In Regards to Chapters 5 and 6 of
Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica
18 March 1999
I didn't really think much about the colours in Antartica. I think it's a bit of a farfetched argument that the introduction of coloured buildings to Antartica's white terrain is analogous to introducing coloured people either there are anywhere else.
I felt that the ecological considerations of this book were very reminiscent of Ben Elton's Stark. Elton went to some length to describe how the Earth is being destroyed and by whom. Though it's been awhile since I read Stark, it seems interesting to consider how two very different books when it comes to voice (Elton is extremely humorous, but not to the detriment of his message), are very similiar in their messages about capitalism, politics, and the environment.
I also felt this book was similiar to 1984. Just as Antartica took current issues and moved them only a few miles and a few years away from us, Orwell took pending issues and moved them only a few miles and a few years away from his readers. Though the politics may seem very different on the surface since 1984 is often misinterpreted as being anti-communist (or anti-socialist); these interpretations miss the point that Orwell was an English Socialist. Orwell was writing about leadership, about power, about mythology and how it maintains power. Just as Orwell did not really prophecize any radical technological progress, neither did Robinson. In this context, we may see that Robinson has applied the same principles that Anthony Burgess explains and demonstrates in 1985.
X seemed to represent the anyman of the work force, a person treated like an anonymous machine. I don't think they ever even give his real name in the book.