It totals four million words across nearly 10,000 pages, but is incomplete Oh god.
Red Mars is super talky, yeah. Robinson's specialty is "hard" fiction so whatever he writes has excruciating detail. I actually don't mind it when he gets into the weeds with the descriptions, though (like that bit where he describes how they make the bricks for the first permanent hab- captivating), because I'm in the sciences so I'm always asking, "How did they do that?" He actually answers my questions most of the time, and I appreciate that even if the writing is dry. Never read The Years of Rice and Salt but I'd imagine it's got many of the same hallmarks.