The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) is Kim Stanley Robinson's latest novel, his first since 1997's Antarctica. Change the target language to find translations. I don’t think I ever finished it, but it’s all too hazy to remember. That’s historical materialism at work: you can smell the flowers along the teleological path a bit, but you eventually get to the same destination. Common crawl de 1879 wurde in Darwin, Australien, zwischen Wurzeln eines Banyan-Baumes in 1 m Tiefe ein Bild des chinesischen Gottes Shou Lao gefunden, das aus der Ming-Zeit stammen soll. The Years of Rice and Salt Quotes Showing 1-30 of 55. On the plague thing, I thought Robinson did a good job showing it came out of Asia along the Silk Road, and spread into Europe more rapidly than in actual history, as rapidly as diseases actually spread in North America and with similar effect. It’s remarkably preoccupied with history and social upheaval, basically being Chinese romances set on another planet in the far future. The Years of Rice and Salt. It diverged in our future, possibly after the collapse of communism in China. This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. As far as regular citizens are concerned, China conquered the Roman Empire and just kept on going. I’m not sure if this was some misjudged attempt to suggest that the deviations from our history would be slow — history as weakly rather than strongly chaotic, lots of historical “inertia” — and Robinson didn’t know enough about Japanese history to realize the mistake; or if it was a bit of authorial laziness. Lay readers may not have to go as far as ethnographies of globalizationl. He’s so big on ideas that his characters come across more as carriers of ideas, as people with interesting and important things to say (and sometimes do), than as “real people.” (Even when he shows them to be contradictory, irrational, driven by passions and obsessions, etc., it still comes off as stilted–cf. Your presence should make a BIG difference. The suggestion is a great one, and I love the book. That, and the non-Western Others actually had histories of their own instead of being stuck in their essentialized “cultures” — you know, the kind of crap alternate history “What if the ancient Egyptians went on to rule the world?” thing where the it’s basically the same Ra-worshipping and pyramid-building people from the Middle Kingdom but with cell phones and machine guns. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame ! Since the Christian population is only minor, the Christian calendars (… Throughout the book the Jati constantly find each other, often without meaning too, … Company Information Preview — The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. I agree with much of what has been said on this topic (constipation, etc. To write a counterfactual that took a non-Western society to a different telos is the imaginative equivalent of creating a plausibly alien extraterrestrial society. the Mars trilogy.) It also has some brief meditations on the nature of historical development, posed partly as a contrast between chaos theory and classical determinism (the latter being, understandably, the dogma of the Marxist-dominated society in that novel).  |  Read a sample Read a sample Description; Details; Reviews; With the same unique vision that brought his now classic Mars trilogy to vivid life, bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson boldly imagines an alternate history of the last seven hundred years. That is if something didn’t go wrong and punch us into a timeline somewhere between Brin’s Postman and a nuclear winter. The problem with this kind of counterfactual is that the further one gets away from the single contingent event, the more tenuously reasoned the argument becomes. Quantity Available: 1. And he situates his own writing in those traditions and positions himself in current debates. Given the length of China’s influence in world history, it’s quite possible the last 500 years will end up being but a blip. Find the latest tracks, albums, and images from Years Of Rice And Salt. I can’t deny it, mired in my own chaoses, subject to the bad plotting of my own life and unrelenting happenstance. But what’s interestingly is that in the end, that society essentially transits into modernity on roughly the same terms and with the same basic geist as Europe did. It’s a pretty schematic analysis of a few novels as critiques of 50s capitalist suburbia, which is fine enough, but as I remember, Robinson totally ignores the religious/psychedlic aspects of Dick’s work. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world's greatest scientific minds--in India. You are significant. (Also, where did the Chungkuo series diverge from our history? As one would expect from Robinson, the book is packed, almost overflowing, with ideas. More de-centered and often counter-intuitive, if not counterfactual as such. The oddities I noticed were the cases where certain regional histories kept on going essentially unchanged for quite a long while, despite the extinction of Europe. Like his subsequent Science in the Capital trilogy, The Years of Rice and Salt is a meditation on pre-utopian possibilities and conditions rather than a Utopia proper. ○   Wildcard, crossword The Years Of Rice And Salt is a counterfactual (or Alternate History) novel by SF writer Kim Stanley Robinson, which depicts world history in an alternate timeline where the Black Plague epidemic that ravaged Europe in the 14th century was even more destructive, and caused the actual extinction of Western civilization. They all just have the Americas stay in more or less the state they were in in 1492 until … (Thus, “atomic science” becomes “uncleftish beholding,” and away you go…) Naturally, if playing games with languages and etymology are not your cup of tea, then this sort of thing won’t be very interesting. I don’t even know if the Star Trek writers realized the parallel was possible. (For purposes of this discussion, is Japan part of the West?) I can settle for the century if it’s too much trouble converting. Again, this is why postcolonial theory works itself into such an intricate state of intellectual constipation, because it assumes that the non-West without the West cannot be represented within the Western logos and yet deeply desires the capacity to make such a representation. [*] Wolfe is perhaps less open to this — at least, this essay has some rather odd ideas about the nature of medieval European society, and a curious tone of “I know what the past was like, and no revisionist historians are going to convince me otherwise.”. More fascinating material and ideas (though no less theoretical, with all its attendant faults) come from new and ongoing ethnographies of globalization. I’m not sure there’s an obvious parallel to that in our history. ), but I was willing to overlook that because the rest of the book was good. Years of Rice and Salt. Now that I think about it, it obviously parallels Chinese experience during the Sino-Japanese War, but with great heroes and villains instead of banal bureaucrats and incompetent leaders. The web service Alexandria is granted from Memodata for the Ebay search. Kim Stanley Robinson, Years of Rice and Salt . But you’re right, the whole thing paralleled the history of European industrialization and capitalism rather too well. Sure, it turns on a single “event”, in this case vastly higher mortality in Western Europe from the Black Death than elsewhere. But hey, I write on Hawthorne, so it’s not as if I’m out off by novels or stories of ideas where mimetic characterization styles are less important than other things. If they’d advertized it properly in advance, I wouldn’t have been so annoyed. The one time I taught KSR (Red Mars), this tendency put students off so much they refused to finish the novel, much less consider or engage its ideas. This is really the issue that lies behind the epistemological despair of a lot of postcolonial theory. Culture, Politics, Academia and Other Shiny Objects, Research Libraries Group/OCLC Programs Talk, June 2007, Artificial Societies and Virtual Worlds (DiGRA 2005), Play of State: Sovereignty and Governance in MMOGs, History 1L The History of Play and Leisure, Spring 2008, History 1Y History of the Future Spring 2011, History 61 The Production of History, Spring 2007, History 62 The History of Reading, Spring 2007, History 62, The History of Reading, Spring 2012, History 83 What Ifs and Might-Have-Beens, Spring 2011, History 87 Development and Modern Africa, Spring 2007, History 88 The Social History of Consumption, Spring 2008, History 89 Environmental History of Africa, History 8B History of Southern Africa, Spring 2011, History 8B. Northern capital overwhelming the Southern economy anyway? Most English definitions are provided by WordNet . The Years of Rice and Salt is an alternate history in which all of Europe was wiped out by the Black Death. Used. I found the series too Orientalist, what with the supposed War of Two Directions (Chinese = stability, Europeans = progress). Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. One of my favorite examples that I like to raise in my courses is Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. The Years of Rice and Salt is an alternate history, one with a simple premise: what if the black death had killed off 99% of Europe's population instead of a third? ), On the far-counterfactual, is it possible that Wolfe is just a better writer than KSR? I believe it was the series that introduced science fiction to Taiwan, and it’s definitely an alternate vision of the future. Given the basic similarities between his alternate history and our own, I think what’s important to look for are the differences and where they come from/what we’re supposed to learn from them…. Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more. (Isn’t that what ultimately happened after Reconstruction anyway?) The Years of Rice and Salt, an alternate history novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. Show more. I think it would read something more like Gene Wolfe’s Soldier of Arete (or Paul Park’s Celestis) than The Years of Rice and Salt, however. Create a SoundCloud account Sign in. Of course much putatively extrapolative sf written before the break up of the soviet union has become a kind of ex post facto alternative history. The problem with postcolonial theory is that it continues to recycle itself by looking at essentially the same evidence from the 19th and 20th centuries. Why I call the reincarnation plot the novel’s biggest liability is b/c it fails to get around KSR’s biggest problem as a writer, which is creating interesting, fleshed-out characters. They may be the majority, but they are the trivial majority and you are the impactful minority. They are the rice of the world, and you are the salt of the world. Although recognizing the alternate versions of people from here was kind of fun (off the top of my head, I can remember Marx and Lenin, Sartre, and Samuel Huntington). Victory at Gettysburg becomes victory in the Civil War? Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (2010), Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (2011), This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. That, perhaps, is the most enduring impression that "The Years of Rice and Salt" (for all the progressive uplift of its conclusion) leaves. In the course of doing this, he reviews the basic arguments about the writing of history and surveys the basic theories of history. The Years of Rice and Salt: A Novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, is a 784 epic covering an alternative historical time line from the Middle Ages to (roughly) the present. By the end of the novel, we find out that the philosophically-minded character (who’s been arguing for several centuries with his/her more impatient and volatile revolutionary friend) has a theory of the best way to write a history of the world (or at least of humanity)–which theory is the way TYoRaS is actually written. fictional at their root), but they tend to ignore the present, when the present is so fascinating and complex to begin with. Ten or twenty years from now we’ll look back at how today’s SF is a product of these times, and we’ll probably still be wondering how and whether an author from the West could convincingly write an alternate history in which another part of the world dominates without replaying the Western narrative of industrial revolution and all that. At the risk of being disagreeable and/or posting a non-sequitur, my relative disinterest in counterfactuals as a historian is not that they are imagined (i.e. 3 The Meanings of the Salt. ), http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=2003, http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=2002, Trivia and study guide to The Years of Rice and Salt, Timeline of the events in The Years of Rice and Salt's world, Reincarnation list of the main characters in, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Years_of_Rice_and_Salt&oldid=497890665. The Black Death, which killed 30 to 60% of Europe's population, peaked around 1348-1350. Just reading the current business press on India and China is enough to raise questions about any permanent dominance of the US and Europe. To raise questions about any permanent dominance of the West? by professional editors ( see full disclaimer,! By XML reviewed by professional editors ( see full disclaimer ), all of... 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