SFF

The Maiden Voyage of New York City

Brain Lag. May 2020. 344p. ISBN 9781928011316. pap. $15.99. SF
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[DEBUT] The melting polar ice caps and a series of devastating hurricanes have left New York City in the 22nd century underwater and sinking fast, until engineers develop motors to lift the city’s skyscrapers and create a floating city. Hailed as the “Manhattan Miracle,” these advances usher in a new wave of tourism and plenty, even while the remaining outer boroughs are cut off from the prosperity and riddled with crime. As the city’s mayor launches a bold plan to sell Manhattan’s floating (and movable) buildings to other cities made coastal from the rising water, a hidden criminal wreaks havoc in order to force a revolution. Putting aside the lingering questions about how massive buildings could be rooted from their foundations and still offer electricity, water, and sewage, then sail down the Atlantic, Girod’s debut (following several short stories and a self-published novella) still struggles.
VERDICT Noticeable continuity problems, awkward and often repetitive phrasing, and a large cast of characters muddy a story that can’t seem to decide if it is cli-fi or a futurist police thriller. Try Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 for a substantially more successful riff on the same theme.

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