Sometimes I go with my gut and pick a book off the library shelf based on the cover. Sometimes my gut is wrong.
2312 was a very difficult book for me. As you can guess, the title refers to the year of human history laid out in the novel. Humanity has colonized our solar system. In some unique ways that I found very interesting. We’ve hollowed out thousands of asteroids and filled them with different biospheres. This one’s like the savannah, this other one is a giant aquarium, full of animals that have gone extinct on a climate change ridden Earth. The main city of Mercury, Terminator, rolls on giant rails like a train, always on the dark side of the planet. Because it gets so hot on the sunward side the rails expand and the city rolls away, always in the dark. Around and around the planet.
Very interesting, unique take. Smart, with science beyond my comprehension. Androgynous humans, scary intelligent AI, and how they came about. Minute details other authors wouldn’t think of or try to explain: all that is here. Unfortunately, this isn’t so much a story, but more a rumination on the nature of humanity.
There is a semblance of a story though. The non Earth planets live in relative harmony, and Earth’s fractioned state threatens to throw away that balance. But how can the spacers show them the way? Swan’s grandmother was attempting to do so, but she dies at the beginning of the novel in a way that’s suggested as mysterious and never resolved. Swan now takes up the mantel, a tad unwillingly.
2312 is long. Incredibly long. I almost gave up several times, but I try not to be a quitter. Every time I wanted to bail, something more interesting would happen and catch my attention, before some long sequence about music or art would have me drifting off or speedreading again.
The main character, Swan, is super unlikable. Impulsive, vain, a little crazy, she does nothing endearing. She spends most of the book complaining about the way things are while she uses what seems like unlimited funds to flit about the universe. I guess she’s at least trying to make things better?
2312 is for the philosopher. Not for those of us looking for a space crime opera, which is what the back blurb suggested to me. But if you like to imagine what the future could look like for 600 pages, this is your book.
1 out of 4 stars.