Kim Stanley Robinson – Aurora (2015)
AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.
This was read as part of the Sword and Laser Podcast June picks. I
I began this book with some trepidation. The previous Kim Stanley Robinson book I had read was ‘Forty Signs of Rain’ and I hadn’t finished that.
This starts with a domestic setting on a lake in a spaceship !. The story appears to be about young -adult and her interactions with some rebellious children. Not what I would expect of a Sci-Fi novel. Fortunately chapter 2 begins with some hard-Sci-Fi explaining the current situation. We are on a ship that has been traveling for over 100 years to a planet. Then it’s back to the kid. At this point I wondered if the whole book would be like this. So I checked out a few reviews. One of the best indicators of a book I don’t like is the comments in the 1-star reviews. Usually if there are a good number that use words like ‘dull’ and boring, I will be agreeing with them. Of the 453 reviews, 10% are 1-star.
According to Liz Seber:
I have been reading science fiction for 55 years. I have read all the greats – Asimov, Heinlein, Niven etc – and, sometimes, their efforts haven’t always been good. But this book must be the dullest and most boring sf effort I have ever read. A good concept ruined by pages and pages of philosophizing and an unsatisfying ending. I never fully understood the main character who was never completely filled out and I don’t think the author understood her either. This should have been a lively story (see Brian Aldiss’s Non Stop, which is a similar theme, for a returning space farers story that works) but it failed in all respects.
Doug Minear calls it a ‘slow boat to Aurora” . And Heather; I had to force myself to finish.
This book is 148k words long so instead of persevering through the remaining 87%, I’m moving on the the next Sword & Laser pick for June.