I've lately been going back and reading a bunch of famous books that I'd overlooked or just never got around to reading. I just got to Red Mars. This felt like a book that was written in the 50s or 60s. The portrayal of American culture was archaic ("John Boone/Went to the moon/No fast cars/He went to Mars"...need I say more?). The notion of socialist-utopian Russians was horribly out of date (even more so than the idea of Russian-American cooperation as the future of space travel; where's China?). The portrayal of the (single!) Asian character was embarrassingly mystical-Orientalist. Information technology was basically not a factor. Keep in mind that this was written in 1993 - the same year as A Fire Upon the Deep. How can a book be decades out of date the day it hits the shelves? After 150 pages, I had to put it down. I just couldn't take the book seriously as a work of speculative fiction. I think Robinson should have actually set the book in 1993, and made it a retro-futurist thing.