My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An epic slice-of-life story. Is that too big of a contradiction? It’s a behemoth and I don’t think it really needs to be. I feel like I still would have caught his vision and adequately understood all of the relevant points with about 200 fewer pages.
The future vision of New York is really cool, especially because it’s so much more recognizable and believable than 90% of dystopian/cli-fi/whatever novels that take place in the future. There are many similar books with much more ridiculous representations of the future that are praised for their plausibility, and maybe I’m naive but I read them and think “nope.” This, though. This is inevitable.
That aspect is the main thing to love. It’s interesting getting to see the plain old day-to-day of some different residents, but the characterizations themselves are never better than decent. The plot isn’t a plot so much as a random smattering of glimpses into the lives of the characters and Robinson sufficiently lecturing us on his political views. An impressive book, but in an intellectual way, not so much an enjoyable one.
The audio version with a full cast is very well done and worth trying if this sounds like the kind of book you’ll be able to pay attention to. Alas, I could not. Tried it, gave up for a year, came back and finished it in print.