But Vandana's reading resonates powerfully for me beyond her focus on the novel's main characters precisely because the book's structure and style would have allowed the emergence of other voices and perspectives. I also agree with her statement
The baldly stated notion that that humans are “meant to inscribe ourselves into the universe” is not that different from the kind of ideology that justified the British plunder of India, or the French and Dutch mangling of Africa — manifest destiny on a solar system scale.This notion of human's inscribing themselves into the universe is not a new idea (or assumption) for Robinson. Some of his characters in the Mars Trilogy, for examples, believe this fervently. I've come to wonder if Robinson himself believe it-- or whether, again, its an idea he's implicitly critiquing.
After reading Vandana's post, you'll also want to check out Niall Harrison's post here: http://www.strangehorizons.com/blog/. This conversation, I'm sure, will (and needs to) continue.