Back to 2008 I read The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (aka KSR). These 2,800 pages transported me in a near future where Mankind is colonizing Mars. These books were by far my best and most memorable books of that year.
Imagine my joy when I discovered that the author had written a new book, 2312. After six months of interrupted reading, I finished last month the book. Is 2312 as good as this trilogy ? That’s what will see today.
2312 can be seen as the continuation of the Mars trilogy as as it is located in – wait for it, you’ll never guess – 2312 and it takes many elements from these epic books : Mars is colonized, longevity treatments have enabled Mankind to live beyond the century, space travel is fast enough to go from planets to others in a few days and so on.
Humankind after colonizing Mars has colonized the other planets – from the hot Mercury to the cold Saturn – but also the many asteroids and moons located in our solar system. As usual, Earth is a source of problem because of its huge population and its environmental problems. (but will get back to that later)
This might sounds far fetched for the common reader who never read KSR before or is not accustomed to what is referred to hard science fiction * but it is quite plausible given how science has progressed for the past 100 years.Indeed, what could happen in three times as much if scientific progress were to keep on going on such a speed ?
Sorry for the digression, let’s get back to the story, which follows Swan Er Hong, a 135-year-old artist who lives on the mobile city of Terminator, on Mercury. The plot is quite gripping and as usual with KSR, involves a lot of technology and science. (hence it’s classification as hard SF.)
This huge amount of technology and science descriptions that might interest everyone. On top of the purely narrative sequences and chapters, the book includes numerous lists and other iterations that cut a bit the story but add to it and its credibility.
Climate change and related environmental issues are important to Kim Stanley Robinson and this permeates in 2312.
With global warming alongside came rising sea levels : New York is flooded with no less than seven meters of water as well as other places such as Florida (there is no more Florida with such levels of rising seas levels.)
As a direct consequence, archipelagos and island nations from all oceans such as the Maldives are recreated in emptied asteroids.
Other celestial objects are used as natural reserves to animals which otherwise would have gone extinct, as biodiversity is ruined in 2312 ( which is most unfortunately completely plausible given how we are doing so far…).
Another area that is quite specific to the author is his taste for social experiments and alternatives to capitalism.
To conclude : despite it took me six months to read it, I really loved 2312 and I am giving it a 18/20, which makes it a very good book. If you haven’t read KSR yet, start reading The Mars Trilogy and get back to 2312.
If you read and liked these three books you’ll find yourself at home with 2312 and you will just wish, like me, that it was only the first part of a trilogy. Most unfortunately, it is not…
Here are a few articles and pages you might be willing to read about 2312 :
* To Wikipedia : ” a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both.”