Red Moon is a novel full of fascinating ideas that never come together

Kim Stanley Robinson is known for his heady and thought-provoking science fiction novels. Aurora turned the concept of a generation ship on its head, following a decrepit interstellar ship sailing for a moon in the Tau Ceti system, while New York 2140 examines the economics of climate change. His latest, Red Moon, is set within spitting distance of today, envisioning the power struggle between an ascendant China and a declining United States. While it’s chock-full of ideas, it’s an underwhelming read compared to his recent stories.

China’s rise as a major power has become a curious focus for science fiction in recent years. This isn’t even the first book depicting lunar clashes between China and the US this year — David Pedreira’s novel…

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