Moving Mars by Greg Bear
In this essay C.D. analyzes how Greg Bear manipulates the struggles of aging in a politically unrest society to express the recurring themes of maturation and identity, and how these affect the relationships and connections created through the eyes of the protagonist, Casseia.


Moving Mars is an emotional epic that does exactly what the title implies, move an entire planet. This massive feat directly correlates with the tremendous growth that both the main character and Martian society experience from the beginning of the novel. Set in the time of a juvenile colonization of mars, nestled by the oversight of “Mother Earth” Casseia Majumdar struggles to find her own identity in a time when individuality is a disgrace. However, as Mars begins to find its own political identity, Casseia’s own identity begins to blossom and parallel.


In the beginning there is chaos. Casseia and Mars are both experiencing a time of influence from the “terries” on Earth and the few political dynasties on Mars. Binding Multiples, also known as BMs, are large feuding family corporations that separately run different sectors of mars. Casseia’s BM specifically, Majumdar, is the oldest and most conservative existing on Mars. This conservative structure is the most substantial influence on Casseia during her adolescent years. “I felt wonderful. I was doing something significant, and without my family’s approval. I thought I was finally growing up” (Bear 17). Casseia’s own ignorance and curiosity towards “growing up” are what catapults her into a whirlwind of romance, tragedy, and political prominence. Set out on a journey to find a partner for life that begins emotional and then becomes physical, her timing with her first partner, Charles, is ruined by her thirst to experience the world for herself.


After 100 years of colonization, Mars has had numerous political revolts and uprisings ranging from anarchy to dictatorship. As is evident in the student-driven strike where illegally voided students voiced their opinions about unification. “None of us knew what we’d be getting into when we started all this. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few hours. But we share a common goal--freedom to pursue our education without political interference--freedom to stand clear of the sibs of our parents and grandparents. That’s what Mars is all about-- something new, a grand experiment. We’ll be part of this experiment now, or by God, we’ll die trying” (Bear 24). Earth, the benefactor, simply fears the capabilities of Mars which is why any negotiations between the two planets to successfully unify are futile. This tension halts the political reform of Mars, resulting in Casseia pursuing political sympathies by traveling to Earth.


Once at earth, Casseia learns of the “enhancements” abused by most inhabitants on Earth. Basically, these are medical implants which alter the recipient's mental capabilities ranging from mathematics to language. At this point in time, she recognizes the importance of experiencing the hardships and successes in life naturally, rather than live the artificial lifestyle that earthlings have become accustomed to. “What she lacked was what I lacked---what all earth’s glory could not give her or me: experience that sat deep in the mind and in the flesh. Her enhancements and all her advanced education could not give her passionate conviction or a true sense of direction” (Bear 152). This proves her satisfaction and understanding of her self worth, and that she is not meant to be a exceptional at all aspects of life.


In regards to the theme of maturation, Casseia reaches her peak when she marries into a new BM. This is her first relationship where she feels no fear between the difference of physical and emotional love, as seen with Charles. This broadens her understanding of politics on Mars and results in the formation of a finally unified Federal Republic of Mars. This growth replicates Casseia who then becomes the Vice President, known as the leader of many, servant to all. Casseia however falls to the pressure of getting a singular enhancement, to better understand physics for the future of her planet. Even though, she fully resisted the procedure and is aware of exactly who she was before the surgery.


The ultimate decision of moving Mars to a different galaxy to escape the clutches of Earth, is the final instance where Casseia obliterates the connection between the old world and new, establishing Mars’s first case of individuality. This new separation causes chaos and civil unrest, including the mass sense of blame towards Casseia and those who helped her achieve the quantum leap for Mars. Even though Casseia had saved the planet from ultimate destruction from attacks on Earth, sympathizers still existed who called for the arrest of the “traitors.” “When all the judgements are made and my punishment is settled, I will think on these things: a trunk, a leaf, a green and glittering globe. Children will be born who remember nothing of the Old Sun. The new bright-flowered skies will be home for them--for you, whom I hope and pray will read this story” (Bear 444).


In conclusion, Casseia’s dramatic stance against conformity parallels the maturation of Mars and those who inhabit it. Greg Bear specifically addresses these complex issues through the study of Casseia’s interactions with her surroundings. The recurring themes of maturation and identity are what set the dynamic tone for a scientific fiction thriller set out to educate for the importance of individuality.


(C.D. 2016)