29570143As the sea level 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.

Author: Kim Stanely Robinson
Category: Futuristic, Science Fiction
Pages: 613
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017

Definitely catch this week’s podcast episode where we dive deep into a drowned New York!

Just over hundred years in the future parts of the ice caps have melted, causing the sea level to rise fifty feet, submerging many coastal cities. New York, however, still functions as a major metropolis despite the challenges to city buildings.

While this is a fascinating premise, the delivery was way too bogged down in the author’s apparent passion for New York City and technical descriptions of the financial industry.

The book follows several point of view characters but for some reason there is a point of view that actually has nothing to do with the story. This “character” is known only as the citizen is basically just the author giving up at telling a story in favor of waxing eloquent about how amazing New York is, things to do with finance and politics, and just generally info-dumping.

That’s not to say that political commentary has no place in fiction. It absolutely can and frequently does. It was just delivered in such a mind-numbingly dull way; not worked into the story at all, just chunks of pages of text that had little to nothing to do with anything the story was telling.

He tries to not get called out on the info-dumping by saying something to the effect of “don’t like it, don’t read it. Skip this chapter.” Yeah, sorry buddy. It doesn’t work that way. It should be a rule of thumb to not include large sections of your book that can be completely skipped over and the reader misses nothing.

As for the extreme focus on New York, this was a problem for two reasons.

First, it just got annoying.

Second, there are so many other places in the world impacted by this that were only referenced in a passing manner. There is also so much going on with the environment, animals, and what-have-you that got barely any notice because we were too busy saying the same thing in different words about finance and New York.

The impact on animals had such a minuscule page count up next to everything else that it was probably an afterthought. Of all the point of view characters that the story follows, only one is involved with this and she is only connected to the rest of the story in that she happens to live in the same building as the other characters when she just happens to be in New York.

That’s it. That’s the rest of the world, one character that is only connected to the main story by sheer coincidence and has nothing to do with the main storyline whatsoever.

The book was definitely centered on the world-building (with the world confined to New York). In this way, it has to be said that the author did dive deep into what he obviously wanted to write about. This will likely appeal to many readers but it did nothing for us.

Dani’s 2¢

I found my self enjoying the book at first despite obvious problems. I like books that make me think and this one did do that for a while but then it just kept going on about the same things over and over again and I stopped thinking and just waited for it to be over.

Around the halfway mark, all the plotlines that I was moderately interested in were more or less wrapped up and the rest of the book just meandered along acting like it had a plot when really it didn’t.

Rating:

3-uuugh

Greg’s Thoughts

Ugh I did not enjoy this book at all. I will be honest, I  enjoy books that grab my intrest. You have a world ending situation that has caused alot of problems and you discuss finances? I just didn’t give a shit about these bland characters in this bland story.

As we said in our podcast, speaking about your political worries is perfectly fine, but make sure the way your trying to get your message across doesn’t bore people to sleep.
Maybe some of you guys might enjoy a slow pace, money talking, boring novel. But that is certainly not for me.
Rating:
1-burn it
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