Review: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

August 24, 2015 Books, Reading, Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review: Aurora by Kim Stanley RobinsonAurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system.
Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.
Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our new home.

Published by Orbit on July 7th 2015
Genres: Hard Science Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
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Buy the Book at: Amazon

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of hard science fiction, mainly because I like fiction that’s heavily character-driven, and a lot of hard SF seems to sacrifice character for science. I had that problem with¬†Aurora to a point, though I did think some of the characters were far more well developed than in other hard SF I’ve read. And it’s an interesting book, no doubt. It’s very well written, and it’s obvious that Robinson researched the hell out of it. But I just didn’t connect with the point of view character, Freya, as much as I’d have liked.

Giving a plot summary would pretty much tell you everything that happens in this book, so I’m going to stick to the very basics. At the beginning of the story, Freya is a 14 year old girl, the daughter of the chief engineer of a generation ship that’s been on its way from Earth to Tau Ceti, a star 14 light years away, for more than 150 years. The story, told as the ship’s AI attempts to learn how to write a narrative, follows Freya as the ship gets closer to its destination, a moon that they hope will support a human colony.

Having the ship tell the story was a really interesting choice, since it leads to a very different sort of story than you’d normally read. The ship often digresses into descriptions of the physics and biology involved in keeping itself a viable habitat for the humans and animals on board, and interestingly, also into internal discussions of human language and the strangeness of the narrative form. It was a very metatexual sort of read, and I did find it fascinating.

I just wish I could’ve connected more with Freya. I actually found her parents, Devi and Badim, to be more compelling characters. Freya felt more like a blank slate than a fully developed character.

Overall, Aurora is a very well-written and interesting piece of science fiction. I just wish I would have felt a stronger emotional bond with its protagonist.