Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

The year is 2312 and the exodus from earth has begun. With the discovery of terraforming and interplanetary travel, humanity has colonized the solar system in an attempt to preserve their ways of life. Swan er Hong has lived her life on Mercury as an artist, often using her own body as a canvas. When her grandmother dies, she inherits data on a little-known conspiracy and is launched on a dangerous investigation with strange new allies. And all the while she must grapple with the implications of the modifications she's made to herself over the years, modifications which now may threaten the integrity of her investigation.

Kim Stanley Robinson was first brought to my attention by a guest post on this blog, and when I saw 2312 on the list of Nebula nominees (and since I had a hankering for some hard SF) I nominated it for my book club and it was selected. Fast forward to now: my hankering for hard SF has been sated, and I'm reminded why I often stay with YA and fantasy. 2312 was interesting--I got through its 561 pages in about a week, which says something about the quality of the writing--but I'm left without a really strong impression of the story, which says something else entirely.

The characters were real and easy to imagine. They changed and evolved. The setting was engaging without being over-described. There were conflicts, and romance. So why was I not very impressed with it? I feel like I should be. I guess it's just that the main plot is kind of dry, and not very exciting. I knew I wasn't going to get Star Wars, and yet I wanted there to be space battles. Or something really weird and unexpected. But everything was so easy to imagine, so plausible. Maybe that's why it works, maybe it's a work of speculative fiction, a warning.

If it is a warning, I will take it to heart and make my future plans now: I'm booking tickets for me and my husband on a sex liner. Those at least sound like fun.

Copy Source: personal library
Genre: science fiction
Format: e-book


  1. I usually really like Kim Stanley Robinson books. This one left me a bit cold and I didn't finish it, which is rare for me. I liked the main theme of interplanetary settlement, the terra-forming bits (I am landscape architect), and the murder? mystery part of the story but I think it moved a bit slowly and I found the "lists" and other sections distracting. If they were a part of the storyline, I am sorry that I did not get it. I read late at night and this was a "put to sleeper".

    1. This is the response from most people I've spoken to about 2312. I found the mega-lists and stream-of-consciousness bits difficult to get through as well. However, when you get to the end of the book they begin to make sense. But if you're not into the book in the first place, the small revelation about those bits just isn't worth the effort.