Review of KINDLE Ebook Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson #Brainfluffbookreview #Aurorabookreview


I loved Robinson’s Mars series and have also enjoyed some of his subsequent work, as he is an ambitious writer, willing to push the envelope in what he does – see my review of 2312.

BLURB: Our voyage from Earth began generations ago. Now, we approach our new home. AURORA.

And that’s it – the blurb. How refreshingly short and to the point… As you may have gathered, this is a generational ship adventure in the closing stages of its long, long journey. I was impressed at the strength of the characterisation of the main protagonist, Freya, who is the daughter of the main engineer striving to keep Aurora, their ship, in one piece long enough for the arrival at Tau Ceti. Roberson writes on the harder side of science fiction, so there is a fair amount of technical detail regarding keeping the ship and all the systems running. I found a lot of the problems thrown up by trying to keep a small biome running really fascinating – of course, this is fiction rather than science, but many of the issues Robinson raises did sound scarily plausible.

While many of the problems around a generational ship were interesting, I am always all about the story and that means characters. There have been times when I have found Robinson’s characterisation a little thinner than I would have liked. Not so here. I loved Freya and I thought his depiction of her development from a young girl, through the main relationships throughout her life, until she is facing the historic events around the arrival at Tau Ceti absolutely convincing.

The other strength in this narrative is the way the plot twists kept coming. I simply didn’t predict the way events unspooled on the arrival to their longed-for destination, and was unable to put the book down as I was utterly engrossed in finding out what would happen next. That is about all I’m going to say about the plot as I would hate to provide any spoilers – this is one that needs to be read with the minimum amount of foreknowledge. That strong narrative kept me turning the pages, so that I read faaar into the night.

Any niggles? Robinson is fond of slowing the pace right back down at times, and there were long – and I mean long – passages where he muses about the philosophy surrounding the ship’s consciousness, which I felt tipped into self-indulgence. However, it wasn’t a dealbreaker. There is so much in this book that I loved and I know that Aurora will stay in my head for a long time to come. Highly recommended for fans of excellent generational ship adventures.

10 responses »

  1. Ever since you had me read The Sparrow, one I would consider a “classic” in sci fi, I have read SOME space exploration books other than your Sunblinded series. I didn’t think “journey to and survival on Mars” was a good “fit” for me until I read and was enthralled by Sparrow. Did you tell me there was a sequel to it? This one today sounds like it might be one I would enjoy as well.

    • Is that the B.V. Larson Lost Colonies series featuring William Sparhawk? Battle Cruiser was first book, I think… And yes, it’s a trilogy – the next book is Dreadnought. If not, let me know and I’ll try to track it down.

      As for Aurora – yes… I would regard Robinson’s book as a classic. It hasn’t the same bouncy humour of Larsen, but he raises some really interesting points about generational ships and humanity’s role in space travel…

  2. Generation ships are one of my favorite themes in SF, and while I have been curious about this one I was also uncertain, considering that my experience with Red Mars had not been a great one. On one side, your comment about the author’s “self indulgence” and slow pace rekindled my doubts, but on the other one, your enthusiastic recommendation and your overall score for the book have encouraged me to give this one a chance.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

    • I think this one is more ‘user friendly’ than Red Mars. The characterisation is far stronger and the overall narrative arc moves forward with plenty of incident and purpose. I did get a tad fed up with the slow bits, but skimming them didn’t really affect my overall enjoyment of the story and Robinson certainly has some interesting things to say in this one…

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