”You’ve done some strange things to yourself.”
She made a face and looked away. “Moral condemnation of other people is always rather rude, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I do. Of course. Though I notice we do it all the time. But I was speaking of strangeness only. No condemnation implied.”
“Oh sure. Strangeness is so good.”
“Well, isn’t it? We’re all strange.”
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
From Goodreads: 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.
Little Notes: While reading this book, I caught myself thinking a number of times that “This—this is what a science fiction book should be.” Robinson worked up some of the most beautiful worldbuilding I’ve ever come across and made it contemplative to boot: there’s music, art, science, and a great deal of thought and exploration of such ideas as the existence of evil, the morality of political structures, the effects of gravity on human life, and what sex and gender are like when completely divorced from love, childbearing, original biological makeup, the transgressive, etc.—not that I could agree with all of his conclusions, mind.
There were also a number of times that I caught myself considering putting the book down. There were several graphic sexual images I wouldn't mind un-reading. The story works in the direction of marriage… sort of, but I’m not convinced the author meant anything by that. The heroine, having experimented long and hard with extreme forms of sex, abramovics, and self-enhancement, came off inhuman at times. To be fair, I think that last was intentional, and the hero was generally a beautiful character.
This is some of the most fascinated I’ve ever been by fiction for grown-ups, but the margin by which I found its virtues worth dealing with its sexual grotesqueries was pretty narrow. Reader, beware as you choose. It’s rare, though, that I find a book written with such intensity of thought, such care for detail; rare enough that I can't regret reading this one.