Book to consider: 2312

by Kim Stanley Robinson

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

[Get the book here.]

Published by Massimo

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

8 thoughts on “Book to consider: 2312

    1. Well, true. That said, it’s what, 250C on the sun side and -150C on the eternal dark side? NO water of any sort there AFAIK (I’m talking bound, not just free) and as of date, we’ve not had a lander there to try to prove otherwise. So, why go to Mercury now, knowing that in, say, 100,000 years it’s that much less inhabitable, by a small margin. It’s also, contra Star Trek and Elon Musk, HUGELY optimistic about the possibility of ANY colonization outside our own planet, ie, Mars.

      And, there’s the “rich escapism” angle of all current such colonization ideas. Additional reasons for me to question the plot line.


    2. Oh, I know it’s sci-fi, but it still should have halfway credible science behind it … this case, it would probably be as much or more social science. Maybe living on Mercury is elemental (I see what I did) to the plot? And, yes, I know Star Trek’s transporters don’t seem like credible science, not to mention the philosophical issues, but they were a halfway reasonable plot device. I think.


    3. In terms of plot, the world as depicted in the novel features system-wide colonization, no reason to think Mercury was a priority. There is also a whiff of religious mysticism: people on Mercury are often “Sun walkers,” i.e., worshippers of the Sun.


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