also describes some interesting possible technology and colony configuration options for the Moon.

What I didn't like: As usual, KSR's characters are thoroughly chewable cardboard, although his elderly Chinese man seems to at least approach some resemblance to 3-dimensionality. (I would be interested to hear the opinions of Chinese people on KSR's Chinese characters.)

One of the main characters is a very neuroatypical man who is brilliant at mathematics and quantum mechanics, but has the social development, awareness, and savvy of a child. We are expected to believe that his employer would send this extremely naïve, easily-manipulated person on his own, to the Moon, to deliver half of an immensely expensive ansible device to a Chinese leader in a political environment just as fraught as Chinese politics have always been... sorry, I'm not buying it.

It becomes clear that the reason this main character who knows nothing about anything was chosen was so that the author could have an excuse for the other characters to engage in info-dumping to him on such topics as politics, economics, environment, sociology, and philosophy. The author's ideas are not without merit; however, this makes for a somewhat slow-paced, tedious 450-page book.

Another character is a strong, intelligent woman in a position of power who spends all of her time internally monologuing petty grievances and competitiveness against another character. Seriously, this is the best characterization he can come up with?

The book's "ending" is an abrupt non-ending, and had I actually been emotionally-invested in the characters, it would likely have met the wall; however, it merely elicited an eyeroll, a headshake, and a sigh from me.

Fans of KSR's other books are likely to enjoy this one as well. Readers who have been disappointed with the lack of plotting and character development in other KSR books are not going to find anything to change their minds in this one.