The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.
The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.
©2012 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2012 Hachette Audio
More hard-SF about what the world will be like in 2312... non-copycat characters
(Swan is the 2nd coming of Maya)
No... but it moved KSR off of my Must-Read list.
Narration was fine
Disappointed; it never grabbed me.
I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in.
OK. This is a fantastic work, the best new book of 2012 so far ??? dare I say, a decade-defining work which captures a snapshot of our medium future???s best hopes? There???s a solar system-spanning medium future of ???qubes??? (quantum computer AIs), terraforming and thousands of hollowed out asteroid ???terraria???, explorations of gender, and post-capitalist extra-terrestrial economies ??? amidst the grim passage from here to there through climate change, failed geoengineering fixes, and political and economic crises. There???s interstitial future history ???non-fiction??? excerpts. There???s an honest to goodness, memorable, building love story between the Mercurial Swan (an avant garde artist/architect/etc.) and Saturnine Wahram, a diplomat from Io. There???s even a (small) bit of policework from Inspector Jean Genette. The book opens well, builds and builds, with perhaps a bit of side-trackery on Venus, and other than some misgivings with some bits of the final resolution (and some stunning repeat stupidity from Swan) I was very much blown away by the novel. The overall planet-spanning plot works; the love story really works; it???s wonderful sf across the strata of setting, science, plot, and character. It???s on the longer side, but narrator Zimmerman plugs along without much drag behind her. She gives a mostly ???invisible narrator??? performance, not engaging in vocal gymnastics to develop strong accents, instead relying primarily on slight variations to distinguish speakers when necessary. Clean and crisply done, and well-suited to the work. Highly recommended.
The author does a great job thinking through and researching the logistics of having humans live elsewhere in our solar system. Lots of very interesting concepts and unusual but logical visions of a possible future, but the characters come across as flat due to the performance. I almost stopped listening early on because the lack of variation in the characters. But then I reminded myself that Kim Stanley Robinson has written other books that facinated me and I should stick it out a while longer. The performance never improved, but the story did build so I was able to listen through to the end.
The universe in this story was reasonably well fleshed out but the characters were all garbage. After I finished with the book, I thought about what I actually knew about the main characters and it was very little. The main character's physical appearance wasn't even described until the middle of the book.
It was dull, predictable, and I didn't care what happened to anyone in the story. There was no over-arching message or meaning behind any of it. It was just so mindless and boring to read.
No, she is literally the worst audio book reader I've ever heard. I literally wondered if she was a piece of software reading the book for a long time.
Probably the whole book.
I would have cast my 9 year old son.
Ok, I get that most people don't or can't pronounce medical and scientific terms the same way "insiders" in the fields do, but as a "professional" narrator don't you even TRY! Maybe ASK someone or LOOK IT UP if you don't know how a certain term is usually said. Ridiculous.
And many place names and non-technical terms suffered the same fate. Who's never heard of Mondragón? I mean "Mon-DRAGON"??? I thought she was referencing D & D. And worse, this mispronunciation deflects from the author's intention of referencing the Mondragón collective enterprises, so this isn't just a nit-picky elitist complaint about pronunciation. It F^%ks up the whole story. Nice work.
The artistic nature of the narration was absurd as well. It was monotonous -I found myself slipping off at times, even during engaging parts of the story. The reading was monotonous, but not completely so, she actually hurried through segments of philosophical reflection or discussion faster than segments describing atmospheric components or the type of rock a typical asteroid was made of.
Additionally, all the attempts at "character" were bland and off-putting. I don't know if she was going for the voice of an automaton or not but it always seemed to be in the wrong characters. Other characters seemed not so much "emotional" as "whiny," or not so much "energetic" and "enthusiastic" as "pushy" and "aggressive" even when the actual writing suggested the former approach would be more appropriate. Was the narrator tone-deaf in an artistic sense?
I listen to books rather than reading when I'm exercising or commuting to work. I like Kim Stanley Robinson's work as it is entertaining and often compelling and challenging. The narration of this book completely diminished all the positives usually evident in his work. I would hope he, the agents, publishers, her friends, family or someone intervenes to see that this narrator finds another line of work...
The book is just too long with too many "side stories and scientific guesses"
Unless confined to solitary confinement in prison - unlikely
Narrator was very montotone on EVERYTHING...Some realy spicy sections and yet monotone
Never be a movie
the books was tough to listen too
I had a hard time getting into this book. it was very scattered and full of very wild future ideas. I nearly stopped listening many times...
This was an amazing book in many, many ways. First, I am in awe of Kim Stanley Robinson's ranging imagination from depicting life on Mercury and a cult of sun walkers who follow the sun around the planet, always keeping in the shade, to the body surfing in the rings of Saturn. This book reminded more more in its scope and character depth of Years of Rice and Salt, though the setting and premise of both books are very, very different. Robinson has a range that I think most writers dream about achieving but he moves with confidence and intelligence between realms of space travel to botany to genetics.
The character Swan is flawed but also wonderful in her naive embracing of people and of the different worlds. She is an adventurer, trying anything and everything, going to extremes, and it takes the death of her beloved grandmother to bring her life more into focus. She gets involved in her grandmother's work although her grandmother had not trusted her enough to tell her what it is. The messenger of information that she doesn't understand, Swan becomes wrapped up in an inter-planetary conspiracy involving quantum computers, revolution, and the fate of several cities on different planets.
I don't think a review can do justice to this book--there are just too many beautiful layers to explore within in it to capture in any summary. If you want to travel to other worlds and imagine a future where humans populate much of our solar system while still trying to work our political differences and fights over resources, settle in for an amazing journey.
I'm a huge fan of the Mars Trilogy and "The Years of Rice and Salt". I was, therefore, very excited to try "2312", and expectations were considerably high.
The book, although not a formal sequel to the Mars Trilogy, has a very similar feel, on the hard science side of sci-fi, which is much to my liking. Many of the ideas were already explored in the Mars Trilogy, like the anti-aging treatment, self-assembly bot swarms, fusion drives and the overal pace of human colonization of the solar system. He also comes back to envisioning a post-capitalist society, mostly based or embraced by the off-earth settlements.
As usual, he also focuses on the environmental aspects of human impact and interaction with earth and the solar system, and his descriptions of locations, both natural and human-made are extremely detailed and lifelike.
There are some new concepts not explored by him before, in particular quantum computers and AI, which forms the core of the novel's plot.
And that's where I thought that the book was not as good as it could be, with characters and the plot being fairly naive, as if many of the potential issues with AI's had never been considered before, which is extremely unlikely.
Sarah Zimmerman's performance was, I must say, not good, specially when comparing it with other narrators like Katherine Kellgren or Susanna Clarke. Characters all sounded the same. Almost no effort was made to give them unique accents and character, even though they were all from different locations, not only of Earth, but of the solar system. Specially in the first half of the book, Sarah's performance was really boring. It does get better later in the book, though.
Overall, I do think that 2312 is a worthy "read" (I'm still confused at times as to how to refer to audio books), but I would rate the Mars Trilogy (in a very similar style) and "The Years of Rice and Salt" (an alternative history book, and therefore fairly different) above it.
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
Thank you, Kim Stanley Robinson, for returning to the subject for which you have rightfully earned the crown – creating habitable worlds, and peopling them with wonderful characters and moving stories.
I wish there were a better word than terraforming. It's so artless when applied to what KSR's work. He lets us see and most importantly makes us FEEL what it would be like in a system of worlds made accessible by human creativity.
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