It’s early in the 24th century and we still don’t have FTL drive. In fact, the best we can do is .2C and that speed takes over a century to spin up to. So, in 2312, our own solar system is the extent of humanity’s grasp and it has been mostly populated.

I am designed for informative conversation, but I cannot usually pass a Turing test. Would you like to play chess?

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So, humanity—or what evolved from humanity—is bound to the sun. Furthermore, they are bound to Earth for all spacers should return for a year every seven for maximum longevity or simply to feel the wind in their hair.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

2312 is a 2013 Hugo award nominee and Robinson has won the award twice before (for Red Mars and Green Mars). Finally, here is an excerpt from the jacket cover: “The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future.”

Rating (2 stars)

As I mentioned before, spaceflight in this rendition of the 24th century is not terribly fast. Unfortunately, this book is paced very similarly. It takes five days to ride a space elevator up from Earth to orbit and months to travel across the solar system. This makes for a very slow read; one that I found excruciating.

All of the plot lines in this book seem to be given equal weight and they progress onward with a flat affect. Even the titular events of 2312 are underwhelming. Truly, by that point I wanted it to end. Or, alternatively, intersect and come together in an unexpected and interesting way. Midway through I was looking for the story to mock my inattention by bringing back details full-circle. I desperately wanted a plot twist that never came.

Finally—and this would be a spoiler if it wasn’t so obvious—the protagonist falls in true love to (presumably) live happily ever after. The only thing ruining that cliché is a bit of poorly implemented humor from Swan’s comic relief sidekick computer who is, arguably, the best character in the book.