AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson


Another engrossing read/listen from Kim Stanley Robinson. Aurora tells the story of a ship that leaves the solar system in the year 2545, with the intent to settle and form a human colony in the Tau Ceti system, many light years distant. The ship is amazing, containing 24 diverse biomes, around 2000 individuals, and a wide range of domestic and wild animals. Some landscapes are cultivated, some are wild, and each biome consists of both settled and unsettled landscapes. We enter the story 160 years into their journey as they are nearing, relatively, their destination. We meet Devi, the ships de facto head engineer, and her daughter Freya and husband Badim. We learn much about the physical complexities of the ship and what it takes to keep it functioning as systems break down. We dive headlong into the social complexities of these people living in a contained and controlled world, how those systems also must evolve. When they reach their destination, we witness their creativity and ingenuity taking them to the surface. The story unfolds from there, in interesting and unexpected ways. Much of the book is narrated by the ships AI as it unravels the sequence of events and gains a sense of self, an evolution that is thrilling to witness.

Jam packed with science and theory, as I expect from KSR, the story also wanders into some interesting philosophical territory. I enjoyed every minute of it.

7 comments on “AURORA by Kim Stanley Robinson”

  1. Great review. I am not a science fiction reader, but I’m in a bookclub that is reading Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness for our March meeting. I haven’t started it yet, but you have definitely inspired me to dive into sci-fi.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, if considering a dive into scifi, Kim Stanley Robinson is a great place to start. His books are intelligent, insightful, interesting, and visionary. He explores possibility, which I really love, and everything backed by science.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Oh, gosh. I loved reading The Left Hand of Darkness. One of my ModPo friends recommended it & I was so glad she did! You are in for a treat, Barbara.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, JNaz. Sound right up my alley…and it’s not about a plague. I have been so plaguey this reading season. A local small theater company I have patronized for many years has been determined to keep going through it all. I have a virtual subscription for their 2021/22 season, which starts with a play written for Zoom called Last Ship to Alpha Centauri. Oh, I should say that the name of this company is Kitchen Dog Theater! Still barking, still biting is its mantra these days.

    Liked by 2 people

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