New York 2140

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New York 2140
New York 2140.jpg
AuthorKim Stanley Robinson
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages624 pages

New York 2140 is a 2017 climate fiction novel by American science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. The novel is set in a New York City that has been flooded and altered by rising water. The novel received generally positive reviews.


The novel is mostly set in a fictional future New York City, which has been flooded by two major rises in seawater levels caused by climate change.[1] Most of New York City is permanently underwater, however, people still live in the upper floors of the buildings, much like in the Venice of today.

Most of Manhattan below 46th Street is flooded, and has earned the nickname "SuperVenice". Several of the book's characters live in the MetLife Tower on 23rd Street, which the tenant association has outfitted with flood-prevention mechanisms and boat storage. Robinson chose to prominently feature the building as it was designed to resemble the St Mark's Campanile in Venice.[2]

The wealthy live in newly constructed skyscrapers in Uptown Manhattan and near The Cloisters, as both locations remain above water. Denver has replaced New York as the center of American finance and culture, and much of the United States has been deliberately abandoned by humans in order to make room for wildlife. Robinson has previously addressed sea level rise directly and indirectly in his works Aurora and the Mars trilogy.[3]

Scientific accuracy[edit]

The book is set in a New York City suffering from a 50-foot rise in seawater. However, scientists suggest a rise between 3 and 15 feet (0.9 and 5 m) is more likely by 2140.[4][5] A rise on that scale would likely mean that some portions of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens would be flooded, but not to the extent as featured in the novel.[5] According to Robinson, he set the novel in 2140, as he wanted the setting to be recognizable, while the sea-level rise in the novel was possible but "extreme".[2]


The novel is critical of capitalism, unregulated financial systems, and market economies.[6] Many of the citizens of the city live in communes and rely on organizations that pool resources, while the wealthy live in former office buildings and newly-built skyscrapers above 125th Street and in Yonkers.


According to the literary criticism aggregator Literary Hub, critics gave the novel generally positive reviews.[7] Gerry Canavan, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, referred to the novel as a further step in Robinson's "[...] construction of a huge metatextual history of the future...distributed across overlapping but distinct and mutually irreconcilable texts".[3]


  1. ^ Valentine, Genevieve (19 March 2017). "In '2140,' New York May Be Underwater, But It's Still Home". NPR. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Swearingen, Jake (27 March 2017). "Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140: To Save the City, We Had to Drown It". NYMag. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b Canavan, Gerry (11 March 2017). "Utopia in the Time of Trump". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  4. ^ Kopp, Robert (12 March 2017). "New York 2140: A novelist's vision of a drowned city that still never sleeps". Salon. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Rutkoff, Aaron (8 March 2017). "Only Sci-Fi Can Drown Manhattan and Make You Want to Live There". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  6. ^ Rothman, Joshua (27 April 2017). "Kim Stanley Robinson's Latest Novel Imagines Life in an Underwater New York". The New Yorker. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  7. ^ "New York 2140". Literary Hub. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.

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