New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson returns with a bold and brilliant vision of New York City in the next century.
As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city.
There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear -- along with the lawyers, of course.
There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building's manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don't live there, but have no other home -- and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine.
Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all -- and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Kim Stanley Robinson has won every science fiction writing award on the planet, and after we devoured New York 2140 we can certainly see why. Robinson's latest is an immersive, character-rich drama set in a waterlogged future. Impressionistic and propulsive, the novel is much more than an environmental cautionary tale (or so-called “cli-fi”). It's also a brilliant and ultimately optimistic ode to humanity's stubborn will to adapt and survive.
Unlike J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World, which was also set on a mid-22nd-century Earth devastated by global warming but focused on the effects of that cataclysm on the human psyche, Robinson's latest near-future novel examines the political and economic implications of dramatically higher ocean levels, specifically their effects on New York City. The writing, ironically, is dry; several sections are exposition-heavy. They not only explain why 2140 Lower Manhattan is submerged but contain dense analyses of how investments in real estate could be evaluated via a "kind of specialized Case-Shiller index for intertidal assets." Such sections illustrate the comprehensive thought Robinson (2312) has given to his imagined future, but they slow down the various interesting narrative threads, which concern a diverse cast of characters, including a reality-TV star who travels above the U.S. aboard an airship; the superintendent of the old MetLife building, which now contains a boathouse; and an NYPD inspector called in to investigate the disappearance of two coders. Readers open to an optimistic projection of how humans could handle an increasingly plausible environmental catastrophe will find the info dumps worth wading through.