New York 2140

Kim Stanley Robinson
New York 2140 Cover

New York 2140


I read 70 (~11%) pages of Kim Stanley Robinson's mammoth 613-page New York 2140. It begins with a lengthy lecture on finance and economics between two characters, and proceeds to introduce numerous other characters, all of which are made of thoroughly-inedible cardboard. There are pages and pages of excruciatingly-detailed descriptions of the topography of New York City as it would appear with the sea level raised by 50 feet. This might be interesting to people who are deeply familiar with NYC, but I just found it tedious.

As I usually do when I find a book too bad to finish, I went looking for reviews to see if there are others who feel the same way as me. I found a good one by WWEnder Bart, aka Bormgans. Bart says that he is an avowed KSR fan, but that even for him, the last 60% of this book did not work for him, and he gave it 3 stars out of 5.

One of the KSR interview snippets he found pretty much explains the book for me: I often start with ideas that are global or historical or scientific that don't have any characters in them at first, and then as I write, the characters appear and become more distinct, and do things -- it's a strange process, and I don't feel in control of it.

I can absolutely believe that the people who nominated this book felt that it was Hugo-worthy, but I can't for the life of me see why. I have come to the conclusion that KSR has caught the same dreaded TBTBE* disease to which Neil Stephenson and GRRM have succumbed. I think that 70 pages is a more-than-fair effort on my part, and I will be putting this novel under No Award.

* too big to be edited