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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Kim Stanley Robinson returns with a bold and brilliant vision of New York City in the next century.

As the sea levels 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. There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear - along with the lawyers, of course.

There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building's manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don't live there, but have no other home - and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine.

Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all - and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.

©2017 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about New York 2140

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complex, believable, nuanced, riveting

I totally disagree with the couple of negative reviews I'm seeing. If by "science fiction" you require aliens, supernatural powers, technologies made of unobtanium, or epic space battles, I guess you'd be disappointed. There's no "The One" character on a mission to save the Earth or the Universe here. But if you think of it as a mature genre, capable of creating a solid, 3-dimensional world set a century-plus hence, with characters whose lives revolve around real-world concerns and who speak and act the way real people do, then you'll really appreciate this book. The depiction of a semi-drowned New York is drilled into a bedrock of historical fact producing a solidly convincing sense of place that is the setting for a complex web of characters, motivations and completely plausible plot threads.

The performances are also among the best I've heard, and I'm not normally a huge fan of the multi-narrator approach but it works here. I was slightly amused to find, well into the book, that the character played by a reader who sounds African American, at least to my ear, turns out to be blond-haired, but to me the casting made him more interesting so I decided the author was wrong and continued to imagine him that way.

Just a first-rate read all around. Highest recommendation.

113 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Everything but the kitchen sink…

…is in here—climate change, extinction of animals, the economic divide between people, finance (pretty sure Robinson read The Big Short), fictional and non-fictional history of New York… Same goes with the wide variety of characters.

This was my first Robinson novel and will probably be my last. Half I listened to carefully, half with half an ear. There was just too much of everything in this novel—except character development. It took a looooong time for me to have any feeling for any of the characters—except Amelia. She was really the star of the show, and I probably liked her so much because her parts were funny and were a nice break from a lot of exposition, pontification, etc. etc. So while the topics of the book are right up my alley, the execution was somewhat lacking.

In the end, I’d say it was just ok. The audio narrators, for the most part, were great!

79 people found this helpful

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Not for me

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book that much. I felt it was one of those cases where the idea of the story is better than the story itself.

It wasn’t all bad, some storyline (or parts of storylines) were ok, but it all felt cluttered and jumpy. In addition, I never really cared about anyone and therefore it was hard to get into their stories. As a result, I was not emotionally invested and didn’t care about the outcome.

I’m just glad I’m finally done, it was a long book.

44 people found this helpful

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Not very good

I got this thinking it was going to be about the way environmental changes affect the future. And, it is, kind of. But really it’s just a pretty boring story about a flooded New York City and the people who live in a New York high rise, most of whom are not very like able. Not recommended.

26 people found this helpful

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Audacious modern masterpiece, great narration

Breathtaking must-read novel for sci-fi and general literature fans. Razor-sharp prose and social commentary, a rich cast of plausible characters, and an audacious Melvillean scope that, incredibly, Stanley Robinson delivers on rather than embarrassing himself with his repeated allusions. Excellent performance in this audio version. Highest recommendation.

Also, be aware that, while this is an unapologetically, proudly far-left novel celebrating the economic as opposed to the social left (not as common in contemporary sci-fi as the converse), if that aligns with your politics this is an affirming read for challenging times that brought me to inspired tears by the end.

24 people found this helpful

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What a Ride!!!!

This is my first time with the author, I’m now a fan for life. The overall story is strong, the sub-plots are wonderful and the characters are even better. I love his words choices, and all the maid of language. This is one of the longest listens in my hundred plus book Audible account, with the multi actor performances, this is one of the top books I’ve listened to. I highly recommend it, go for the ride.

24 people found this helpful

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Waiting and waiting for something to happen

20 hrs invested in this that I will never get back. The first half of the experience was painfully boring. I waited and waited and was sure something...anything...interesting would develop. It didn't. This is hardly science fiction. More like a really boring documentary and a macroeconomics class combined together. However, I think that makes it sound better than it was. Ugh. I'm actually mad I finished it.

23 people found this helpful

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Too political

this is a dream book for anybody who is ultra liberal. global warming save the planet get rid of money systems redistribution of wealth it has it all. the liberal agenda disguised as literature.

19 people found this helpful

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Thinking Like a World

Where does New York 2140 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?


Everything is here: surgically sharp insights into our present situation, kindly unsentimental knowledge of what it will take to shovel our way out, excellent how-to tools for overcoming our species-folly, idea-grams of fact-based hope, wit and hilarity as life preservers: all fueled by the underlying urgency of reality itself.

This is a man writing for his life- and yours. And the life of the world. Literature as a life-or-death matter with a great sense of humor. Paragraph after paragraph punching through solid walls of hand-me-down thinking. This is the first seriously futuristic "coming true soon" novel in both form and content. As in: the next future is well underway so good grief let us think about it. Tinker with the ways around, through and over the Great Wall of But It Has Always Been This Way. Get a judo grip on the hands around humanity's neck. Because worse yet is coming to thee and me soon. As you well know, yes?

Youth: a word to the wise. Read this book. It is Of Course equally if not more so for you. Then kindly re-think, if you need to, the efficacy of buying into that raging generic boomer-blame mind-flu going around. You know that many of us have been fighting body-and-soul tooth-and-claw for Sane Earth since before you were born. Everyone needs to understand the recurring plague of obliviousness: each generation mechanically reducing everyone who got here before us to compost. Instead, strengthen our connections to the very long history of humanity's uphill evolutionary slog. Make all of us stronger, tougher, smarter, and infinitely better equipped. Not to mention save us from the bad results of internalizing- worse yet peddling- wholesale prejudice on a grand scale. Come hither.

Would you ever listen to anything by Kim Stanley Robinson again?

I would and I do read/listen to everything by Kim Stanley Robinson. Every generation has several-many voices who best articulate the inner thoughts of who we are, what we know/need to know/don't and can't know, what we face and how we try to manage the heavy concrete pilings of teetering bad history poised to fall on our heads. He's my personal favorite. Why not? A planet-sized Big Mind. Also: funny. AND vacuums the house to very loud Beethoven.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Excellent wide-ranging everybody: full embodiments going along fluidly. Big Band of narrators seem glad to be part of this fascinating project of a novel novel. Old and new Audible voice-friends sound very enjoyably engaged in their parts in the whole. Nice work.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is not "only" a good book. Not exactly. Also something unsayable but more- bigger in and on the mind than "a book". It is a Book Plus: that rare next new thing/experience. In this case, a Made in the USA ultramodern geek Greek Tragedy served up with a hefty helping of hilarity: in short, hyper life-like.

Any additional comments?

Everything that is, matters. Thinking well about any of it- let alone the giant "What on earth can we do about our bogged-down dying cataclysm-inviting life on Earth?" takes some serious how-to. And we aren't taught how to learn to think. Other people's thoughts can be highly stimulating mind-food. But you too. You too. Everyone who wills it can learn to think like a planet now: create new ways out of that endless miserable Groundhog Day/repetitive motion syndrome we call human history. Keep trying.This is serious and we are IT: who we have. All we have.

17 people found this helpful

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Wonderful. Again.

Nobody can take me to a place of technological wonders and worlds past and future in a way that makes it feel so real, human, and freighted with meaning as Kim Stanley Robinson.

If loved his other worlds, you'll love this one even closer to home.

11 people found this helpful