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New York 2140
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July 2018: Dystopian > New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson - 3 stars

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Joy D | 4608 comments New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson - 3 stars

In this science fiction dystopian novel set in the year 2140, climate change has caused the ice caps to melt, increasing sea level by fifty feet and flooding New York’s low-lying areas. Many former offices buildings have been converted to housing and now include boat docks in the lower floors. The plot line follows eleven characters living in the MetLife Tower on Madison Square, whose stories begin separately but eventually converge. One of these characters, referred to as “a citizen,” serves as a vehicle for the author to impart information.

This book serves as a warning of what could happen by ignoring, or at the very least not adequately addressing, global warming. It is heavily influenced by the economic bubble of 2008 and its aftermath. The narrative sends a message about how short-sightedness and selfishness could lead to an ecological catastrophe. He describes a possible new global economy and envisions the legal, political, environmental, technological, scientific, and human impacts.

I found it quirky and creative, though difficult to become absorbed into the story and rather lengthy at over 600 pages. The plot and character development take a back seat to the message. There’s A LOT of economics in this book, so be prepared for an analysis of financial markets and discussions of hedging, leveraging, day trading, and financial indices. It’s not all financial though, as it includes bizarre scenes such as polar bears riding in a dirigible, a man that thinks he has seen the ghost of Herman Melville, boys using a treasure map and diving bell, and women participating in the new sport of “water sumo.” I found parts of this book riveting and other parts tedious.

Recommended to those with an interest in science fiction dystopias/utopias, climate change, finance, or economics of the future. I also imagine people who live or have spent a good amount of time in the city of New York may enjoy it for the many local references. Content warnings: profanity and a bit of sex.

Overall, an intriguing premise weighed down by heavy-handed messaging.

Link to my review:

message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Ooooo, interesting! I am wary of your warning that it contained heavy-handed messaging, but I am going to guess that it is probably messaging I agree with so it may not bother me too much....

message 3: by Joy D (last edited Jul 17, 2018 01:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy D | 4608 comments I usually try to avoid politics in my reviews, but let's just say the author is not overly fond of capitalism. I definitely thought it was a worthwhile reading experience. If you decide to read it, I'm interested to hear your take on it.

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