Now I remember why I hate Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels; I have major problems putting them down. Sleep, food, work, whatever, I just want to read the book. 2312 was another one of those books. As of this posting, the novel won the 2012 Nebula award and was nominated for the 2012 BSFA, 2013 Campbell, 2013 Clark, 2013 Hugo, and 2013 Locus Science Fiction awards. So, I am not alone with enjoying this novel.
Briefly, 2313 is set in the same world or a very similar world to the Mars Trilogy. In the opening of the novel we learn that Alex, a very influential woman in the solar system, has just passed away. Alex left some unfinished business, but she had worked in secrecy, keeping the information from her beloved granddaughter Swan. Despite being over 100 years old, Swan is something of a wild child. She soon meets close associates of Alex, including Wahram, a froggy looking man who is a lover of routines. While Swan and Wahram are coming back from attending a concert away from the Mercury city of Terminator, the city is attacked and destroyed. The two go into an underground tunnel and spend days hiking through it to a place where they can be rescued, thus creating a bond between them. How and why was the well-protected city destroyed? What were Alex’s important projects? Why are strange people showing up and are they a type of quantum computer? If people can terraform planets, can they also revive Earth? 2313 turns out to be a pivotal year for the solar system.
Be aware that 2313 is definitely not appropriate for young adults. If I had a preteen, I don’t think I would want them to read about how bi-gendered individuals have sex.
At times my brain wandered to Asimov’s Foundation Series. I found myself wondering “Did this happen in the Mars Trilogy or the Foundation Series?” Maybe, it is just me.
There are so many things that I liked about 2313. I liked the world building, and there are a lot of worlds. Asteroids are being hollowed out to create terrarium worlds. I liked that hard science, sociology, politics, and philosophy are presented in the descriptions of the solar system. I enjoyed the characters. Wahram is the perfect foil to Swan. I enjoyed the fast moving plot, including the mystery aspect of the story. I enjoyed the structure of the book. Robinson sets long descriptions –such as how to create a terrarium-- in small chapters apart from the main storyline. This novel is definitely worthy of its numerous award nominations.