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New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Too much time to give to this question, the super being so sullen and slow. New York parking! One can do nothing but practice patience. Eventually the zoomer was mine to step into, off the boathouse dock and then out the doorway onto the shadowed surface of the Madison Square bacino. Nice day, crisp and clear, sunlight pouring down the building canyons from the east.
This year I am reading the books which are Hugo and Retro Hugo and WSFS YA finalists in order of decreasing total page count. That ranking is, if you are curious:
Islandia, by Austen Tappan Wright (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (2018 Hugo Novel)
La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (2018 WSFS Young Adult)
Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (2018 WSFS Young Adult)

The Stone Sky, by N. K. Jemisin (2018 Hugo Novel)
A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff (2018 Hugo Best Related)
Provenance, by Ann Leckie (2018 Hugo Novel)
Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, by Rasha Abdulhadi (2018 Hugo Best Related)
A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge (2018 WSFS Young Adult)
In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (2018 WSFS Young Adult)

Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (2018 Hugo Novel)
The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (2018 WSFS Young Adult)
Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (2018 Hugo Novel)
The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (2018 Hugo Novel)

Sleeping with Monsters, by Liz Bourke (2018 Hugo Best Related)
Second-Stage Lensmen, by E. E. 'Doc' Smith (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
Summer in Orcus, by T. Kingfisher (2018 WSFS Young Adult)
Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
The Uninvited, by Dorothy Macardle (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
No Time to Spare, by Ursula K. Le Guin (2018 Hugo Best Related)
The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (2018 Hugo Novella)
Crash Override, by Zoe Quinn (2018 Hugo Best Related)
Iain M. Banks, by Paul Kincaid (2018 Hugo Best Related)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (2018 Hugo Novella)
Donovan's Brain, by Kurt Siodmak (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
Darkness and the Light, by Olaf Stapledon (1943 Retro Hugo Novel)
River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (2018 Hugo Novella)
Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (2018 Hugo Novella)
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (2018 Hugo Novella)
That’s a lot of reading between now and mid-July, and I haven’t even accounted for the Best Series finalists. (There is one novella finalist that hasn’t been published separately, but don’t worry, I will get to it; it seems shorter than the others at first glance. Also I haven’t included the Best Graphic Story finalists in the list above; they are all shorter in pagecount than All Systems Red. But I am reading them now anyway.)

I’m still waiting for a hardcopy of Islandia, so I started with New York 2140 (and am now on La Belle Sauvage). It’s obviously a refutation of the bizarre assertion that sf is not concerned with climate change; the scene is New York in 2140, after a couple more economica and climatic crises; the sea level worldwide has risen by 16 metres, and most of our numerous viewpoint characters live in and around the MetLife building, whose base is submerged but which has become accommodation for about two thoiusand people. As with the Mars books, the different points of view add up to make a whole; as it turns out, the viewpoint characters all end up on pretty much the same side, which is to bring about the fall of capitalism in America.

I felt the first part of the book, which builds to a couple of satisfying plot climaxes at about the half-way mark, was better than the second, where the fall of capitalism is plotted but mostly happens off stage, boosted by a natural disaster whose emotional impact comes across as somewhat blunted. It will be obvious by now that it’s a very political book, but it is more wonkish than angry, which is my own personal style as well, but doesn’t necessarily make for great drama. There’s also a frankly silly sub-plot about a young woman who broadcasts nude from an airship and attempts to transplant polar bears to Antarctica. If that all appeals, you can get it here.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 8th, 2018 03:47 pm (UTC)
Your method clearly has advantages - the tasks get easier as you go along. But I'll be waiting for the packet before I commit myself on the longer works (which I haven't already read).

I'm sure we used to be told that YA was generally quite short - and now it has two of the top four. Ah well.

And two novels from 1943 are shorter than this year's top novella?

Andrew M.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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