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.