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Get it as soon as Thursday, Feb Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Ministry for the Future. Kim Stanley Robinson. Orwell's Roses. Rebecca Solnit. Mass Market Paperback.

Red Mars Mars Trilogy. Review "New York may be underwater, but it's better than ever. New York 0 is a towering novel about a genuinely grave threat to civilisation. But it's the radical imagination of the book that makes it so hard to put down. The individual threads weave together into a complex story well worth the read.

Robinson is an acknowledged SF master-his Mars trilogy and his stand-alone novel were multiple award winners and nominees-and this latest novel is sure to be a big hit with devoted fans of old-school science fiction. 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 Limited-Time Offer.

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Verified Purchase. What will life on Earth be like a century from now once the oceans have risen fifty feet or more? His canvas is New York City. Far uptown in Manhattan, on Brooklyn Heights, and in Hackensack, 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 action unfolds over the course of three years beginning in , most of it in or near the story MetLife Tower at Madison Avenue and 24th Street not to be confused with the iconic story building at Park Avenue also known as the MetLife Tower.

Some 2, 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.

She is "one of the city's most distinguished inspectors, famous downtown and in those parts of the cloud interested in police work. A day-trader for a large hedge fund engaged in "high-frequency geofinance," Franklin Garr, lives at the Met, like Charlotte, Gen, and Vlade. 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. 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 midnd century, framed as the musings of a nameless "citizen.

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 s and an even more severe "Second Pulse" that added a further forty feet over the fifteen years from to After all, nature doesn't travel in straight lines.

Among the many awards he has won are the Hugo and the Nebula. In a New Yorker article in , Robinson was termed "our greatest political novelist. I wasn't sure that I wanted to read it, thinking that once again it might not be for me, but man did it sound interesting. The deal was sealed when Robinson appeared on The Coode Street podcast; his descriptions of the book and how he went about researching it and putting it together were enough to get me to pick it up and give it a try.

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 but ends a few years later after the events that are recounted within are complete.

What NEW YORK does provide, as does , 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 ? 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".

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.

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 , 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. The coastal region, the intertidal, is legally ambiguous, and physically precarious.

The two things, we know, are linked. Do you know what Benoit Mandelbrot said about the length of coastlines? Look it up. In distributions and representativeness. I do not know how steeped KSR is in statistical knowledge — though, come to think of it, I believe he does talk of representation in the statistical sense. But then still, yes, he has to be.

In the 21st century. Part One. Expert Overconfidence p. Liquidity Trap p. Expensive of Priceless? Escalation of Commitment p. Assisted Migration p. The More the Merrier p. The Comedy of the Commons p. One of the problems that was in the back of my mind as I read New York was: Is the transportation system geometrically feasible? The story is set in a future New York City where the city below 50th street is under 50 feet of water. People got around by boat, as street ways had become transformed into canals, and by walking on skybridges directly between buildings.

Set the image aside. Is the city KSR describes physically possible? Lots of people were excited because, of course, it would be very cool to walk over the Hudson River between Manhattan and Jersey City. And there were going to be bike lanes too! My response as stc4blues 5? But what's the capacity of the bridge?

By AM 18, will have walked across. Is that a meaningful number? What kind of dent will that make in daily transportation? If , people cross between the two cities every day see the story I linked above , a bridge with that capacity is not going to make much of a difference. As far as I know, no one made that simple calculation. What brought this to mind is a recent interview with Jarrett Walker6, a public transportation expert.

I think, Europe is mostly good at this. Continental Europe is best at this. But if it were easy to drive there every weekend, if I had someone who would drive me there or if I could ride in a driverless car, I would buy that cabin in the woods and so would everybody else and so we would chop down the woods.

It goes on like that, example after example. Two sets of characters moved over the water in small boats. Others walked through the city over skybridges. What kind of skybridge infrastructure would you need to service the Empire State Building at 34th St. And remember, skybridges are necessarily point-to- point; each bridge would have one terminus at the Empire State Building and the other at some other building.

Is that a problem? Lots of science fiction presents us with future worlds that are somewhere between physically improbable to extravagantly impossible. And New York is not a gee-whiz tech kind of book. But then, transportation is a people and politics kind of problem. At any given level of technology, you still have people moving about to live their lives. Getting that done requires money, and the collection and allocation of that money is a political problem.

Where does that leave New York ? As I said up top, the issue was in the back of my mind when I read the book. But I did. The vote was close, against, for. Charlotte was pissed at those who voted to accept the offer : What were they thinking? Did they really imagine that money in any amount could replace what they had made here?

It was as if nothing had been learned in the long years of struggle to make lower Manhattan a livable space, a city state with a different plan. Every ideal and value seemed to melt under a drenching of money, the universal solvent. Money money money.

The fake fungibility of money, the pretense that you could buy meaning, buy life? She stood up and Mariolino nodded at her. As chair it was okay for her to speak, to sum things up. Because everything is not fungible to everything else. So what can I say. I wish it had been much more lopsided than it was. So think about that, and talk to the people around you, and the board will meet for its usual scheduled meeting next Thursday.

See you then. Just how is it that they made their community, their sense of home? Not simply by living together in the Met Life Tower. They grow their own food in the tower, at least some of it. But is it enough? The vocalists are wailing, the horns are a freight train.

The vocalists are grinning and shouting duets in harmony. Crowd goes crazy, dancing swells the room. And a deep epiphanic glow pervades the room. That whole scene struck me as being uncharacteristic of the novel. About the music, the musicians, the dance. This other narrative goes back at least to the First Pulse. It involves Jes Grew Ishmael Reed. And how the Met Lifers grooved together.

Mezz Mezzrow7 was born Milton Mesirow. He played jazz clarinet and was a part of the mid-century traditional jazz scene in America.

He also supplied the musicians with reefer. Mezz became slang for marijuana. Like I said, counterpoint. We're in the wrap-up phase of the group reading. Bryan Alexander observed:9 Politics This has a specific, clear, and well developed programmatic political agenda.

Through it national tax policies would change, major banks nationalized, and the American Democratic party be shifted dragged to the left. That framework managed to remain viable through two Pulses and on into Do I believe in that?

Of course, if there were a couple more shifts, what would they be? Bryan: 3. It has, rather, a double action, like the lenses of 3D glasses. Through one lens, we make a serious attempt to portray a possible future. But relax your eyes, and the results can be startling in their clarity. When then, is he revealing about the present system? I keep thinking about what economists call a coordination problem.

And so they tumble. What finally triggers things in NY? Amelia gets an impulse in her balloon and calls for a strike. They just knew they were somehow sometime soon going to start a strike. Amelia jumped the gun. So he won the election. I note that, as decisions go, voting for a Donald Trump is a lot easier, has far less risk, than refusing to pay the rent, the mortgage, the college loan, or withdrawing your money from the bank.

But there it was on the table, New York A couple quick glances told me that, yes, it was set after the sea rise. I was without power for four or five days I forget which , but others were without power for two or more weeks—not to mention flooding and homes destroyed, and the effects ripple out from there. But how will we live? Our spirit, what of that?

Perhaps Robinson offers some insight. Not, mind you, that I somehow think KSR is a prophet. And so I began to read the New York Or something.

The rest is costumes, stage sets, blocking, and action. As I read through the book — which is both complex lots of interacting characters and simple little in the say of intricate scheming, but some — I read about the financial collapse of By the time I got to the end I was telling myself, whoa!

Occupy created the cultural mind-space that allowed Piketty Capital in the Twenty-First Century to make a splash. What time scale do we use to measure the present? But what is? A year, a decade, a century? Events unfold in nested waves. Some waves have a frequency measured in seconds, or less even way way less.

Others have frequencies measured in decades or centuries or more. Nested waves on all scales, with casual links of various kinds crossing from one scale to another. But then climate change looms large in his imagination and surely we can push that back to the beginning of the carbon-spewing Industrial Revolution. And even then the octopus may think of some new ways to bite the world. A hinged beak, some super suckers, who knows what these people will try.

For you see, capitalism had just suffered a crushing defeat. There are no happy endings! Because there are no endings! And possibly there is no happiness either! And the take-home? The lesson, what does it tell us about, I suppose, radical historical change?

Or perhaps not. And things just happened! What is fiction anyhow? Times Square itself, of course, would be under water, but many of the tall buildings would still be sticking around, their middle and upper floors rising above the water.

That would be quite a sight, to see all those animated lights reflecting in the water. So, I ask you: Does New York exhibit a distinctive mode of fictional being? The World Trade Organization is still doing whatever it does. The Federal Government is still there, though a bit weakened, private security forces are more prevalent.

The 0. Robinson uses the future as a device to tweak these arrangements so that when a hurricane triggers a flood like Sandy and the flood triggers a financial collapse like , we get a different outcome p. Strategic defaulting. Class-action suits. Mass rallies. Staying home from work. Staying out of private transport systems. Refusing consumer consumption beyond the necessities. Withdrawing deposits. Denouncing all forms of rent-seeking. Ignoring mass media.

Withholding schedules payments. Fiscal noncompliance. Loud public complaining. And the banks are nationalized. Do I believe it? How should I know? Does it matter?

Of course it does, I guess so, maybe. They gave up the conventions of journalistic objectivity and entered into the events they chronicled. At the same time E.

What about alternate history,14 for example, P. How does New York fit into that, whatever that is? You study the situation from all angles — economics, political, demographic, cultural, meteorological, whatever — and explore the space of possible futures by crafting two, three, or more possible futures.

But a century and a quarter? Robinson posits two major climate events — he calls them Pulses — before hurricane Fyodor. It causes massive damage, but not, I believe, as bad as that of the two Pulses. What held things together through all the troubles? And in the end I have a guess, perhaps a wish, a hypothesis.

Lots of dance and music. Aretha Franklin just died. It came from the church, the African-American church. Ever since then music and dance have been a central vehicle of social cohesion.

It connects us and gives us hope. How could Robinson have missed it? He added it on to the end, perhaps to give closure to a story that otherwise was still very much unfolding? How could you rewrite the book so that music and dance are central, bring them up out of the basement clubs?

Do you just drop party scenes in here and there? What then? Take the Vivaldi to 17th century Italy, Glinka to 19th century Russia. But how do you get to the Middle Kingdom?

Which Middle Kingdom, you ask? All of them. It needs to be more collective, even more hallucinatory, prophetic if you will. Dance back through the Second Pulse, then the First, and keep on going. Maybe THAT will keep us together. At the other: No way, no how, never! Too inhospitable, too expensive! Various positions in between and me in the middle, trying to figure out what I thought. One thing I thought is that the vehement negative extreme bothered me more than loopy positive one.

Perhaps because unqualified optimism is a better way to proceed into an uncertain future and killjoy defeatism. At this point the value of manned spaceflight, much less a Mars landing and a colony, is imaginative, not practical. Whatever we need to do in space, for practical reasons mining the asteroids? There are better things to be done on earth with the s of billions of dollars that would be required to even attempt colonies on the Moon or Mars.

Everyone has to be lifted out of poverty to roughly the same level of material comfort. That requires economic growth.

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WebPDF Drive - Search and download PDF files for free. PDF Drive offered in: English. PDF Drive is your search engine for PDF files. As of today we have 82,, eBooks for . WebOnline Library of Liberty. WebMar 6,  · New York Author: Kim Stanley Robinson Publisher: Hachette UK ISBN: Category: Fiction Page: View: DOWNLOAD NOW» New York Times .