Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson is a nominee for my Book of the Year 2016. And I almost did not read it.
Many years ago, Mr. Robinson wrote the Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars). They were fantastic. I read a few of his other books, which I enjoyed, but in 2013 I read his book 2312. It won the Nebula Award, so many many people really enjoyed that book. I will just say that I did not enjoy that book. I was really put off by it, and did not decide to read Aurora until almost seven months after its release.
The main factor for reading Aurora was Locus Magazine’s 2015 Year in Review issue. Multiple reviewers all said almost the same exact thing when writing about Aurora:
“It may be the science fiction book of the year!”
I have always trusted Locus Magazine and took a chance on Aurora. I am very glad I did. Aurora is about a generation space ship, near the end of its 170-plus year journey to another solar system. The story is told mostly through the eyes of one family and the ship’s AI (which works way better than I thought it would). Mr. Robinson captures the challenges of generational space travel, the ship needed to make the journey, and the conflicts that can arise.
In some ways Aurora reminds me of Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. However, other than some very high-level similarities (generation ships), they are very different books. If you read one you will not be disappointed if you read the other.
I highly recommend Aurora. I will also continue to read Mr. Robinson moving forward.