The Years Of Rice And Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
I’d been eying this Kim Stanley Robinson novel for quite awhile because I love love loved the Red Mars trilogy. Unfortunately, while I am totally into Mars, I just don’t know enough about history to fully enjoy this book. I didn’t even know what the helpful sidenotes and footnotes were referring to most of the time.
It was entertaining enough, like a foreign movie you’re enjoying but aren’t quite sure you’ve grasped the subtleties of. It was neat seeing how other cultures might have made scientific discoveries in alternate timelines where Buddhism and Islam were the most influential and practiced religions, and Christianity was merely a footnote.
I also don’t usually like prose/poems in novels, and unfortunately this was no exception (Cat’s Cradle, now there’s an exception). I think I’m going to pass my copy of The Years Of Rice And Salt on to the donation bin.
It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur – the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe’s population was destroyed. But what if the plague had killed 90 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been – one that stretches across centuries, sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, and spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation.