A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, Aurora tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.
Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.
Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.
Now, we approach our new home.
This ambitious hard SF epic shows Robinson (Shaman) at the top of his game. Freya and her parents live aboard a starship that has traveled for generations and will soon reach Tau Ceti, a star about 12 light years from Earth's solar system. Freya's mother, Devi, is the de facto chief engineer, struggling to keep the ship's environment balanced until they reach a new world and, they hope, survive on it. But ecologies are delicate, resources are limited, and the laws of physics are immutable. Over the course of Freya's life, her community faces genuinely surprising struggles for survival, leading Freya to wonder whether it is too late to reconsider a question initially decided millions of miles away and centuries ago: should this ship have been launched in the first place? As always, Robinson is at his best when dealing with large populations, scientific questions, and logistics, and the very human characters are more than afterthoughts. Even an occasional lapse into preaching about the philosophical problems with space exploration can't mar this poignant story, which admirably stretches the limits of human imagination.
More science than fiction
The amount of research that went into this book — agriculture, biology, gravitational computation, ecology — is really impressive. Flat characters, that are a bit unlikeable, and stale dialogue become a bit of a distraction at times — but a computer AI that is completely lovable and an exceptional ending make any small matters seem insignificant.
The book raises legitimate ethical and logistical questions about the project of interstellar colonization by humans. Incredibly well researched in a huge number of areas. One reviewer that I’ve read so far complained about the narrative voice… I found it convincing as what one would experience from an AI gradually learning how humans tell stories. The final chapter, not in the AI’s POV, is pure Robinson.
Absolutely in my top ten favorite sci-fi reads. I have just enjoyed it for a second time.