Sunday, January 22, 2017

PW reviews KSR's new cli-fi novel here in an unsighned review by a staff reviewer or freelancer: "New York 2140"

''New York 2140 ''
by Kim Stanley Robinson. from Orbit Books, $28 (624pp) ISBN 978-0-316-26234-7





  • INTRO: ''Unlike J.G. Ballard’s cli-fi novel ''The Drowned World'' in the 1960s, 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 not-so- far -away-near-future cli-fi novel examines the political and economic implications of dramatically higher ocean levels, specifically their effects on New York City. '' [slightly edited by this blog]

    OOPS: ''The writing, ironically, is dry; several sections are exposition-heavy. ''

    DENSE PROSE: ''They not only explain why Lower Manhattan in the year 2140 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.” ''

    MORE Cli-Fi THAN Sci-Fi THIS TIME: ''Such sections illustrate the comprehensive thought KSR 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. ''

    THE GOOD NEWS: "Readers open to an optimistic projection of how humans could handle an increasingly plausible environmental catastrophe will find the info dumps worth wading through.''

    PUB DATE: March 14, 2017

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