Analysis on red mars

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UNIVERSIDADE DE SÃO PAULO

Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas

Departamento de Letras Modernas


Discipline: FLM0576 - Tópicos do Romance (morning) The 2nd Semester of 2006
Professors: Dr. Maria Elisa Burgos Cevasco & Dr. Marcos César de Paula Soares
Student: Ricardo Tavares Eraldo – USP n.: 3782951
Date: February 14, 2007

Final Assignment: Analysis on the novel RedMars, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also is the midst of the garden, and the trees of knowledge of good and evil. […]”Genesis 2
As this paper is aimed at analyzing through the Utopian perspectives the science fiction novel entitled Red Mars (1993), by the American writer Kim Stanley Robinson, some relevant parallelisms (whenever possible) will be used with other three novels of other authors, as thefollowing: Ubik (1969), The Dispossessed (1974) and Woman on the Edge of Time (1976). Briefly exposing, issues such as imagination and fancy in the post-modernist literary works from the USA are, thereby, the main discussion to be brought up here, which has as the theme the dichotomies of two worlds, our Earth and any other planet.

Red Mars, our chief focus, is a very long descriptionregarding the building of a new world on Mars. This wonderful “prowess” is developed by “The First Hundred” – one hundred scientists from several areas of knowledge – whose main reciprocal goal is to create both a worldwide nation and its respective society which will value new customs which differ too much from the ones practiced by the peoples on Earth so far.

The Dispossessed, by the renownedUrsula K. Le Guin, presents a physicist who leaves his wife and children on his home planet (Anarres) and goes to another planet to seek the opportunity of publishing a theory which he believes is revolutionary in his area, in addition to being extremely helpful in his homeland. The novel by Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time, is a Utopian fantasy set in a framework which contrasts New Yorkerpresent days, probably 1970’s, with the rural village of Mattapoisett in 2137. Ubik, by Philip K. Dick, on the other hand, cannot be considered as a confrontation of two worlds, geographically speaking, but an alternating version of a single one, in its own near future (specifically in 1992), wherein technology has advanced to the extent of permitting ordinary civilians to reach the Moon.

Inrelation to Robinson’s novel, according to the literary critic Jameson, this literary work is a representation of all the conflicts that can take place in a full-blown globalization, besides being an example of a traditional post-modern work. For him, Red Mars can be classified as a set of a new formal tendency, in which not only a representation of Utopia is depicted, but rather the conflict of allpossible Utopias, in addition to the arguments about the nature and desirability of Utopia as such[1]. Well, in order to go into the whys and wherefores of this assertion given, it is worthwhile taking into account that the term “Utopia” in its strict meaning can be thought as being, in popular parlance, an ideal society, and as such, it has been used to describe both intentional communities andfictional societies portrayed in literature. Yet, this same term is sometimes applied pejoratively, in reference to an unrealistic ideal that is impossible to achieve, and has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia[2].

Another curious thing to be approached here still with reference to Jameson’s essay is that the reader, when is reading a science fiction literary work, ought to...
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