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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about 2312

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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story, HORRENDOUS narration.

REVIEW OF THE STORY

Kim Stanley Robinson has a pretty narrow audience. Are you in that audience? Did you like the Mars trilogy? Are you a hobbyist geologist/astronomer/physicist/chemist/engineer/biologist/ecologist/mathematician/programmer/etc? Or - better still - are you a professional in any of these fields? Yes? Then you'll be happy to know that 2312 is exactly what you expect: it's more of KSR doing what he does, and doing it well. So, grab your pocket protector and your graphing calculator, and run - don't walk - down to your local bookstore and buy a physical copy of the book and read it; you're going to love it. But, beware: do not buy the audiobook. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked...


REVIEW OF THE NARRATION

This audiobook represents the absolute worst narration of any story I've ever heard, in any genre, anywhere, anytime, ever. No, I'm not being hyperbolic; it really was *that bad*. Sarah Zimmerman does not have an unpleasant voice, but the way it is delivered in this book is absolutely..."unlistenable."

For starters, Ms. Zimmerman's delivery is remarkably monotone; no matter what she's reading, it all sounds the same. Interpersonal dialog? Omniscient narrator's perspective? Supplemental lists and excerpts academic information supplemental to the story? Yep; it all sounds identical. Similarly, there is almost no attempt at voice characterization. There is a brief moment towards the middle of the book where one of the characters (Inspector Jean Genette, a flesh-and-blood person) starts to speak in a monotone drone that is slightly reminiscent of the stereotypical 1950s sci-fi robot voice meme, but that's about it. But that's not the worst part. What truly ruins the whole production is the fact that the cadence of Ms. Zimmerman's narration (or, rather, lack thereof) appears to completely disregard punctuation. What do I mean? Well...

Imagine. A, book where the punctuation, is completely random without following. Any conventional. Rules of phrasing or -- voice or -- timing or meter or anything that gives. The language it musicality its, flow its inflection its, meter. Imagine. Trying to, understand, a, text that is narrated. In, a manner that seems to, be. Written the same, way, I have written. This paragraph.

....Yeah. Like that. Now, admittedly, the above paragraph was a bit of an exaggeration for the purpose illustrating the point. But here's the thing: sadly, it wasn't *that* hyperbolic.

Now, take that chaotic, unstructured narration, add a monotone voice, and a total lack of voice characterization, and what you get is a story that takes real, conscious effort to follow. I can imagine this would be particularly difficult for people who don't have at least a passing familiarity with the scientific/engineering topics presented therein. I will admit that I *eventually* got used to it, but it tool over 12 hours of narration before I could stop skipping back to hear passages again in order to comprehend them. In fact, it was so bad, for the first five or six hours of the book, I could only listen to 30 minutes at a stretch before I had to take a break. With most audiobooks, I can - and have! - listened for hours and hours on end.

I have one final complaint about the narration -- and this may be a nitpick, but... If a person is going to narrate a book written by someone who ranks among the "hardest" of the hard science fiction authors - a book where science *is* the main character - then one should probably know how to properly pronounce words like "coronal" (as in, coronal mass ejection), or "teleological." And Ms. Zimmerman doesn't.

While it's surprising that such a poor quality product (the audio rendering of KSR's book) would be available from a respected publisher, it's downright incomprehensible when one considers that Sarah Zimmerman is just one person in a group of people involved in its creation. In addition to the narrator, there's also a producer, a director, an editor (or two), engineers...and NONE of these people said, somewhere along the line, "Hey, you know, this doesn't sound so good...?" Really? Really?!


THE BOTTOM LINE

If you like this author's other work, if you're a sci-fi fan with a truly nerdly bent, 2312 might be right up your alley. But get a *physical copy* to read the good 'ol fashioned way, because the audio rendering of this work is so amazingly bad, it detracts and distracts from the content of the story itself. Save your money; this audiobook isn't even worth the paper it's printed on.

78 people found this helpful

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Monotone narration

What disappointed you about 2312?

The story intrigued me. I love far future, hard science stories. In fact, I will be buying this book for my ereader. However, I couldn't make it past 30 min of this audiobook.

Would you be willing to try another book from Kim Stanley Robinson? Why or why not?

Yes, I love far future and hard science, scifi.

What didn’t you like about Sarah Zimmerman’s performance?

I'm sure Sarah Zimmerman is a wonderful person but I can't listen to her narrate. Her delivery is monotone and there is something about the cadence of her speech that makes it difficult to tell when one person stops speaking and another starts. I couldn't get into the story because I was too distracted by her narration. Sorry but that's my opinion.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment with the narration. I couldn't listen to more than 30 mins.

44 people found this helpful

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My favorite book of the past 5 years.

I can't even begin to say how much I loved this book. The entire world is so well thought and imagined. Its completely immersive and beyond interesting. If you enjoy understanding an entire world in a highly detailed way this book is for you. I tend to get bored easily when two pages are devoted to describing a planet but in this book you want never what the details to end. KSR has created a completely unique, strange and cool solar system that includes bird implants that allow people to whistle and think in different ways, hollowed out asteroids that people develop into unique societies that act almost like cruise ships in space, physical alteration of the body from gender neutral characters to incredibly tall and very small people and that is just the beginning. This book is really just beyond cool and interesting... I read it about two years ago and I'm on the hunt for something that inspires me just as much to no avail.

The narrator got a lot of flack in the reviews here but I really thought she was absolutely amazing- she has this icy semi-robotic way about her that fits the story and main character perfectly. It seems the author embraced that quite a bit as in his next space/sci-fi book the narrator actually has a robotic voice. I am actually desperate for their to be a follow up to this book.

You will not regret reading this book! It's the best.

36 people found this helpful

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Vivid World but a bit of a bore

2312 is a tale of two books. On one hand KSR does what he always does on these types of things, he paints a vivid picture of what the future could be like so wonderful that you can almost feel the cold of space on the back of your neck. The world he has created draws from the Mars trilogy but stands alone with new and interesting places.

On the other hand this book is boring to the point where if I was actually reading it rather than listening to the audio book I might not finish it. This might also have something to do with it as the narrator’s voice was so calm even the parts which are supposed to be edgy didn’t feel like it. For about half the book I don’t know what the issue is. Should I like swan or not? Was Alex murdered? Is that even the crux of the story? It takes a while for the plot to pan out.

If I could rate this 2.5 stars (right down the middle) I would but since I can’t it gets 3. The world created does enough to make this a worthwhile read as long as you know what you’re getting into.

27 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

As a huge fan of The Mars Trilogy, I was very excited to find out this book takes place in the same universe, so to speak. The sample first chapter really caught my interest, as it takes place on Terminator, Mercury--the city where one of the most memorable scenes in Blue Mars takes place. But in the end, the book did not captivate me even remotely as much as those previous books.

Partly it may be because of erroneous expectation on my part--I expected another epic story with complex multiple characters. 2312, instead of being a multiple protagonist story, is focused mainly on one character, Swan Er Hong. And therein lies the first problem: she's just not very interesting. In the Mars Trilogy, Robinson created some smashing female characters, very complex, very flawed. Swan is no comparison to Nadia, Maya, Hiroko, Anne, Jackie and Zo. Instead of being complex and flawed, she comes off as a bit of a pill.

The other characters are also not very interesting. Supposedly, there's a love story here, but it didn't resonate with me.

The tone of 2312 is far more pessimistic than the Mars Trilogy, perhaps because we're living in a more pessimistic time than when the Mars Trilogy was written. The story is not entirely hopeless, but it's still kind of a drag to think that even 300 years into the future, Terrans will be just as short-sighted as many are now. Especially since Blue Mars left us with a more hopeful vision of the future.

As usual, Robinson includes a ton of science that is very interesting, but without amazing characters and story, it comes off as very dry. There are some amazing moments, such as the description of Manhattan post-flood, and the reintroduction on Earth of extinct animals that have been bred in space. However, for the most part, it is a bit of a slog.

The performance is adequate (she's at least a better reader than the fellow who narrates the Mars Trilogy) but nothing special.

15 people found this helpful

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This is my first and last experience with Robinson

Would you try another book from Kim Stanley Robinson and/or Sarah Zimmerman?

No on both. Robinson must have been paid by the word, and I found myself skipping (2x speed) over most of them.

Ms Zimmerman's narration was barely tolerable. I listened to the book at 1.5x speed (with bursts of 2x and 3x).

What do you think your next listen will be?

Robert Charles Wilson

Would you be willing to try another one of Sarah Zimmerman’s performances?

Not before listening to a sampling.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Robinson seemed to have researched his material (terraforming and climate change). But he wrapped those topics in a long story with a small plot.

Any additional comments?

I have read science fiction for over 40 years (Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, Neal Stephenson, Jim McDevitt, Robert Charles Wilson) . This is one of the 3 or 4 books during that time that I could not complete. I had had Mr Robinson on my reading list for some time. He is no longer on it. This is just my view and personal preference, and I wish Mr Robinson every success with his audience.

12 people found this helpful

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It was terrrrrrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had some expectations for this book, but .....
I think that all possible factors agreed to combine and create the worst book I read this year.

11 people found this helpful

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What is this book about?

I've still never given up on an audiobook after I've started listening, but it was a near thing with this one. More than once I actually asked myself out loud "what on Earth is this book about?". the plot is incoherent and the characters and dialog are terrible. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

9 people found this helpful

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give it a chance

I love Robinson's work, but had avoided this one for a while because of the poor reviews of the narration. I didn't find Sarah Zimmermans narration to be bad at all. the book is wonderful, and like much of KSR, less about a grand sci fi narrative and more of a collection of thoughtful musings by interesting people experiencing a fantastic world. what other science fiction writer would spend so much time rhapsodizing about classical music and land art?

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Modern Sci-Fi Masterpiece

I am in no way affiliated with the writer, publisher, ad agency or Audible.com. I am just an average Joe with a 15 year love affair of good audio books.
I downloaded 2312 on a whim because it happened to be highlighted on the front page of the site and I was in a hurry to get a new book for my commute home.
Robinson's depiction of this detailed, fictional world follows in the footsteps of the great science fiction authors such as Asimov and Clarke. The fabricated details of this future are not only technically feasible, but also rich in their creative overlay of the story. The emotional interaction of the characters is contemporary and easily draws in the reader.
The narrator's performance is pristine and almost feels like you are listening to a documentary about this nonexistent new universe.
I am so glad that I took a chance on this book. It has inspired me to cut a much wider swath in my book choices in the future. A+


9 people found this helpful

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