In '2140,' New York May Be Underwater, But It's Still Home

Kim Stanley Robinson envisions a future that's closer than we like to think in New York 2140. Sea levels 50 feet higher have swamped Manhattan, but there's a tiny thread of hope that we might float.

Early in New York 2140, two boys jump into their inflatable boat to begin the day's business, scavenging through the canals of a half-drowned New York. Since the weight of the engine threatens to sink the stern, the older boy sits up front to balance it out.

Much of Kim Stanley Robinson's significant body of work is built on small moments like these; beneath the vast to be both dramatically altered and still the biggest small town in the world. A coastal water level 50 feet higher than today has reshaped both the physical geography and the civic ecosystem, but Robinson aims to make it feel like home. Sure, millions of clams have to filter the water in the new Manhattan intertidal zone, but commuters also have to decide if walking the skybridges is going to be faster than waiting for a vaporetto.

You’re reading a preview, subscribe to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readCrime & Violence
How Does Trump's Trial End? It May Hinge On How Jurors Feel About Sex And Privacy
The Trump's Trials team breaks down why prosecutors have a timeline problem, what Michael Cohen's testimony so far has shown, and why it may all come down to a question of sex and privacy in the end.
NPR1 min read
Why Is Everyone Talking About Musk's Money?
We've lived amongst Elon Musk headlines for so long now that it's easy to forget just how much he sounds like a sci-fi character. He runs a space company and wants to colonize mars. He also runs a company that just implanted a computer chip into a hu
NPR1 min read
Church Pews and Bleachers
The 1940s are the heyday for Black baseball in Alabama, the peak of the Negro Leagues – starring a high schooler named Willie Mays. But when the Major Leagues integrate, Black teams everywhere start to fold.On this episode, host Roy Wood Jr. speaks w

Related Books & Audiobooks