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Green Mars

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Green Mars
Kim Stanley Robinson

The second volume in the bestselling Mars trilogy – and now part of the Voyager Classics collection.Mars can be plundered – for the benefit of a ravaged Earth. It can be terraformed to suit Man’s needs – frozen lakes form, lichen grows, the atmosphere slowly becomes breathable. But most importantly, Mars can be owned. On Earth, countries are bought and sold by the transnationals. Why not Mars too?Man’s dream is underway, but so is his greatest test. The survivors of the First Hundred – Hiroko, Nadia, Maya and Simon among them – know that technology alone is not enough. Trust and co-operation are need to create a new world – but these qualities are as thin on the ground as the air they breathe.

Voyager Classics



For Lisa and David


Cover (#ufdb56831-aa22-5e5a-962a-9154b929ce80)

Title Page (#u788ad0a2-e6c5-51ea-9774-3afa55af40c9)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

PART ONE Areoformation (#u87463be1-6208-5e08-932d-02b23883a2b7)

PART TWO The Ambassador (#uda05bb43-7c1b-5e40-b073-d2201c83611f)

PART THREE Long Runout (#uc38a6181-8c64-57ac-b9ea-8f9dadbf59e0)

PART FOUR The Scientist As Hero (#u0e1507c6-729b-5d0e-ba6a-3c2883e4e8f4)

PART FIVE Homeless (#litres_trial_promo)

PART SIX Tariqat (#litres_trial_promo)

PART SEVEN What Is To Be Done? (#litres_trial_promo)

PART EIGHT Social Engineering (#litres_trial_promo)

PART NINE The Spur of the Moment (#litres_trial_promo)

PART TEN Phase Change (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

Chronology (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

Voyager Classics (#litres_trial_promo)

The Voyager Classics Collection (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

PART ONE Areoformation (#ulink_cf77f0c1-44f5-5e81-92c1-f9c445f15266)

The point is not to make another Earth. Not another Alaska or Tibet, not a Vermont nor a Venice, not even an Antarctica. The point is to make something new and strange, something Martian.

In a sense our intentions don’t even matter. Even if we try to make another Siberia or Sahara, it won’t work. Evolution won’t allow it, and at its heart this is an evolutionary process, an endeavour driven at a level below intention, as when life made its first miracle leap out of matter, or when it crawled out of sea onto land.

Again we struggle in the matrix of a new world. Of course all the genetic templates for our new biota are Terran; the minds designing them are Terran; but the terrain is Martian. And terrain is a powerful genetic engineer, determining what flourishes and what doesn’t, pushing along progressive differentiation, and thus the evolution of new species. And as the generations pass, all the members of a biosphere evolve together, adapting to their terrain in a complex communal response, a creative self-designing ability. This process, no matter how much we intervene in it, is essentially out of our control. Genes mutate, creatures evolve: a new biosphere emerges, and with it a new noosphere. And eventually the designers’ minds, along with everything else, have been forever changed.

This is the process of areoformation.

One day the sky fell. Plates of ice crashed into the lake, and then started thumping on the beach. The children scattered like frightened sandpipers. Nirgal ran over the dunes to the village and burst into the greenhouse, shouting, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Peter sprinted out the doors and across the dunes faster than Nirgal could follow.

Back on the beach great panes of ice stabbed the sand, and some chunks of dry ice fizzed in the water of the lake. When the children were all clumped around him Peter stood with his head craned back, staring at the dome so far above. “Back to the village,” he said in his no-nonsense tone. On the way there he laughed. “The sky is falling!” he squeaked, tousling Nirgal’s hair. Nirgal blushed and Dao and Jackie laughed, their frosted breath shooting out in quick white plumes.

Peter was one of those who climbed the side of the dome to repair it. He and Kasei and Michel spidered over the village in sight of all, over the beach and then the lake until they were smaller than children, hanging in slings from ropes attached to icehooks. They sprayed the flaw in the dome with water until it froze into a new clear layer, coating the white dry ice. When they came down they talked of the warming world outside. Hiroko had come out of her little bamboo stand by the lake to watch, and Nirgal said to her, “Will we have to leave?”

“We will always have to leave,” Hiroko said. “Nothing on Mars will last.”

But Nirgal liked it under the dome. In the morning he woke in his own round bamboo room, high in Crèche Crescent, and ran down to the frosty dunes with Jackie and Rachel and Frantz and the other early risers. He saw Hiroko on the far shore, walking the beach like a dancer, floating over her own wet reflection. He wanted to go to her but it was time for school.

They went back to the village and crowded into the schoolhouse coatroom, hanging up their down jackets and standing with their blue hands stretched over the heating grate, waiting for the day’s teacher. It could be Dr Robot and they would be bored senseless, counting his blinks like the seconds on the clock. It could be the Good Witch, old and ugly, and then they would be back outside building all day, exuberant with the joy of tools. Or it could be the Bad Witch, old and beautiful, and they would be stuck before their lecterns all morning trying to think in Russian, in danger of a rap on the hand if they giggled or fell asleep. The Bad Witch had silver hair and a fierce glare and a hooked nose, like the ospreys that lived in the pines by the lake. Nirgal was afraid of her.

So like the others he concealed his dismay as the school door opened and the Bad Witch walked in. But on this day she seemed tired, and let them out on time even though they had done poorly at arithmetic. Nirgal followed Jackie and Dao out of the schoolhouse and around the corner, into the alley between Crèche Crescent and the back of the kitchen. Dao peed against the wall and Jackie pulled down her pants to show she could too, and just then Bad Witch came around the corner. She pulled them all out of the alley by the arm, Nirgal and Jackie clutched together in one of her talons, and right out in the plaza she spanked Jackie while shouting furiously at the boys. “You two stay away from her! She’s your sister!” Jackie, crying and twisting to pull up her pants, saw Nirgal looking at her, and she tried to hit him and Maya with the same furious swing, and fell over bare-bottomed and howled.

It wasn’t true that Jackie was their sister. There were twelve sansei children in Zygote, and they knew each other like brothers and sisters and many of them were, but not all. It was confusing and seldom discussed. Jackie and Dao were the oldest, Nirgal a season younger, the rest bunched a season after that: Rachel, Emily, Reull, Steve, Simud, Nanedi, Tiu, Frantz, and Huo Hsing. Hiroko was mother to everyone in Zygote, but not really—only to Nirgal and Dao and six other of the sansei, and several of the nisei grownups as well. Children of the mother goddess.

But Jackie was Esther’s daughter. Esther had moved away after a fight with Kasei, who was Jackie’s father. Not many of them knew who their fathers were. Once Nirgal had been crawling over a dune after a crab when Esther and Kasei had loomed overhead, Esther crying and Kasei shouting, “If you’re going to leave me then leave!” He had been crying too. He had a pink stone eyetooth. He too was a child of Hiroko’s; so Jackie was Hiroko’s granddaughter. That was how it worked. Jackie had long black hair and was the fastest runner in Zygote, except for Peter. Nirgal could run the longest, and sometimes ran around the lake three or four times in a row, just to do it, but Jackie was faster in the sprints. She laughed all the time. If Nirgal ever argued with her she would say, “All right Uncle Nirgie,” and laugh at him. She was his niece, although a season older. But not his sister.

The school door crashed open and there was Coyote, teacher for the day. Coyote travelled all over the world, and spent very little time in Zygote. It was a big day when he taught them. He led them around the village finding odd things to do, but all the time he made one of them read aloud, from books impossible to understand, written by philosophers, who were dead people. Bakunin, Nietzsche, Mao, Bookchin—these people’s comprehensible thoughts lay like unexpected pebbles on a long beach of gibberish. The stories Coyote had them read from the Odyssey or the Bible were easier to understand, though unsettling, as the people in them killed each other a lot and Hiroko said it was wrong. Coyote laughed at Hiroko and he often howled for no obvious reason as they read these gruesome tales, and asked them hard questions about what they had heard, and argued with them as if they knew what they were talking about, which was disconcerting. “What would you do? Why would you do that?” All the while teaching them how the Rickover’s fuel recycler worked, or making them check the plunger hydraulics on the lake’s wave machine, until their hands went from blue to white, and their teeth chattered so much they couldn’t talk clearly. “You kids sure get cold easy,” he said. “All but Nirgal.”

Nirgal was good with cold. He knew intimately all its many stages, and he did not dislike the feel of it. People who disliked cold did not understand that one could adjust to it, that its bad effects could all be dealt with by a sufficient push from within. Nirgal was very familiar with heat as well. If you pushed heat out hard enough then cold only became a sort of vivid shocking envelope in which you moved. And so its ultimate effect was as a stimulant, making you want to run.

“Hey Nirgal, what’s the air temperature?”

“Two seventy-one.”

Coyote’s laugh was scary, an animal cackle that included all the noises anything could make. Different every time too. “Here, let’s stop the wave machine and see what the lake looks like flat.”

The water of the lake was always liquid, while the water-ice coating the underside of the dome had to stay frozen. This explained most of their mesocosmic weather, as Sax put it, giving them their mists and sudden winds, their rain and fog and occasional snow. On this day the weather machine was almost silent, the big hemisphere of space under the dome nearly windless. With the wave machine turned off, the lake soon settled down to a round flat plate. The surface of the water became the same white colour as the dome, but the lake bottom, covered by green algae, was still visible through the white sheen. So the lake was simultaneously pure white and dark green. On the far shore the dunes and scrub pines were reflected upside-down in this two-toned water, as perfectly as in any mirror. Nirgal stared at the sight, entranced, everything falling away, nothing there but this pulsing green/white vision. He saw: there were two worlds, not one—two worlds in the same space, both visible, separate and different but collapsed together, so that they were visible as two only at certain angles. Push at vision’s envelope, push like one pushed against the envelope of cold: push! Such colours! …

“Mars to Nirgal, Mars to Nirgal!”

They laughed at him. He was always doing that, they told him. Going off. His friends were fond of him, he saw that in their faces. Coyote broke chips of flat ice from the strand, then skipped them across the lake. All of them did the same, until the intersecting white-green ripples made the upside-down world shiver and dance. “Look at that!” Coyote shouted.

Between throws he chanted, in his bouncing English that was like a perpetual song: “You kids are living the best lives in history, most people just fluid in the great world machine, and here you’re in on the birth of a world! Unbelievable! But it’s pure luck you know, no credit to you, not until you do something with it, you could have been born in a mansion, a jail, a shanty town in Port of Spain, but here you are in Zygote, the secret heart of Mars! Course just now you’re down here like moles in a hole, with vultures above all ready to eat you, but the day it’s coming when you walk this planet free of every bond. You remember what I’m telling you, it’s prophecy my children! And meanwhile look how fine it is, this little ice paradise.”

He threw a chip straight at the dome, and they all chanted Ice Paradise! Ice Paradise! Ice Paradise! until they were helpless with laughter.

But that night Coyote spoke to Hiroko, when he thought no one was listening. “Roko you got to take those kids outside, and show them the world. Even if it’s only under the fog hood. They’re like moles in a hole down here, for Christ’s sake.” Then he was gone again, who knew where, off on one of his mysterious journeys into that other world folded over them.

Some days Hiroko came in to the village to teach them. These to Nirgal were the best days of all. She always took them down to the beach; and going to the beach with Hiroko was like being touched by a god. It was her world—the green world inside the white—and she knew everything about it, and when she was there the subtle pearly colours of sand and dome pulsed with both worlds’ colours at once, pulsed as if trying to break free of what held them.

They sat on the dunes, watching the shorebirds skitter and peep as they charged together up and down the strand. Gulls wheeled overhead and Hiroko asked them questions, her black eyes twinkling merrily. She lived by the lake with a small group of her intimates, Iwao, Rya, Gene, Evgenia, all in a little bamboo stand in the dunes. And she spent a lot of time visiting other hidden sanctuaries around the South Pole. So she always needed catching up on the village news. She was a slender woman, tall for one of the issei, as neat as the shorebirds in her dress and her movement. She was old, of course, impossibly ancient like all the issei, but with something in her manner which made her seem younger than even Peter or Kasei—just a little bit older than the kids, in fact, with everything in the world new before her, pushing to break into all its colours.

“Look at the pattern this seashell makes. The dappled whorl, curving inward to infinity. That’s the shape of the universe itself. There’s a constant pressure, pushing toward pattern. A tendency in matter to evolve into ever more complex forms. It’s a kind of pattern gravity, a holy greening power we call viriditas, and it is the driving force in the cosmos. Life, you see. Like these sand fleas and limpets and krill—although these krill in particular are dead, and helping the fleas. Like all of us,” waving a hand like a dancer. “And because we are alive, the universe must be said to be alive. We are its consciousness as well as our own. We rise out of the cosmos and we see its mesh of patterns, and it strikes us as beautiful. And that feeling is the most important thing in all the universe—its culmination, like the colour of the flower at first bloom on a wet morning. It’s a holy feeling, and our task in this world is to do everything we can to foster it. And one way to do that is to spread life everywhere. To aid it into existence where it was not before, as here on Mars.”

This to her was the supreme act of love, and when she talked about it, even if they didn’t fully understand, they felt the love. Another push, another kind of warmth in the envelope of cold. She touched them as she talked, and they dug for shells as they listened. “Mud clam! Antarctic limpet. Glass sponge—watch out it can cut you!” It made Nirgal happy just to look at her.

And one morning, as they stood from their dig to do more beachcombing, she returned his gaze, and he recognised her expression—it was precisely the expression on his face when he looked at her, he could feel it in his muscles. So he made her happy too! Which was intoxicating.

He held her hand as they walked the beach. “It’s a simple ecology in some ways,” she said as they knelt to inspect another clam shell. “Not many species, and the food chains are short. But so rich. So beautiful.” She tested the temperature of the lake with her hand. “See the mist? The water must be warm today.”

By this time she and Nirgal were alone, the other kids running around the dunes or up and down the strand. Nirgal bent down to touch a wave as it stalled out next to their feet, leaving behind a white lace of foam. “It’s two seventy-five and a little over.”

“You’re so sure.”

“I can always tell.”
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