2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There seem to be two kinds of science fiction I enjoy. Those that write well and tell a good story. And those for whom the story is just a way to explore ideas. Idea explorers. I would put Asimov, for instance, in this category.
Kim Stanley Robinson likes words. And he likes using a lot of them. Sometimes so much so that I felt my eyes glassing over. But that isn't always a bad thing.
So part of the reason I decided this was going to be my next pick is an interview I'd listened to where he spoke at length about gender. One of the topics was the indeterminate gender of one of the characters, Jean Genette. He talked about trying to avoid the use of gender defining pronouns in regards to this character. I was with it until it started creeping in as the character became more of a POV character, and made more frequent appearances. And the odd thing was that the definition was consistent, consistently male. Repeatedly masculine pronoun usage slipped in, which completely destroyed the image of this character that had been conjured. Oh well.
That said, the story itself reached what, to me, was a predictable conclusion [SPOILER] the synthetics (qubans or quboids) being fired off extra-sol-system [/SPOILER] primarily because KSR has stated in several interviews that he doesn't believe homo sapiens will expand beyond this solar system. The conclusion was predictable, but the manner in which it was reached was ham fisted.
All in all I found the novel somewhat frustrating. I'm glad I read it, but the story itself seemed kind of weak. And after having gone on at length about this future vision of a diversified and self-directed humanity, it ends with a rather stereotypical princess meets prince charming (almost too literally) and they get married.
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