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The Years of Rice and Salt

A book by Kim Stanley Robinson

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My favorite of K.S. Robinson's books

  • Feb 24, 2011
The use of the Tibetan Buddhist idea of reincarnation as a metaphor for human civilizations' evolution and striving for 'enlightenment'/'utopia' is brilliant and moving. Sadly, I have read this book only once, but I loved every second of the experience. The tiger reincarnation chapter was especially cool.

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More The Years of Rice and Salt reviews
review by . February 20, 2011
posted in SF Signal
   Back in the 13th and 14th centuries, Europe was moving toward the High Middle Ages. The italianate city states were just starting their roads to power. Byzantium had reached a new apogee under Basil II. The christian kingdoms of Spain were starting their long Reconquista. Europe was still a backwater compared to most of the rest of the world, but the seeds for greatness were there. In our history, the Black Death, the plague that spread through Europe in that era was a calamity, killing …
review by . November 21, 2002
KSR presents people grappling with the big questions over millennia, while integrating into his plot an impressive range of insights from religious, cultural, political, and social history. Happening upon this work in the midst of studying Islam, it arrived at a perfect moment for me. KSR blends an astonishing amount of scholarship into his story but stays for the most part with how ideas have an impact upon the individual as well as the group. Trading off between earthly reincarnations of the "jati" …
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About this book


Award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson delivers a thoughtful and powerful examination of cultures and the people who shape them. How might human history be different if 14th-century Europe was utterly wiped out by plague, and Islamic and Buddhist societies emerged as the world's dominant religious and political forces?The Years of Rice and Saltconsiders this question through the stories of individuals who experience and influence various crucial periods in the seven centuries that follow. The credible alternate history that Robinson constructs becomes the framework for a tapestry of ideas about philosophy, science, theology, and politics.

At the heart of the story are fundamental questions: what is the purpose of life and death? Are we eternal? Do our choices matter? The particular achievement of this book is that it weaves these threads into a story that is both intellectually and emotionally engaging. This is a highly recommended, challenging, and ambitious work. --Roz Genessee

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ISBN-10: 0553109200
ISBN-13: 978-0553109207
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Bantam
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