One thing that I certainly appreciated about Red Mars was its principled refusal to over-explain. Enormously complex and esoteric features of terraforming, interplanetary economics and life support were tossed off casually in the novel with nary a word said about them. Two technologies that I found particularly interesting (mostly because I hadn't actually heard of them before) were air miners and moholes. I thought I spend a posting looking at both of them.
While Red Mars is science fiction and certainly details the exotic technologies required for the habitation of the fourth planet, Robinson doesn't dwell on explanations. He seems much more interested in the intricacies of future philosophies and politics than the technology that makes these things possible. In a novel with a chapter called "Falling into History," that's probably not a bad idea.