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Publisher's Summary

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago. Now we approach our destination. A new home. Aurora.
Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, Aurora is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.
©2015 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 09-25-15

Best story and narration, I've heard in long while

I really loved this story about humans, our ambitions and frailties. Excellent and thought-provoking stuff :-)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Terence Blake on 07-29-15

NO STARSHIP, NO CRY

This is a very involving story, and very intelligent writing. The narrator is excellent, and makes the book even more enjoyable.

Supposedly “hard-science” sf: hard for the accurate description of the constraints of space travel, but it also contains "soft-science" elements that add a lot of interest to the story. Perhaps it should be called “speculative fiction” in the sense of half science fiction and half philo-fiction. I had never read any of Kim Stanley Robinson’s books before AURORA, and I think that it a good introduction to his work. I have now begun reading RED MARS and I am already coming across many of the same concepts that AURORA develops in more concentrated form. The range of knowledge mobilised in this novel is encyclopaedic, but I never found the story dull. I would distinguish the pace of the action, which was sometimes slow, from the pace of the invention (action, ideas, and style) which is always engrossing. So I found the novel enjoyable and thought-provoking, and never slow-moving.

The text is multi-layered: a hard science attempt to spell out concretely what voyage to a “nearby” solar system in a generational ship would be like; a more philosophical reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the self, and free will; an exploration of the human propensity for “living in ideas” and making bad choices based on fantasy or ideology, a deployment of biological and ecological science beyond the mere fascination with technological prowess; a vision of human thinking and behavior as determined by errors and biases that cognitive science is only now beginning to understand.

The whole story is a science-inspired deconstruction of the fantasy of traveling to the stars, by taking that fantasy literally. Yet the story is metaphorical too: the starship is a prison, and our own ideas are a prison. The novel seeks to establish that what Robinson calls the “technological sublime” does not take us outside of our (mental and physical) prison, but just transports it elsewhere. The whole book is a plea for the use of science as enrichment of our present life rather than as escapism, into some beyond.

Robinson wants to enlarge our scientific vision: he tries to be encyclopedic, and to break with the hegemony of physics and technology in our thinking and imagination. So he includes not just hard physics, but also biology, sociology, systems thinking, philosophy of mind and of language, and cognitive science. Factoring in these considerations gives a very different approach to the generational starship than was customary in classical, physics-obsessed science fiction. This makes the book a stimulating and powerful read.

However, in AURORA politics suffers, as it is subordinated to Robinson’s reflections on biology and cognitive science. This scientistic explanation of human behaviour generates what some people decry as the “pessimism” or the "conservatism" of the vision embodied in the book. I do not think that this vision is pessimistic or conservative. Technological realism is not pessimism, even if it obliges us to relinquish a fantasy we cherish. Ecological responsibility is not conservatism, even if it obliges us to evaluate actions in terms of sustainability. Ultimately the book does not reduce, but enlarges and enriches.

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Customer Reviews

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2 out of 5 stars
By ikd on 08-28-16

Despite great ideas, terribly, terribly boring

This is not an engaging or compelling book. Despite a richness of ideas and observations, the writing style is genuinely dull and boring and the very simple plot is sounds on and on and on, with little or nothing actually happening. I doubt I'd have finished this if it hadn't been an audio book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Rhiannon on 08-04-16

A very long journey

Would you listen to Aurora again? Why?

It's not necessarily the sort of thing you listen to more than once but I still enjoyed it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Aurora?

No spoilers!

Would you listen to another book narrated by Ali Ahn?

Wasn't the best narrator but could have been worse.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's quite a slow one but it gets quite dramatic in the middle so I suppose that bit? And I guess the question of 'where is home?' is generally an emotive one.

Any additional comments?

It's quite slow-moving and I wasn't necessarily convinced by the speeches the ship makes about narratives etc. - felt a bit like the author was trying to force the work to be more meta/more 'literary' than it needed to be. I appreciated the attempts to create a coherent universe and to describe all the systems in it. I didn't totally love any of the characters, but there was a loving attention to detail in the descriptions of the many problems faced in settling a new planet that made me feel like I was experiencing the journey along with them. Wouldn't place amongst one of my favourite books but it's definitely worth a read if you're interested in the more mundane aspects of long-distance space travel.

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Billy T on 08-20-16

Genius

Another pen stroke of genius by Kim Stanley Robinson. Evocative imagery, intricate science and beautiful composition.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Ms Sharon Cosgrove on 08-03-16

Overly indulgent

I enjoy a detailed story but a lot of this felt like I was listening to a text book.

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