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Book 156: 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Book 156: 2312.
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson, 2012.
Genre: Science Fiction. Sexuality. Art. Ecology.
Other Details: Hardcover. 561 pages

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.
- synopsis from publisher's website.

I do not read much science fiction but was quite intrigued by the premise of this novel. It took me a while to read it as there was a lot of information to take in about life in the 24th Century both on Earth and throughout the solar system. The central plot about an unknown terrorist threat that has to be investigated was a fairly slow burn though had its moments of drama and conflict.

The novel was much stronger on characterisation and relationships than I had expected though having read some of KSR's other books it had been an aspect of his writing that I had appreciated. It also took a while to get used to a society that was somewhat familiar and yet very different to ours.

Overall I found it a very interesting novel in terms of how humanity might expend into the solar system. In this it reminded me of Arthur C. Clarke's fiction though with more emphasis upon social aspects such as changes in attitudes towards sexuality and more fluid definitions of gender. I was also very pleased to see the land artist Andy Goldsworthy honoured in KSR's depiction of the 24th century. There was an emphasis upon ecology and exploring the impact of reintroducing endangered animals to Earth. There were some lovely scenes between Swann and a group of wolves that she follows for a time.

Orbit's page for '2312' - includes link to excerpt and 'build your own asteroid terrarium game.

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