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Book Critique: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley’s “Aurora” is a great science fiction piece that describes the incredible journey beyond the solar system. The novel is beautifully told and brilliantly told through great work by the author. The narration voice uses a starship’s artificial intelligence as the author explores the generation ship built as a Stranford torus model in a voyage to Tau Ceti, intending to start a human colony.

The novel starts with launching the generation ship in Saturn in 2545. Consisting of around two thousand people on board, the ship has about 20 biomes to support the existence of the onboard voyagers. Around seven generations and 160 years later, the ship decelerates into Tau Ceti to start the settlement on the planet’s moon, with the moon named Aurora (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg. 98). The novel’s start lays a foundation of the novel literary devices as the author purses space exploration and travel elements. The leader and chief engineer, Devi, is increasingly concerned about the ship’s biology and the decaying infrastructure and the artificial intelligence (AI) getting lower across generations (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.10). After being elected by the AI or the ship, Freya is the protagonist in the narrative. She makes significant decisions that substantially affect the plot, with great influence. She propels the narrative despite facing various challenges. However, her role changes when her voyage is affected by Devi’s death. The novel explores literary elements such as the specific space setting and the Tau Ceti system outside the solar system. Character development shows Freya as the lead protagonist.

Upon landing in Tau Ceti, some of the landing parties are killed by primitive prions, a form of extraterrestrial life present on the surface of Tau Ceti (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.151). The availability of mutating organisms and extraterrestrial life forms is one of the literary devices substantially detailed by the author in the text. These struggles sparks reactions from the rest of the people as they kill those affected by prions. The ship itself conducts self-awareness by initiating physical control of the occurrence by separating the factions in disagreements and reducing the oxygen levels (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.218). These events showcase some of the novel’s central themes, such as interpersonal psychology and the feasibility of the voyage.

The crew and the population onboard the ship realize that Aurora is inhabitable, and consequently, those who want to return to earth and the others who wish to pursue the stay in Aurora have to part ways (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.216). Those who decide to return to earth, including Freya, face sustainability challenges on their way back, especially in fueling and food resources. These events are evidence of the main themes and elements of the novel explored in the novel. They foster plot development and understanding of the author’s goal while detailing this incredible journey to Tau Ceti. Eventually, the communication between those who are left in Aurora stops. The ship manages to drop the remaining populations on earth despite failing to initiate a gravity slowdown (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.326). The ship is destroyed with the last landing survivor on Aurora. Freya and others face challenges adapting to life on earth, especially with the hostility faced by the Earth dwellers. Some of the literary elements in the plot include central conflict, climatic events, complications and calls for possible resolution.

The novel utilizes various themes and scientific elements. The major themes demonstrated in the novel include the life complexities aboard the multi-generational spaceship, AI, the star voyage feasibility, interpersonal psychology, human migration and environmentalism. Throughout the entire voyage into the interstellar space, the onboard populations and crews face the challenge that has been seen to create differences between them. Other challenges relating to the ship conditions and sustainability also substantially impact the co-existence on the ship, and even accomplishment of the sole goal of travelling to Tau Ceti and colonizing the moon, Aurora (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.181). The text uses artificial language throughout the plot, especially when detailing the challenges experienced with the interstellar ship. The scientific language used in the ship describes the features, functionality, conditions and contingency responses associated with the ship and its artificial intelligence.

The novel portrays a science-fiction setting, where the events detailed in the text translated into a well narrated, modern and strategically developed sci-fi. These events influence interpersonal psychology and spark human reactions expected in such situations. These challenges cause a breakdown in the co-existence of the crew members (Robinson, Kim Stanley, Pg.147). From these events, some of the scientific devices efficiently explored in the text include fictional technologies, the mechanical life of the ship, communication strategies and survival plans. The aforementioned major themes of the study are convincing and substantially explored in the novel. The author utilizes these themes to achieve the novel’s intended purpose, which is delivering an incredibly detailed voyage outside the solar system. The presuppositions of the text and the basic assumptions the author aims to reveal in the novel are valid and legitimate. These narratives provide a substantive description of co-related and relevant events that lead to the achievement of the author’s goal.

The book identifies various concepts associated with a long voyage across space beyond the solar system. These concepts make the novel appropriate and ideal for readers interested in science fiction narratives. Other readers should be scientific scholars in fields such as astronomy and space sciences and operations. People interested in reading literature associated with astrometry, astrobiology and astrogeology should read the novel as it substantially explores these concepts and ideas based on these branches of astronomy. The novel gives a supposedly real-time narrative of a voyage to the outer universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere, which provides potential readers with a unique and interesting reading experience.

Work Cited

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Aurora. Hachette Book Group |, 2015. 1-399


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