Well, things have been crazy lately , so apologies for arriving at this point so late! I just finished the book, as managing my other classes and also working full-time has made keeping up difficult. But alas, I made it, in some way or another.
Do I think Literature has a future in the context of our media/picture driven society? - I believe it does. Though slowly becoming less popular, literature and novels haven't gone anywhere, and I don't think they will for quite some time. There are still more books currently being written than we can fathom, and there's probably more books already written than we can ever read. One day, the stories we love and cherish now will be considered old literature, much the same as we now look at literature that's hundreds of years old in our current time. I think literature, even if it's just stories, at the absolute minimum are little pieces of the world they were written during. In many ways, even if they're set in different time periods or fantastical worlds, stories in some way reflect the world as it was at the time the book was written. The book we're reading in fact, 2312, despite being set in a very sci-fi, futuristic world of the year 2312, was published in 2012, and has many notions toward individuality and anti-capitalism, something that is more and more on the rise in the world as we know it today. Because of the ways stories incorporate themes, allegories, metaphors, and lessons beneath the surface of their raw material, they always have a means of being relevant. Books that are now hundreds of years are still relevant. I also think literature has a future because, in reality, anyone who can write and, to some degree, understands grammar, can write literature, even the most simple story. Literature is, in my opinion, still the easiest medium in which to tell a story. Most people can easily write, but most people cannot easily program a video game, or shoot a film, or make an exotic piece of art. All of these things require practice and knowledge. To write a story, you simply need an idea, and the simplicity I think will keep it alive. No one will ever stop writing, in my opinion.
How does 2312 depict the struggle of the individual versus the collective? Does Robinson succeed? - 2312 depicts the struggle of the individual vs the collective in a manner that is not dissimilar from our own - under the oppressive thumb of capitalism - but also dissimilar, in that it's set far in the future in a setting that is beyond simply our planet, but our solar system, with Earth mostly destroyed and overheated, 92% of mammal populations endangered, and flooded. Earth has become more or less a pile of trash, and many choose to leave it in favor of living on different planets and moons. This struggle however isn't easy, as the process of populating an uninhabitable planet or moon has seemingly as many struggles as surviving on a dying planet. Do we stay the same and try to survive/wait it out, or do we change our ways and try something new? This to feels very relevant in what we face today. What's happening to the Earth in this book, which is 300 years from now, doesn't feel so far away in real life. Yet unlike the book, no one seems to be willing to make the changes necessary. So far, we're in the "keep trying what we're doing" rather than the "press forward and try something new" camp. And it isn't, for the most part at the fault of regular citizens. Most of us probably are on board for change. But our corporate executives, politicians, and world leaders can't seem to change. For many, it isn't their problem. They'll be dead before it affects them. For just as many others, it doesn't reap enough profits to change. Like the people of Earth in the story, many of us want to move forward, but literally can't move because we're held down by the giant thumb of capitalism. This is us, as individuals, struggling against the collective. It's insane how real the picture painted in the book feels to real life. For me, Robinson succeeds in every way.
Why does the tale end with a conventional marriage? There could be a multitude of answers for this, but I like to look at it simply. I think it's a way to remind us that, despite how different this world is, we're still the same humans. Traditions we've had for hundreds of years will carry on for hundreds more. The things we cherish, care about, and prioritize now will likely be similar to those we do the same for in the future. We will still have the same feelings and emotional range. At the end of the day, humans will always be humans. There's certain qualities we will never lose. Perhaps that's what the author means to say.