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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Solar System as hero...
This novel is a glorious vision of the Solar System a few centuries hence. Mars has been terraformed. A sunshield is being built for Venus as a precursor to terraformiing it. On Mercury, a moving city keeps its inhabitants out of direct sunlight. The gas giants and associated moons etc are inhabited. 'Terraria', self-contained ark environments, spun to maintain gravity,...
Published 12 months ago by A. J. Poulter

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was a big fan of the Mars trilogy and not having revisited any of his subsequent books I started 2312 with high expectations and great enthusiasm. Quarter of the way in to the book I was beginning to hope that it would just be a late starter, but by 3/4s of the way through I knew that this would not be the case. Yes the writing is good, yes the science and universe is...
Published 21 months ago by TheManAlive


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 19 Dec 2012
This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
I was a big fan of the Mars trilogy and not having revisited any of his subsequent books I started 2312 with high expectations and great enthusiasm. Quarter of the way in to the book I was beginning to hope that it would just be a late starter, but by 3/4s of the way through I knew that this would not be the case. Yes the writing is good, yes the science and universe is good, but there is simply no plot. Well, not completely, there is a semblance of a plot that could be summarised in just a paragraph or two. He doesn't really sell what plot there is, there is no tension, excitement or any emotion other than just following a couple of characters through some very bland adventures. Its as if he had a number of scenarios about terraforming or future society and needed something lose to link them together.

Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? No. Did I have to make myself finish it? Afraid I did, though I very nearly gave up on a few occasions and that is not something I ever do lightly. Overall, a real shame. It gets 2 stars because the future premise was good but that is it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Solar System as hero..., 6 Sep 2013
By 
A. J. Poulter "AP" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 2312 (Paperback)
This novel is a glorious vision of the Solar System a few centuries hence. Mars has been terraformed. A sunshield is being built for Venus as a precursor to terraformiing it. On Mercury, a moving city keeps its inhabitants out of direct sunlight. The gas giants and associated moons etc are inhabited. 'Terraria', self-contained ark environments, spun to maintain gravity, provide homes for a massive living archive of plants and animals, as well as people. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, live much longer and change gender and other physical attributes at will. At Pluto, special terraria are being fitted out to journey to nearby stars.

The big blot is Earth. Sea level has risen there drastically,and coastlines have shrunk. Only a few ice sheets remain. Despite harnessing the resources of the Solar system, Earth is even more overcrowded than ever and its people as hungry as ever. There is tension between Earth and the rest and national rivalries still smoulder on.

There is a problem here as the background scenery is much more interesting than the miniscule plot, which involves quantum computers. Things are not helped by the cryptic notes/lists that interrupt chapters. These are sometimes obscure, contribute little and give the (probably wrong) impression that the author got bored and decided to leave as notes ideas for more narrative/background development etc. There is a love story here of sorts between the main character, Swan, a headstrong Mercurian and Wahrum, an easy-going music lover from Saturn. But the main character here is our Solar System itself, which is what really makes this novel special.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots to appreciate but not easy to get into, 18 Sep 2013
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This review is from: 2312 (Paperback)
I am an occasional hard-core Sci-Fi reader so maybe I don't have the right "wiring" to fully appreciate such works. 2312 is full of well-realised technology, concepts and ideas with a stronger and more recognisable socio-politico-philosophical slant than other recent sci-fi works I have come across. However, I found the central plot a little random at times and without clear purpose for the first third of the book although there are a couple of segments that concentrate more on a plotline and allows the characters to develop and interact more constructively. I also found the sudden interspersion of the main text with lists and supposed extracts of documents to be disruptive and annoying - a literary device that feels artificially quirky and contrived. For me, this book was rather too much hard work and wasn't all that satisfying, although I appreciated the imagination and scope of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Post-it Review, 7 Sep 2013
This review is from: 2312 (Paperback)
If you're looking for a snapshot of civilisation three centuries hence, in an (almost) dramatic setting, this book might be for you. If you're expecting the Mars Trilogy, or Gallileo's Dream, or something of that standard, however, you might want to give this one a miss. I enjoyed it though.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An optimistic SF novel, let down a little by the thriller elements., 25 May 2012
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
Swan Er Hong, a notable performance artist native to Mercury, has her life abruptly changed by the death of her grandmother, Alex. As Swan is asked to investigate the project her grandmother was working on, her home city is subjected to a brutal terrorist attack. This sparks a series of journeys back and forth across the Solar system, from Mercury to terraformed Venus to drowned Earth and out as far as Io and Titan, as Swan and her allies attempt to discover the threat nature of the threat to humanity.

2312 is Kim Stanley Robinson's first widescreen, big-budget, blockbuster SF novel in some considerable time. His recent novels (such as the recent Galileo's Dream or his near-future Science in the Capital trilogy) have been modest in their ambitions, but 2312 trots out the same Robinson who charted the colonisation of Mars in such fascinating, exacting and sometimes-frustrating detail over the course of three books in the 1990s.

The novel works on several levels. On one, it paints a portrait of life in the early 24th Century where the bulk of humanity lives on Earth (and, increasingly, Mars) but the 'spacers' who have settled the rest of the Solar system hold increasing amounts of power, despite their small numbers. This portrait is vivid, rich and compelling. It shows Robinson's imagination at its most fertile, as he depicts Terminator, a city which rolls over Mercury's surface, permanently trying to stay on the nightside of the planet out of the fierce rays of the nearby Sun. Elsewhere he shows the terraforming of Venus as its thick atmosphere is stripped away and politicians debate on slamming giant asteroids into it to increase its rotation. Another section takes us to Greenland, where a huge damming project is underway stop one of the Earth's last few glaciers from melting into the sea. On Io people have to live in settlements which act as gigantic Faraday cages (to hold the immense radiation of Jupiter at bay), whilst in orbit around Saturn people go surfing on plumes of ice pulled out of the rings by the passage of the shepherding moonlets. As a grand tour of the Solar system, 2312 is constantly inventive and fascinating.

On the second level, the book is striving for literary credibility. Robinson has always been one of the finest writers of prose in hard SF (not, it has to be said, a densely-populated field), and that continues here. He may be fascinated by science, by technology and by visions of the future, but he's much more fascinated by people, as individuals and as collective societies, and how they operate. As such the characters are richly-defined and textured, showing surprising depths as the novel develops. The prose is also finely-weaved but Robinson's long-standing tendency to interrupt it with infodumps remains an issue, although much less so than in his Mars Trilogy. Most notably, Robinson's writing keeps two potentially dull sections (one featuring characters having to hike along a thousand mile-long tunnel, the other featuring a character adrift in space) from flatlining and in fact elevates them to two of the strongest sections in the book.

The third level, the actual plot, is where the novel hits the most bumps. In the Mars Trilogy Robinson portrayed a vision of the future where the characters had to deal with scientific hazards and the simple realities of day-to-day life in a hostile environment. Whilst there were antagonists, these were shown to be part of the naturally-arising problems of colonisation and the eventual need for independence. In 2312, however, Robinson has a much more overt and traditional thriller storyline in which mysteries need to be investigated and explored and a resolution reached. To put it mildly, this plot feels half-arsed at best and the novel improves dramatically when Robinson completely drops it for much of its middle third, instead focusing on his grand vision of humanity's possible future.

2312 (****½) is a credible and somewhat optimistic vision of our future, highly detailed and constantly inventive. Coupled with some rich characters and enjoyable prose, this makes for his finest novel in many years. However, some contrived plot twists and a dull thriller element weaken the narrative a little. The novel will be published in the UK and USA on 24 May.

NOTE: The first half or so of the novel strongly indicates that 2312 is set in the same continuity as the Mars Trilogy. However, a detailed timeline given later in the book reveals this is not the case and the two works are separate, although 2312 does borrow a few names and terms from the older work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More of a political lecture than a story, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: 2312 (Paperback)
This is my first KSR novel, and might be my last, although I am aware that many of the people wrtiing reviews here say his Mars series is better. It's not that it's bad,in a way it's brilliant, but it's brilliantly dull. The guy is obviously clever, and very knowledable, if all the future science is as credible as it sounds. The problem is the story is thin to the point of near nonexistence, and the whole thing feels like a lecture on the perils of climate change. Plus, as with a lot of scifi unfortunately, it suffers from the protagonist seemingly having lots of relationships and ties to others, but there's nothing really substantial there. I know this goes with the territory, but all the same I kept feeling like I wanted to tell her not to be such a self indulgent little minx.

Anyway, two stars, five for the size of the guys intellect - obvious, significant, and zero for the story - back to basics please
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars escape to the future, 5 Aug 2013
By 
Kristian Beyer (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
Fantastic book mixing plausible sounding science and an interesting plot. A worthy followup to the Mars trillogy. My best buy for a long long time
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book could have been so much better, 15 Sep 2012
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This review is from: 2312 (Kindle Edition)
This book has great concepts about how the future could be; however, the author describes everything in far too much detail at times, using long words when shorter words would allow it to flow better. I felt the story line was actually quite weak and I was desperate for it to pick up the pace at times, but instead I was met by more unneeded descriptive paragraphs that seemed to get boring after a while. All that seems to happen at the start of the book is Swan (The main character) travels a lot, there seems to be no actual point to it all accept to over describe the new world where the solar system is inhabited. Then there is a section where she is just stuck in a tunnel with people and they walk and all day and whistle to stay entertained??? I also felt that the book looked back into 21st centry history too much, to eras of Beethoven, Socrates, or other historical philosophers, surely at some point in the next 300 years there will be other historical figures that they would be looking back to or quoting? Overall the concepts dreamt up about how the future could be are excellent, but as a book to sit down and enjoy reading, it just wasn't for me, I felt it was too much hard work and took an age for anything interesting to actually happen.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel that intrigues on many levels - fantastic world building, 8 Jun 2012
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
In 2312 we have a solar system in the process of being terraformed. Some planets and moons, such as Mars, have advanced far along this path, with breathable atmospheres. Others, like Venus and Mercury, have adapted to the extreme hostility of an overhot sun with heatshields or cities that move along tracks to keep themselves in the shade and safe. Travel between the planets and moons takes place on asteroids, the insides of which have been terraformed into as many different environments as one can imagine - seas, African plains, jungles, sex liners, urbane French kingdoms, blackness, paradises. All of which contrasts with a largely drowned earth which noone has the power - or will - to terraform. But it isn't all gloom for earth. New York City has become a new glorious Venice, the lower floors of its skyscrapers lie beneath the water level while the inhabitants travel between the glass towers by boat or bridge, and spend time on plazas in the sky.

Swan Er Hong is our guide. Once a builder of these worlds, she is now a performance artist and one of Mercury's sunwalkers. The sunwalkers risk death to follow the sun on its path across the planet. Always keeping just in its shadow, they marvel at the shapes that the sun carves into the surface of Mercury and leave their own works of art. Mercury is full of art - it has galleries containing masterpieces from sodden earth, its craters and peaks are named after artists and great musical events take place outside the safety of Terminator, the city on tracks.

When Terminator, her home, is destroyed, Swan finds herself caught up in a conspiracy, following in the steps of her recently deceased grandmother Alex, chasing the clues that Alex has left across the solar system.

2312 is a novel that intrigues on so many levels. It is, on the surface, a mystery or thriller but this is quite possibly the least important element of the novel. What makes 2312 such an enjoyable read is its world-building. This is astonishing. The physical environments that Swan finds herself in are full of surprises and delights. These are refined further with little touches of music, poetry, debate and art. The character of Swan and that of Wahram and Inspector Genette are equally rounded and fascinating. Animal imagery surrounds them and gives them character and during different trials each comes into his or her own.

This is a universe in which old age and natural death are in the process of being defeated. Gender is becoming blurred. People experiment with biological additions or symbiosis and human intelligence is heightened by qubes, artificially intelligent implants. In this universe, each person has evolved themselves into something very different from anyone else. Therefore, the love story between Swan and Wahram is all the richer and more moving.

The narrative is interrupted throughout with `lists' and `extracts' which might distract from the thriller element of the novel but they enrich the world-building and, as 2312 continues, their relevance becomes clearer (or, more accurately, more susceptible to interpretation). In fact, the strengths of the novel increasingly overshadow the `plot', which moves too slowly and confusingly.

Kim Stanley Robinson lightens his `heavy' science fiction with a deft touch. The Mars here is not the same Mars from his famous trilogy. This solar system is a new creation and it is in places enchanting and always fascinating. There are scenes and ideas here which are unforgettable. Overlook the mystery and immerse yourself instead in the world and worlds of Swan and Wahram.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as outstanding as Red Mars, 14 Nov 2012
This review is from: 2312 (Hardcover)
Robinson has written a tome that spans the Solar system, from Venus and Earth to the moons of the gas giants. And it is an interesting story about the potential battle that humanity may have with its creations.

The earth has suffered calamitous destruction following seal level rises, and has around 11 billion people eking out an existence. People have colonised various planets, and various schemes have been devised to tera-form the planets and moon. Some are ingenious and others are how scientists imagine it could be done.

Swan, the main character, is given a task to do be a recently deceased friend, and this leads her to uncover a plot being hatched by qube's, quantum AI's that are embedded into people, and assist in modern society.

Some of the concepts in here are very good, and he has made the technology seem real and plausible, but it is very long, The chapters are punctuated by lists and extracts. I could not understand how they fitted in the story, and I think that this spoilt it.
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2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Hardcover - 24 May 2012)
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