Comments (18)Add a Comment
Builds heavily on ideas of Arthur C. Clarke. I was certainly tired of Science Fiction set in a Universe which takes interstellar travel for granted; where the uninhabitable planets and objects of the solar system are largely ignored in favor of already habitable planets thousands of light years distant.
The people of this future are clueless about how to overcome the "Light Barrier" for them the Star Trek dream isn't happening and the author is rather glib that speed much over the 2% speed of light they are capable of can ever be achieved.
So they have devoted themselves to terraforming the solar system on a grand scale.
The author seems to be determined to tell us that personal gender selection including being able to have sex organs of both sexes and to be both a mother and father is not only available but common. The main protagonist Swan has a woman's body to which have been added small male genitalia her lover the other main protagonist looks like a man and also has sexual organs of both sexes. The author insists on graphicly describing how they have sex both using both sets of genitalia at the same time.
2 stars. Quite disappointing. Plot and character development replaced with a Cook's Tour of the Solar System. Little excitement, unlikable characters, lots of undigested ideas, and lots and lots of big words. Whole chapters that should have been excised. Brilliant and hardworking author gone clear off the rails.
Fascinating, though plot takes a backseat to the vividly imagined future itself. There are references to late 20th/early 21st-century art and culture that have become works of "old masters", and the moving city on Mercury is one of the most stunning feats of imagination I've read in a long time. Some of the other implications of the technological and genetic advances are more disquieting, as is the ending: some of those "qubes" may want revenge in a sequel.
This Nebula Award winning novel is a must read for Sci-fi fans . A scientifically engaged and interesting foray into what the Solar System could look like three centuries from now that involves interesting dialogues about the development of artificial intelligence, terraforming, and the sustainability of life on the Earth and beyond. An interesting story arch with great character development and philosophical enquiries that is simultaneously realistic and optimistic about humanity's future. It requires a certain level of commitment, but it is well worth the effort.
Despite the relatively languid pace, I found this to be an engaging and interesting story. At the same time exploring technological advances that have led to AI entities, allowed humanity to easily travel throughout and colonize the solar system, and to extend life and modify bodies at will, it also contemplates the nature of ourselves as humans in this future context. The further away we get from earth, can we ever depart or escape our humanity? With an extended lifetime, the ability to alter gender at will, or to add animal DNA simply so that we can purr like cats or sing like birds, how do we perceive ourselves and relate to others? How do we spend our time? And as fantastic as the terraforming technology is, we learn that it is no less exploitative than the practices we currently engage in - mining for ores, drilling for oil, be-spoiling our planet in the process. In the future of 2312 asteroids are sent to collide into planets to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere, or to change the rate of spin to make it suitable for human life. Without thought, entire moons are ripped apart for their mineral wealth. Humans flit through the system in hollowed out asteroids with designer interiors - so called 'terrariums' - that contain in some cases specific ecosystems from earth, complete with wild animals. We learn however that despite all this technological wonder and life without want, the earth is still there, as ever with its inadequately addressed problems: overpopulation, inequality, poverty, and unrest; still reeling from catastrophic climate change and mass species extinction.
Although the mystery driving the story is a little odd, it certainly gives the reader much to contemplate along the way.
Five percent characterization, five percent plot, 30 percent sociopolitical and technological speculation, and 60% planetary masturbation.
reread "Pauline on Revolution", pg 330->
"Extracts (12) pg 344 ->
"Extracts (18) pg 550 ->
I think many have missed the potential that those 'lists' may contain. For example, I began to feel as if those were possibly meant as a sense of the development of detail, and time passing, which becomes consciousness - i.e. the very A.I. which plays a very central role in the whole story. If the author's technique, or intuition, or both, or something other, is unrecognized, it is possible that is a sign of genius, not wordiness. Or to say: a lazy reader is no reader at all - the reader is a participant, not a parasite, but a co-host. Reading is an equal opportunity pass time. Reading is not being led by the hand down a well established path. That would be learning to read, which is something else. Reading is not merely entertainment, but only, not necessarily, partially such.
As far as the content, references, perhaps the author expects more of his readership than some might have yet attained?
For whatever flaws, the hope of witnessing a developing and mellowing of an individual's maturity should be enough for most who find this genre uplifting to forge ahead and find something in the writing which might foster their own growth.
or at least find something more hopeful than small disappointment
The author imagines a fascinating human future in a balkanized solar system from Mercury to Pluto including a dystopian earth, but the story is weakened by inadequate character development in a slow story arc, frequently interrupted by tangential (sometimes thought-provoking) lists and descriptions of science, politics, and behavior. Wading through the blizzard of detail (that was mostly unessential to the story) became sufficiently frustrating that I skimmed the final third of the book to reach the final plod points -- I mean plot points.
A really interesting look at a potential future life on various planets. I really liked the plot and creativity, but couldn‘t always follow the extracts/lists/etc.
Poor characterizations and weak thematic elements make this book tedious to read. There was little suspense with a weak plot. The author drops art, history and science references throughout with no follow up or development.The author chose a very lazy way to attempt to fill in the background which did not work for me. I can see some people liking this book but there are too many failures in the execution for my tastes.
A brilliant book which generates many responses in the reader.
The book is complicated and the integration of many disciplines throughout is thought provoking.
A new, and in my eyes, successful format for a novel.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the future of the planet or in the changing structure of novels.
I did enjoy this book and it made me think of concepts and future the way I hadn't before. I must say that it was at times a bit wordy or rather slow. My reading and interest was coming and going in waves, just like I feel this book was written, but in the end I am happy I read it.
I really enjoyed this book! Every page had a startling idea, the writing is evocative, the pace excellent, and the two lead characters I found quite fascinating. Swan stuck in my memory long after I finished the book. I like Robinson's style, and although at times the story feels crowded with his intensely imagined ideas, I quite liked the experience.
The author needs to have his word processor taken away and be given a manual typewriter. A good 300 page book lost in 600 pages.
Tough read due to the author's style. I liked the speculative science aspects but the environmental hysteria aspects were a bit over the top.
Books such as 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson make this reader wish that authors could be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for 1) wasting the reader’s time and money; and, 2) trees having been cut down that the book might be printed. This reader loves Robinson’s Mars trilogy (having read and re-read the novels several times) and was anticipating this new novel. 2312 is a profound disappointment: the plot is contrived, the characters unattractive (why care about them?), and the writing tedious. The sole (only slightly) redeeming feature of the work is the science underlying the novel, but not interesting enough to warrant a painful struggle through 561 pages of egregiously written prose.
Didnt enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Didn't even get halfway through. Felt it was way too wordy!
the techno part is pretty interesting, but the plot is just goofy or pointless because the characters don't really make much sense.