Kim Stanley Robinson’s Years of Rice And Salt is a speculative history based on the concept that 99.99% of Europe’s population was lost during the Black Death. A series of short stories spanning several hundreds years are linked by the fact that all the characters are reincarnations of the same souls though out. So whilst world history progresses without Western culture, we also see the development of complex interpersonal relationships whilst the characters change age, sex, race and in one case species.
Because of the linking of characters this isn’t an easy read, rarely does the author actually tell you which characters are which, though clues are given in the first initials of names. It’s mostly left to the reader to work out by personality. The book also requires the reader to be willing to read about a variety of other cultures and to have a basic understand of history in order to understand the differences with reality. All the effort is more than rewarded with the scenes set in the various afterlifes, I could happy read those over and over.
Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 8 – Track For Dancing To Sleazily