I know he was jealous about Maya, but the book implied some political reason that wasn't ever explained, to my recollection.

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    Vague recollection says he was in cahoots with an ethnic group of colonists (Russian?) and John was blocking some of their proposals. It never really mattered to the plot in the end... as Frank found out when it all went to hell, none of his ladder climbing and scheming gave him the slightest edge in just surviving.
    – Radhil
    Apr 7, 2018 at 23:35
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    It was the Arabs whom Frank was in tight with and they disliked John because of a perceived anti-Arab bias on his part. But I don't think that had anything to do with why Frank killed John. They just provided him a convenient scapegoat and tool to use. His reasons were almost entirely personal, from what I recall, and not just because of Maya. Apr 8, 2018 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


There were two main reasons, I think. First, Frank and John had political differences in how they viewed the proper evolution of humanity on Mars. Oversimplifying greatly, John wanted to leave Earth behind and create a New Mars Human while Frank felt that this was utopian nonsense and that Mars must engage politically with Earth to assure a good future for Mars. Secondly, Frank was jealous of John. John was the First Man on Mars -- Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and Chuck Yeager combined -- as well as being a charismatic leader. John stood politically in Frank's way.

Oh, yes. There's also the love triangle with Maya Toitovna...

Which reason predominated? I think that's something each reader needs to decide on their own, as Frank is a decidedly complex character in a complex situation. KSR is a good enough writer that he doesn't tell us the answer.

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    Good answer! KSR really doesn't give that away at all.. My opinion is this-- the assassination happens early in the book, of course. Later, though, we learn that sometime before the assassination John manages to call up a summit on Olympus Mons that even Hiroko shows up. To me, this is the moment in time that Frank realises John has a much stronger influence as Leader in Mars and thus decides that John must be taken out of the picture. I don't believe that feelings for Maya was the driving force.
    – lsdr
    May 1, 2018 at 21:33

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