8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A string of interesting ideas with a lot of filler and a little plot.
, August 2, 2012
This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
Coming from reading Red Mars, I had a favorable impression on KSR. Even after reading some alarming reviews I figured all I really wanted to get out of it are the ideas and I would skim over the (bad) plot. Unfortunately, there is a lot to skim over, and most of it is not the plot.
First, the ideas. There are many beautiful and almost poetic descriptions of sceneries: sunrise on Mercury, body surfing on rings of Saturn, all the interesting terrariums (that's a word!..?). I find myself wadding through page after page just to get to another scenery. There are chapters on the moons, planets, history up to the 24th century as well as lists of things, some times random verbs, other times lists of craters or other names, and yet others like space propulsion (!!) or other interesting things. Overall these chapters are by fall the most interesting and are good stand alone articles. However...
Then there are the non-plot fillers. These include philosophical quibs, mostly lectures delivered from one character to another that would make sense if only the intended receiver isn't 140 years old and has done everything there is to do and most definitely should've known or thought about by then. Other fillers include random musical related descriptions (not that big a fan of classical music, at least not interested enough to read pages of descriptions that means nothing to the non-initated, though same could be said about the descriptions of space, but why would you read this book if you weren't interested in space?).
Third, there is the plot. A trio of events occur in the first third of the book, all with easily linked yet the protagonist (Swan) thinks nothing of it and proceeds to do all sorts of random things, traveling across the solar system on a string of random pretexts, and then 40% through another person mentions the possibility that the events are not accidents and freaks Swan out. Only she doesn't do anything about it and makes no real moves to figure it out, only spending her time chilling and doing random things (going to concerts, body surfing) while languidly traveling from one astro body to another.
And then there are the characters. Neither of the two 100+ year olds act particularly wise. One acts spoiled and confused, filled with angst like a teenager while the other just tries to not get bored because apparently he's been alive for so long.
On the up side, I'm learning to skim.
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