Thursday, May 3, 2012

Robinson's '2312'

Gary K. Wolfe reviews Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 in the May 2012 issue of Locus Magazine.
"2312 is as flat-out a celebration of the possibilities of SF as I’ve seen in years, not only in terms of classic space adventure (there are grim setpieces in the tunnels of Mercury and in open space, after the passengers on a doomed spaceship need to abandon it only in spacesuits, waiting for rescue), but in terms of gender evolution, quantum computing and artificial intelligence ... , and ecological catastrophe (Earth is so ruined that it ironically becomes the only planet not suitable for terraforming). Robinson takes on so much information here, and so many techniques, that the novel sometimes seems on the verge of flying apart from its own imaginative momentum, but it’s something of a wonder to watch Robinson pull in all the kites in the end. Readers who want only the clean narrative arc of the planet-saving space opera that anchors the narrative might find a good two-thirds of the novel a distraction, but for the rest of us it’s a catalog of wonders."
Your humble correspondent would hazard that Kim Stanley Robinson has a good claim to being the foremost science fiction novelist of the past several years in the United States. Consider the evidence: Galileo's Dream (2009), The Years of Rice and Salt (2002), and Antarctica (1997). Not to mention the Mars books.

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