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New York 2140 Kindle Edition
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.
[A] novel in which New York City has been drowned...The city had adapted in this novel, as I can only imagine it would in reality: with sky bridges, with boats, with enterprise. Still, you can't deny that from our current vantage, it's a disaster zone.-- "Literary Hub"
A thoroughly enjoyable exercise in world building, written with a clear-eyed love for the city's past, present, and future.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
A towering novel about a genuinely grave threat to civilization.-- "Guardian (London)"
As much a critique of contemporary capitalism, social mores, and timeless human foibles, this energetic, multilayered narrative is also a model of visionary world-building.-- "RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!)"
Massively enjoyable.-- " Washington Post"
New York may be underwater, but it's better than ever.-- "New Yorker"
Nine voices weave a complex tapestry of horror and hope in an all-too-believable dystopian future...The wonderful narrator Robert Blumenfeld often introduces whatever main character is featured at the time. This works beautifully to tie together the many characters and the voices that portray them. All the voices are distinctive and compelling-from the parentless urchins to the tough female cop and a dozen others. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.-- "AudioFile"
Relevant and essential.-- "Bloomberg Businessweek" --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
Kim Stanley Robinson is a bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and 2312. In 2008, he was named a Hero of the Environment by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. For his book Antarctica, he was sent to the Antarctic by the US National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers' Program.
Jay Snyder is a voice actor, voice director, and script adapter who studied acting at the Julliard School in New York City. He is best known as the voice of Yugi Muto from the Japanese manga television series, Yu-Gi-Oh! His audiobook narrations have earned three AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was a finalist for the Audie Award for Best Fiction Narration in 2015.
Robin Miles, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, an Audie Award for directing, and many Earphones Awards. Her film and television acting credits include The Last Days of Disco, Primary Colors, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, New York Undercover, National Geographic's Tales from the Wild, All My Children, and One Life to Live. She regularly gives seminars to members of SAG and AFTRA actors' unions, and in 2005 she started Narration Arts Workshop in New York City, offering audiobook recording classes and coaching. She holds a BA degree in theater studies from Yale University, an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, and a certificate from the British American Drama Academy in England.
Suzanne Toren has over thirty years of experience in narration. She has won the American Foundation for the Blind's Scourby Award for Narrator of the Year, AudioFile magazine named her the 2009 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture, and she is the recipient of multiple Earphones Awards. She performs on and off Broadway and in regional theaters and has appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.
Peter Ganim, an Earphones Award-winning narrator, is an American actor who has appeared on stage, on television, and in film. He has performed voice-over work since 1994.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01KT7YTO6
- Publisher : Orbit (March 14, 2017)
- Publication date : March 14, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1989 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 788 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #78,855 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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This is the central question the acclaimed science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson sets out to explore in his ambitious new novel, New York 2140. His canvas is New York City. Far uptown in Manhattan, on Brooklyn Heights, and in Hackensack, 300-story "superscrapers" built of graphene composites pierce the clouds. There, the world's richest people own luxurious apartments they rarely occupy for more than a week or two every year. Everything south of midtown is underwater up to the third or fourth story, yet for many New Yorkers life goes on there above the waterline in the high-rise buildings that have survived the flooding. They travel about on skybridges that connect the towers, on the waters that frame Manhattan island, and on canals that traverse what were once streets and avenues. ("The floods of the twenty-first century," Robinson writes, "revealed a salient fact that wasn't very important before: lower Manhattan is indeed much lower than upper Manhattan, like by about fifty vertical feet on average.") Smaller numbers of people live in "skyvillages" held aloft by arrays of helium-filled balloons and on floating townships that traverse the open seas.
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower and its 30-story North Building (to its left).
The action unfolds over the course of three years beginning in 2140, most of it in or near the 40-story MetLife Tower at Madison Avenue and 24th Street (not to be confused with the iconic 59-story building at 200 Park Avenue also known as the MetLife Tower). Some 2,000 people now live there in Robinson's tale.
Robinson tells his story through the eyes of nine principal characters:
Charlotte Armstrong is the long-time chair of the residents' association at the Met and influential within the network of her peers in similar buildings across lower Manhattan.
NYPD Inspector Gen Octaviasdottir is, ironically given her name, a huge African-American woman, six-four in her police boots. She is "one of the city's most distinguished inspectors, famous downtown and in those parts of the cloud interested in police work." Gen is often at odds with her superiors in the Department because of their tendency to favor the superrich who live in the 'scrapers.
Vlade Marovich, the superintendent at "the Met"—the building, not the Metropolitan Museum or the Metropolitan Opera—manages a large staff dedicated to keeping the water out.
A day-trader for a large hedge fund engaged in "high-frequency geofinance," Franklin Garr, lives at the Met, like Charlotte, Gen, and Vlade. Franklin is forever scheming about how to make a killing, which he assumes will involve short-selling when the intertidal economy crashes—and he may not be averse to helping make that happen.
Several other key characters are temporary residents of the building, at least initially. A pair of programmers known as Mutt and Jeff (Ralph Muttchopf and Jeff Rosen) have taken refuge in a tent on the farm floor high in the Met, having lost their jobs working for a crooked hedge fund manager. Like so many others in the world of finance, they gain little benefit from the work they do to make others rich. ("They are partners, they amuse each other, they work long hours writing code for high-frequency trading computers uptown.")
A pair of energetic young orphan boys, aged ten and twelve, named Stefan and Roberto end up at the Met when they're rescued from drowning by Vlade and Franklin; they typify the "river rats" who eke out a precarious existence on the fringes of the island.
A famous "cloud star" named Amelia is another latecomer to the Met. She rides in an airship around the world rescuing endangered species and relocating them to more hospitable surroundings. Amelia is a klutz, forever getting into trouble, which her fans love. She is also gorgeous and attracts a great deal of attention from viewers by frequently traveling nude.
Robinson spins out his story in short chapters that alternate from one of these nine characters to another. Interspersed among these episodes that carry the plot forward are essays on the state of the world in the mid-22nd century, framed as the musings of a nameless "citizen." Through these lively essays, written in beautifully crafted idiomatic prose, Robinson conveys extensive knowledge not just of ecology—he is widely recognized as a well-informed environmental activist—but of politics and finance as well. The financial structure of the society he envisions is at the heart of this story: economic inequality has run amok, and the superrich uptown are threatening to gain control even of the high-rise buildings in the "intertidal" downtown where their less prosperous neighbors live. In other words, this is a society ripe for revolution. The conflict between the people of the intertidal and downtown, on the one hand, and the lords of finance uptown plays out in the course of this long, deeply satisfying novel.
Most of us who follow the news these days are prone to think of global warming and rising seas as slow, gradual processes, imperceptible over short periods of time. Robinson postulates sudden change, which I'm persuaded is actually more likely. He envisions a "First Pulse," when the level of the sea rose by ten feet in ten years in the 2060s and an even more severe "Second Pulse" that added a further forty feet over the fifteen years from 2085 to 2100. After all, nature doesn't travel in straight lines.
Kim Stanley Robinson is best known as the author of the now-classic Mars Trilogy: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. Among the many awards he has won are the Hugo and the Nebula. In a New Yorker article in 2013, Robinson was termed "our greatest political novelist." New York 2140 confirms that judgment.
NEW YORK 2140 is not a novel in the usual sense. There is no real plot, although there are several events that are strung through the book that actually do have a beginning, middle, and end. There are also characters that the reader follows from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel, and their lives do intersect because those previously mentioned events do intersect and overlap. And there is conflict, but not the sort of conflict a reader is used to seeing in a novel that is structured in a typical fashion. Even the title is a bit misleading, as the novel starts in 2140 but ends a few years later after the events that are recounted within are complete. What NEW YORK 2140 does provide, as does 2312, is a snapshot, a snapshot of a few characters within one of the largest and most well-known cities in the world as they - and the city - go about their daily lives.
You'd be right to ask "why should a care about New York in 2140?". Well, it's under 50 feet of water. To be fair, not all of it is under 50 feet of water, but most of it is. In fact, the book itself answers the question of why you should care about New York instead of any of the other coastal cities that are under water. Back to this in a bit.
Or maybe not. It's really a difficult novel to describe. Structurally, the novel is broken into parts, and each part has subsections that follow individual characters - or, in two cases, a couple of characters. There is also an additional subsection for a character called "The Citizen". Robinson is famously known for liberally sprinkling infodumps throughout his books, and NEW YORK 2140 is no exception. While infodumps are spread everywhere throughout the book - and I'll have to say I didn't mind them in the least, as they were in my opinion well done, informative, and entertaining - the best of the lot come in the sections featuring The Citizen. It is in these sections that the reader learns about the two events - The First Pulse and The Second Pulse - that put NYC and the other coastal cities under water. What's more, we learned how the Pulses came about in wondrous detail that should, but won't, convince any climate change denier that we have really screwed up this planet and we'd better do something about it yesterday. The Citizen doesn't just tell us about how NYC got to be in the state it's in ecologically, he tells us about finance as well, how the Pulses affected the global economy, and how current (to the novel) solutions to the problem are no different than what was done in the past. It's very clear throughout the book that Robinson has done his research. As a side note, and in bits that most readers may not enjoy but I found amusing, The Citizen, a snarky resident of NYC, refers to the text of the book itself, letting his audience know that he knows what he's saying is being read, and is giving those same readers permission to skip these sections if they want to, while at the same time letting them know that they're going to be ignorant of many facts if they skim through his parts.
The thing that is fresh about this novel is that while it is a post-disaster novel, it doesn't dwell on the disaster (or in this case disasters). The point is not the disasters - the point is how a subsection of society deals with the nasty hand it's been dealt. Robinson also lets us know that it really is all about money. Yes, there is climate change which will lead to disaster. But money, really, makes the world go around. Nearly all of the characters have either something to do with finance or are affected by those that have something to do with finance. A major plot (there's that word here) point involves how to manipulate the global economy in the aftermath of a hurricane that hits New York.
The characters here are secondary. I don't think Robinson means for the reader to be enamored of these characters at all. I don't think there's any character that grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and made me pay attention to him or her - although I did feel sorry for the two kids that continually did stupid things and got into trouble for them. This, like 2312, is a story about ideas, but ideas based in reality, ideas that we could find becoming a reality if we're not careful.
Back to one point I made earlier, about why we should care about New York and not any other coastal city. Don't skip The Citizen sections. And don't skip any of the rest of the sections either. They're too good to pass up.
This is the first audiobook I've listened to that has more than a couple of narrators. There are seven of them, and they are all wonderful. While I haven't taken the time to learn which narrators performed which sections (although it's a safe bet that the female narrators did the sections centering on the females, and the same with the males of course), I'm really partial to the guy that performed The Citizen. This was a great cast performing a great book.
Top reviews from other countries
I actually gave up on this last year as I initially found it quite difficult to get into. It's not a typical fiction novel, nor is it a typical story either. It reads more like a fly-on-the-wall dystopian non-fiction and I came to really enjoy this kind of format once I restarted last month.
Other reviews have applauded the topic that this book covers and I totally agree. We have the opportunity now to turn this around, knock-down the greedy banks, look after each other and save the environment before things get worse.
Funnily enough, re-watching "Day after Tomorrow" was a nice fit and helps visualise the distruction that a sea level rise would have in NY.
In summary, this was a very enjoyable read and the audiobook was spot-on too. Give it the time that it deserves. I look forward to reading more from KSR!
Mr. Robinson likes to intersperse his books with essays to provide background and display his research. Even if one sympathises with his politics, these sections become tedious. They greatly detract from the continuity of his novels. He should decide: write either fiction or non-fiction. The blend does not work. The two forms weaken one another.
For a hard science fiction writer the science is not thorough. If climate change is so extreme as to raise sea levels by 50 feet then weather patterns will be almost unrecognisable. All we get in New York is an accentuation of current conditions.
Manhattan is described as a giant slab sloping smoothly downwards from Central Park. In fact there are high areas in the south which would stand out as large islands in his scenario, including much of Greenwich Village. This is important because many coastal areas have such high ground, often not regnized today as the contours are subtle.
I tried reading KSR's other books about post apocalyptic societys and found the same problem. Simply no interest or emotional connection with any of the characters.