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In the year 2312, humans have developed the technology to colonize most of the solar system, including Mercury, which boasts a single city that travels on rails around the planet just ahead of the rising sun. When Swan Er Hong arrives to mourn her recently deceased grandmother Alex, one of Mercury's movers and shakers, Swan realizes how little she knew about the woman who raised her. Meeting some of Alex's scientific friends reveals to Swan that mysterious projects were in the works and that she must uncover her grandmother's secrets before they destroy not only Mercury but the entire solar system. VERDICT The award-winning Robinson ("The Mars Trilogy"; Fifty Degrees Below) delivers a feast for advanced technology fans and future history aficionados with this intriguing portrait of a solar system economy based on the mining of the asteroid belt. Despite their genetically engineered adaptations to their galactic colonies, his well-drawn characters resonate with traits that emphasize their humanity. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Robinson (Galileo's Dream) delivers a challenging, compelling masterpiece of science fiction. In a spectacularly depicted future of interplanetary colonization, humanity has spread across the entire solar system, from miniature biomes in hollowed-out asteroids to a moving city racing the fatal rays of the sun on Mercury. Mercurian artist and biome designer Swan Er Hong is struggling to cope with her grandmother's death and an unexpected meteor strike when she gets caught up in a scientific conspiracy that touches on both the political and economic schemes of space-based humans, including Saturn's ring-surfing moon dwellers and the secretive factions controlling slowly terraforming Venus, as well as the quasi-independent quantum computers called qubes. As Swan, the saturnine diplomat Fitz Wahram, and interplanetary investigator Jean Genette delve into the possible connections among a series of mysterious incidents, Robinson's extraordinary completeness of vision results in a magnificently realized, meticulously detailed future in which social and biological changes keep pace with technological developments. Agent: Ralph Vincinanza, Ralph Vincinanza Agency (author now represented by Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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*Starred Review* Robinson continues the themes he introduced in his Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Mars trilogy environmentalism, planetary transformation, social experimentation, technological evolution in this wonderful novel set three centuries from now. There is a linear story (a woman, Swan, is determined to uncover the potentially catastrophic secrets behind a project her recently deceased grandmother was working on), but it's the story's milieu that makes the book so rich and satisfying. In the Mars trilogy, Robinson was focused on a single world; here, he's juggling many of them: Mercury, Venus, Earth, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn all colonized by humans, all with their own unique societal structures and physical environments (a city on Mercury, for example, moves constantly on tracks, staying ahead of the fatally hot sun). Swan moves back and forth between the worlds, sometimes in hollowed-out asteroids that have been transformed into space-traveling colonies, and, piece by piece, the author builds a tactile, completely real future society. The book won the Nebula Award for best novelin 2012;it richly deserved the honor then, and it has held up superbly. It's a magnificent achievement, a hugely imaginative and beautifully written companion piece to, but not a direct continuation of, the Mars trilogy.--Pitt, David Copyright 2015 Booklist