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3.2 6
by Kim Stanley Robinson

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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


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.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/30/2015
This ambitious hard SF epic shows Robinson (Shaman) at the top of his game. Freya and her parents live aboard a starship that has traveled for generations and will soon reach Tau Ceti, a star about 12 light years from Earth’s solar system. Freya’s mother, Devi, is the de facto chief engineer, struggling to keep the ship’s environment balanced until they reach a new world and, they hope, survive on it. But ecologies are delicate, resources are limited, and the laws of physics are immutable. Over the course of Freya’s life, her community faces genuinely surprising struggles for survival, leading Freya to wonder whether it is too late to reconsider a question initially decided millions of miles away and centuries ago: should this ship have been launched in the first place? As always, Robinson is at his best when dealing with large populations, scientific questions, and logistics, and the very human characters are more than afterthoughts. Even an occasional lapse into preaching about the philosophical problems with space exploration can’t mar this poignant story, which admirably stretches the limits of human imagination. (July)
From the Publisher
"A rousing tribute to the human spirit."—San Francisco Chronicle on Aurora

"The thrilling creation of plausible future technology and the grandness of imagination...magnificent."—Sunday Times on Aurora

"[Robinson is] a rare contemporary writer to earn a reputation on par with earlier masters such as Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke."—Chicago Tribune on Aurora

"If Interstellar left you wanting more, then this novel might just fill that longing."—io9 on Aurora

"Aurora may well be
Robinson's best novel...breaks us out of our well-ingrained, supremely well-rehearsed habits of apocalypse - and lets us see the option of a different future than permanent, hopeless standoff." —Los Angeles Review of Books on Aurora

"Humanity's first trip to another star is incredibly ambitious, impeccably planned and executed on a grand scale in Aurora."—SPACE.com on Aurora

"The Apollo 13 of interstellar travel."—SciFi

"[A] near-perfect marriage of the technical and the psychological."—NPR Books on Aurora

"[A] heart-warming, provocative tale."—Scientific American on Aurora

"This ambitious hard SF epic shows Robinson at the top of his game...
[A] poignant story, which admirably stretches the limits of human imagination."—Publishers Weekly on Aurora

"This is hard SF the way it's mean to be written: technical, scientific, with big ideas and a fully realized society. Robinson is an acknowledged sf master-his Mars trilogy and his stand-alone novel 2312 (2012) were multiple award winners and nominees-and this latest novel is sure to be a big hit with devoted fans of old-school science fiction."—Booklist on Aurora

"Intellectually engaged and intensely humane in a way SF rarely is, exuberantly speculative in a way only the best SF can be, this is the work of a writer at or approaching the top of his game."—Iain M. Banks on 2312

Library Journal
Robinson's latest tome opens as a generation colony ship approaches its destination and the end of its projected lifespan. Regression to the mean has taken its toll on the mechanical and human elements of the massive ship, and engineer Devi holds it together only with the help of the ship's ever evolving artificial intelligence. Her daughter, Freya, may lack her mother's intelligence, but none of her love for the ship and their mission. VERDICT At times ponderous but never dull, this novel offers a lengthy exploration of humanity's reach beyond the solar system in a search for a new home. Robinson fans will recognize many of the technical elements of the ship as it is a product of the solar system that is home to many of the author's previous books, including the award-winning 2312. [See Prepub Alert, 2/2/15.]—Jessica Moyer, Sch. of Information Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
School Library Journal
Freya knows nothing except life on the ship. She and her family have been traveling through space for generations, heading to Aurora, a new sun, and a new life. They are close to arrival, which is fortunate because supplies are running out. But Aurora isn't the saving grace it was hoped to be—the landing crews have to deal with strong winds and worse. The ship community must decide what to do—attempt life on Aurora? Head to another inhabitable planet or see if the struggling ship can make it back to Earth? Freya may not be a chief engineer like her mother, but she has the ability to unite her people, and the ship itself believes in her. With the recent success of Andy Weir's The Martian (Crown, 2014), space fiction is in the limelight, and this epic by a well-respected author won't disappoint fans seeking an apocalyptic adventure. The idea that a dying Earth will send ships to space to save humanity isn't a new plotline, but Robinson develops an artificially intelligent spaceship that becomes an important parental figure to Freya. Her world might end soon, and readers will root for a lifesaving miracle. VERDICT A natural introduction to adult science fiction for teens.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-05-06
Robinson's latest well-researched novel exposes the fundamental flaws in one of science fiction's most beloved tropes: the multigenerational space ark traveling at sub-light speed to colonize a planet around a distant star. In the 26th century, a ship departs our solar system, bound for the Tau Ceti system and carrying 2,000 humans who live within a series of miniecosystems. Nearly 200 years later, the descendants of the original crew are preparing to reach their destination—and it's none too soon, because the detrimental aspects of living in a closed (but leaking) system without recourse to fresh chemical, biological, and material supplies have begun to multiply. The ship and the biomes within it (including the people living there) are breaking down. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the planets and satellites of Tau Ceti may not be suitable for colonization. Science fiction from previous decades has nearly always assumed that humanity's spreading out among the stars was not only possible, it was probable or maybe even inevitable. Current scientific research, as well as prevailing social, political, and economic conditions, makes that seem less sure. Again, most SF imagines we'll be able to overcome those challenges over the centuries; Robinson (Shaman, 2013, etc.) builds a fairly convincing case that we might not and vividly describes the biological and psychological damage that long-term space travel might cause. Allowing the ship's artificial intelligence to serve as the novel's primary omniscient narrator gives Robinson the excuse to deliver a multitude of mini science lectures (which do border on the pedantic at times, a frequent hazard of hard SF). It would have been nice if, among all the detailed explanation, the author had explained why the starship has no formal command structure (no captain, no navigator, no formally titled chief engineer). A compelling (if depressing) argument against those who still dream of an interstellar manifest destiny.

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9.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.60(d)


Meet the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt and 2312. In 2008, he was named a "Hero of the Environment" by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.

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Aurora 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed many aspects of this book. It was refreshing to read a hard science fiction novel that explored science & humanity without blatantly reading like a screenplay. Though I did find parts of it a little too repetitive. I loved the questions it explored and the questions it posed.
Anonymous 8 months ago
If you are interested in science fiction,as opposed to fantasy, ignore the bad reviews from some readers and google reviews from Scientific American, The Guardian, SFFWORLD, etc. Then buy this book. This is classic hard scifi that explores the logical and ethical implications of our technology and our ability to organize ouselves (our social technology) in light the diversity of human nature...but as with all of KSR's best work, he sets these explorations in the form of an exciting story about an engaging and recognizably human (sometimes, all too human) cast of characters. The Mars Trilogy might always be my favorite KSR story, but Aurora is its equal in literary terms.
catburglar More than 1 year ago
Long and boring. Genre: space adventure, growing up saga Narrated in third person, present tense. Much of the story seems like an extensive brain dump of the author. The ship’s narrative is a cheap way to tell the story, rather than show it. It is also a cheap way for Robinson to dump his understanding of quantum mechanics, mathematics, statistics, computer science, genetics and creative writing techniques. The romance seems contrived and shallow. The story is too much like Rite of Passage, by Alexei Panshin. The City and the Stars, p.75, ¶7; p.290, ¶8, is the name of a novel by Arthur C. Clarke. The Ship’s AI taking control is reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, p.225. “The kindness of strangers” is from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (p.260, ¶3). “Wherever you go, there we are” is paraphrased from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (p.264, ¶14). “Space elevators” were used in Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (p.361, ¶7). “Thinking outside the box” is still used in 2545. By 2545, humanity still has no better treatment for lymphoma than chemotherapy (p.101, ¶5). Nematode invasion caused reduced growth . . . , p.289, ¶2. Have the Ship designers never heard of marigolds? But the next week, a pair of teenagers broke the lock code . . . , p.294, ¶11. This smacks of Deus ex machina. Robinson overuses the word “etiology.” Poetry throughout the story seems completely irrelevant to the plot. The final chapter seemed almost completely pointless. The material about beaches near the end seems completely irrelevant to the plot.
ScifiandScary More than 1 year ago
This was an intense read. Not in terms of feelings, but it needed intense concentration to read it. You were either completely immersed, or you were skimming because the technical terms short-circuited your brain. For the most part, I was completely immersed, but I’ll confess, there were a few pages that got skimmed simply because I got lost trying to keep track of all the information that was being dumped on me. There was a ton of stuff that happened, but given the narrator, it actually felt like it moved slowly. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you looked at it. You really have to adjust your timescale for Aurora. Things don’t happen in minutes. They happen in years, decades, generations, et cetera. I’ve read reviews that stated that the narrator (and I’m trying my best to not give away the narrator) made the story be less story-like, and more hard-science info dumping. Yes/No. I’ve already admitted there were massive info-dumps, but the thing is.. the story was still fascinating. Its true that there wasn’t a huge emphasis on direct personal relationships. You couldn’t really connect with any of the characters in general, and while that would normally be a problem for me when reading… it was not a problem with this book. Because you aren’t meant to connect to any specific character, but to humanity as a whole. Pretty much the only things I was dissatisfied with were: the info-dumps were sometimes a little too long, the middle bogged down a bit, and …of course… the ending. I was only mildly drawn in by the last section. Be careful picking up this book. Its immensely satisfying, but… if you thought The Martian had too much science, you will hate Aurora. Overall, I can’t rave excitedly about this book, or even say I’d recommend it to anyone who is not a huge fan of hard science fiction, but … it is a great read. A solid, satisfying one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, even as I couldn’t wait to actually be finished with it. I guess Aurora definitely left me with some mixed feelings, but I know at a minimum that I liked it, and that I’m going to try out some more works of Kim Stanley Robinson in the future.
Majorcats More than 1 year ago
As much a book about an (maybe) AI musing about human failings and its own existence as about colonizing anything. Frankly a thoroughly depressing story which is not really what I am looking for. Nothing good happens in this story. Cannot recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And a lot off good ideas about human space exploration.