and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of eleven previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica--for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers' Program. He lives in Davis, California.
Two separate reviews in one, here: one for people that have read Kim Stanley Robinson (KSR) before, and one for those who have not.
Review 1: For those that have read and enjoyed KSR in the past (e.g. veterans of the massive Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars trilogy), the message is simple. Get your hands on this book, kick back, and enjoy. KSR is at his terraforming best here; the Solar System a fabulous playground for the relentless expansion of Earth's most potent primate species. If you liked what KSR did with Mars, you'll find what he does with the rest of the Solar System breathtaking. And, you'll get, almost as an afterthought, a plot involving the elements of murder mystery, romance, political intrigue, and thriller all in one. 2312, in several senses, outdoes the Mars Trilogy, and builds on it. There is not a trace of succinctness in the entire book. But, fan, you already knew that about KSR.
Review 2: Never read KSR? KSR is a must read, if you think of yourself as a sci-fi buff. Not doing so would be like claiming to be a fan of English literature, but not having read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (or if length is a criteria, George Eliot's Mill on the Floss). And if you're going to read KSR, 2312 is a wonderful place to start.
KSR writes hard sci-fi. Virtually nothing included in this deeply imaginative exploration of what mankind's expansion throughout our solar system might look like by 2312, is without scientific foundation. KSR is a modern day polymath, with a knowledge base that is spectacularly broad, and not lacking in depth. What you'll be treated to in 2312 is page after page (after page, after page, after page) of KSR's informed and spectacularly innovative vision of where the marriage of technology and the human genome is headed.Read more ›
"Worldbuilding" has been a popular buzz word in the modern era of science fiction, and Kim Stanley Robinson has always scored points for his detailed construction of alien environments. In 2312, he turns his attention to asteroid building: asteroids are captured, hollowed out, fitted with propulsion systems, made into terraria that double as transport vehicles, and populated with animals like arks designed by futuristic Noahs. He also gives Mercury a city that travels on rails to avoid sunlight and imagines an Earth that has seen better days (particularly Florida, which is mostly underwater). Yet worldbuilding alone does not a successful novel make.
2312 gets off to a promising start as a terrarium designer and cutting edge artist named Swan Er Hong, rocked by the unexpected death of her elderly mentor Alex, discovers that Alex left her a message to be delivered to Wang Wei. Accompanied by Saturn's liason, Wahrum, Swan travels to Io where she learns that Alex had a plan to revivify a moribund Earth. Alex was also worried that the quantum computers (qubes) that run everything appeared to be going rogue. Another of Alex's friends, Inspector Genette, enlists Swan's help as he tries to complete the investigation he started with Alex. On a visit to Earth, Swan arranges for a kid named Kiran to escape his dreary life (the reader knows, of course, that Kiran will eventually reappear and play a crucial role in the story) before she returns to Mercury, where either a natural disaster or (more likely) a devastating attack briefly energizes the novel.
The energy, unfortunately, fizzles out, reigniting in spurts from time to time but never sustaining. When the plot moves along -- when things happen -- 2312 is an imaginative and entertaining novel.Read more ›
I enjoyed reading about the descriptions of the solar system imagined by Robinson, but spent the whole book waiting for a real plot I could get swept up in, and about 3/4 of the way through that the somewhat independent stories that strictly didn't need each other was all the plot that I'd get. I think I'd rate this a 3 or 4 as a collection of short stories/novellas with the same universe and characters, but as a novel it didn't cut it.
My second issue was the 137 y/o central character was basically written to have the personality of a petulant teenager, yet be a world renown figure. This seems unlikely, but maybe I just don't know enough moody self absorbed adrenaline junky centenarians.
Was this review helpful to you?
I've read science fiction for over 50 years. I was excited to see this new Robinson book at the bookstore, and thought I'd give it a read.
I was disappointed.
In the first part, "The dialogue looks like this," he said. "You mean a statement with a simple attribution in the tag?" she said. "Yes." he said. "And it goes on like that for quite a while I suppose," she said. "Yes," he said. "So he doesn't even bury the tag in the text, then" she said. "No, just hangs it on the end," he said. Etc.
"Later in the book, the dialogue tags become infested with adverbs," he said, critically. "Really?" she inquired, doubtfully. "Yes," he said, forcefully. "Are there any Tom Swifties?" she asked, quizzically. "Close," he said, knowingly. Etc.
The characters aren't adequately described. Swan, the key POV character, isn't physically described at all until about 20% of the book has been read.
There are beautiful, lyrical descriptions of some settings, but some of the settings thus described have no bearing on the plot.
The author inserts John Dos Passos-like lists here and there in the text. Not quite sure that works, however (These lists are distorted and truncated in the Kindle edition). John Brunner did that sort of thing much better.