New York 2140

New York 2140

eBook - 2017
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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.

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l
Lee9
Dec 30, 2020

This is good science fiction. I recommend it to those who appreciate a stimulating story of a possible future, illuminated with detail, and creating a vivid vision.
There are no alien monsters and ray guns. But there is the menace of unintended consequences and the challenge to discover submerged solutions.
Good science fiction takes plausible scenarios and extrapolates the implications on the characters and on society. However, there is no villain here. All of the characters in this novel are imperfect but portrayed with sympathy. The enemy is ourselves and the society we created that systematically undervalues nature and the future, making this an allegory we need to take seriously. Many of humanities worst failures stem from a lack of imagination. That is what this novel seeks to address.
The story describes the crisis of global sea level rise of fifty feet by 2140. Most current models call for much less, 3 to 15 feet in that time frame. 50 feet is unlikely before the year 2200. Unless there is a catastrophic collapse of the polar ice sheets, then it could happen quickly. In any case we are asked to imagine the coming reality.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of this story is the finance system we have created to rule our lives. The traders, quants and hedge fund managers dive deep into ways to automate massive amounts of information and make a short term margin on the flow of the markets. The book reveals how this system fails to understand real risk and value. Our society desperately needs to appreciate the peril and imagine a better way.
Spoiler: I love this "definition" the author provides from neoliberal economics "Efficiency, n. The speed and frictionlessness with which money moves from the poor to the rich."
The author moved to New York while writing the book and walked the streets and waterfronts. It is difficult to keep up with him without a map and a tour guide. Maybe a bit much if you don't love New York as much as he does. But it could be that in the end, "when push comes to shove," a strong sense of place and history is exactly what can motivate us to love our home and save ourselves.

l
lisser
Nov 18, 2019

I could have done without many pages of information that did not follow the plot line. I ended up skipping sections that really did not add to the actual story so I thought this book was a dud. The idea was great, I was excited to read it but at one point I realized the author was annoying me with information that was not about the characters nor the plot so I could not give it many stars.

r
richmole
Oct 09, 2018

The title sounds like just another apocalyptic thriller. One look at the dust-cover illustration--a vibrant metropolis, traditional buildings awash in fifty feet of seawater and many 22nd century skyscrapers crowding the new shoreline of "uptown" Manhattan--tells you this is no typical end-of-the-world novel.

And it isn't.

This is not a fight-for-survival story in the wake (no pun intended) of global warming. Not in the traditional sense. It's a chronicle of people, young and old, rich and poor, who, in many clever, intriguing ways, become a vanguard for a new North-American society 120-odd years in the future.

Author Kim Stanley Robinson anchors his firmly in the near-past of the early Millennium, through the thoughts and memories of a cryptic "Citizen" who pops up occasionally to provide voice-over while the story's characters--a stock manipulator, media personality, policewoman, two treasure-seeking salvage kids, a building super and her worried manager live through their days and nights in a city on the edge of watery destruction.

I found it fascinating, clever, funny and very entertaining...and enlightening, too. But be forewarned: if you're after the typical down-and-dirty melodrama of us-against-the-horde (of whatever), you may be disappointed.

Go ahead: take a chance--and learn something about how the future might shake out, and how individual human beings--pretty much like those living today--struggle towards a better life, while trying to salvage the one they happen to be caught up in.

t
tjdickey
Jan 13, 2018

A very interesting concept by an excellent writer. The cast of characters in a flooded New York City 125 years into the future includes street urchins (or better, canal urchins) to big-time financial giants, politicos and police, and plenty of the everyday mix that Manhattan has always attracted. As with any good book about the City, New York itself is also in a very real sense a living character as well - from "autumn in New York" (it's still so exciting) to iceboats on the frozen Hudson, from storm surges to continuity and revitalization of destroyed neighborhoods into the twenty-second century. The most distracting character, sadly, is an overly blatant authorial voice which fills in some necessary backstory, but with less-necessary anger and preachy diatribes about twenty-first-century politics.

s
sat7
Oct 02, 2017

Epic in scope and may well be a future we experience.

j
jbeninger
Sep 21, 2017

A good read. The extreme climate change and New York as a Venice was a good background and enough to keep me engaged. The characters were likable. I also enjoyed the moral points with the inter-tidal index, the bailout, and the new water environment.

b
bansidthe
Apr 18, 2017

Certainly not my cup of tea...need an MBA to wade your way through all the financial acronyms and ultimately I didn't care. Threw in the towel at page 129...I had wasted enouhg life span on it.

m
MFS1
Apr 03, 2017

Kius thinks it's aweful.

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