Tuesday, June 25, 2013
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
The next of the Hugo-nominees. I don’t think I have read any of Kim Stanley Robinson’s books before (The Mars trilogy has been in my reading queue for a long time). This book apparently happens at the same universe somewhat later. The solar system is widely inhabited and “balkanized”, Mars has already been terraformed, Venus is undergoing terraforming and there are many habitats some of which have been built from asteroids, some are on the moons of the giant planets, all are independent more or less. The lifespan is long; the most people are hermaphrodites with both male and female genitalia. The book is more of a travelogue of the future solar system than a real novel with a real plot. There is a kind of plot, which is even somewhat interesting, but for most part it seems pretty extraneous in comparison with extremely detailed and wordy descriptions of the wonders of the solar system. The plot revolves around a terrorist attack against a giant city which moved endlessly around Mercury on tracks following the twilight zone. There are some interesting sidelines of the plot, like the more or less forced “terraforming” of Earth, which has been devastated by rising sea levels and widespread extinction of the most animal species. The plot could have been presented in half of the pages the book actually has. The characters take several sidetracks which don’t serve the main story in the slightest, but serve only in showcasing still more details of the solar system in mind numbing detail. Most of those sidetracks don’t even serve the evolving love story of the two main protagonists. Also, especially in the beginning the characters seem to be mainly bystanders with no relation to those few events which actually are happening. Maybe the book would have been more accessible for me I had read the earlier books about the same universe and would have been interested for a look into this phase of the development of our solar system. This isn’t going to be my top choices in the Hugo ballot.