bookspacePhoto of readermy comments
 home > bookspace > my comments > comment: the years of rice and salt /
Subscribe via RSS 
The years of rice and salt
Kim Stanley Robinson
Adult Fiction ROBINSON

Comments  Summary  Excerpt  Reviews  Author Notes

From Publishers' Weekly:

Having revolutionized the novel of planetary exploration with his Nebula- and Hugo-winning Mars trilogy (Red Mars, etc.), Robinson is attempting to do the same to another genre with this highly realistic and credible alternate history. It's the 14th century, and the Black Death has swept through Europe, killing not 30% or 40% of the population but 99%. With Europeans now no more than a historical curiosity, the empires of China and Islam spread rapidly across the world. India, caught between superpowers, struggles to maintain its independence until, fueled by a scientific renaissance, its forces besiege and conquer the great city that in our world would be called Constantinople. The New World is discovered by the Chinese, who rapidly settle the west coast, while an Islamic fleet lands at the mouth of the Mississippi. Eventually, the enlightened Indian nation of Travancore comes to the aid of the beleaguered native people of the New World. New technologies appear as the centuries go by and, as often as not, are applied to military ends. Adding a mystical balance and a human note to this counterfactual history is a small cast of recurring characters who live through each episode of the book as soldiers, slaves, philosophers and kings. Dying, they spend time in the afterlife, only to be reborn into the next era, generally with no knowledge of their past lives. Robinson, who has previously demonstrated his mastery of alternate history in the classic short story "The Lucky Strike" and his Three Californias sequence, has created a novel of ideas of the best sort, filled to overflowing with philosophy, theology and scientific theory. (Mar. 5) Forecast: The restrained jacket art, not at all typical of SF, suggests the publisher is aiming to attract intelligent mainstream readers as well. Certainly the depiction of how a moderate or even a liberal Islamic state might evolve couldn't be more timely. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A warrior with the army of Tamarlane turns his back on a plague-infested village in Eastern Europe, a Chinese widow rediscovers a new purpose in her life, and an alchemist risks his life and his reputation in the name of invention. These are just a few of the vignettes that propel this panoramic tale of soldiers, philosophers, emperors, and slaves caught up in a cycle of reincarnation and evolution. Beginning in an alternate 14th century in which the Black Death has wiped out European civilization and left the burden of human progress to the descendants of Islam and Buddhism, Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy, recycles characters and themes while exploring a world without the cornerstones of "Western" culture. Superb storytelling and imaginative historic speculation make this a standout novel and a priority choice for all sf and general fiction collections. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Be the first to add a comment! Share your thoughts about this title. Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

Question about returns, requests or other account details?
 Add a Comment
Submission Guidelines

Find this title in the Library Catalog
Find this title in the Library Catalog


more titles about

recent comments
hcl mobile app
hclib
mobile
app
Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Vimeo Flickr Federal Depository Library Federal
Depository
Library
Hennepin County Government Hennepin
County
Government
© 2014  Hennepin County Library12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305 Comments and Feedback    |    RSS