Kim Stanley Robinson is at his visionary best in this gripping cautionary tale of progress and its price as our world faces catastrophic climate change – the sequel to Forty Signs of Rain.
Frank Vanderwal of the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC has been living a paleolithic lifestyle in a tree house in Rock Creek Park ever since a big flood of the Potomac destroyed his apartment block. The flood was just the beginning. It heralded a lot of bad-weather news. Now the Gulf Stream has shut down and the Antarctic ice sheet is melting.
The good news is that Frank is part of an international effort by the National Science Foundation to restabilize Earth's climate. He understands the necessity for out-of-the-box thinking and he refuses to feel helpless before the indifference of the politicians and capitalists who run America.
The bad news is that Frank has fallen in love – with a woman who is not who she seems. He discovers that their first meeting was no accident: he was on a list all along! Her ulterior motive is political and she expects Frank to spy for her. And thus Frank is drawn into the world of Homeland Security, and other, blacker Washington security agencies as the presidential election year heats up.
Then suddenly it's winter …It's winter like the ice age, fifty degrees below. As hellish conditions disrupt the lives of even the most important people, there is a convergence of meteorological and human events with Frank at the centre – catastrophe is in the air. This unforgettable story from the master of alternate and future history brings tomorrow into new focus with startling effect.
‘One of the finest working novelists in any genre’
'If I had to choose one writer whose work will set the standard for science fiction in the future, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’
NEW YORK TIMES
Praise for the Science in the Capital series:
‘The BRAVE NEW WORLD of global warming … A narrative that is rich in closely observed characters and a wonderfully vivid sense of place … depicts a society sleep-walking towards the abyss’
‘A funny, convincing, intelligent book’
‘Finely written and persuasively paints what may be – if climate change happens the way so many scientists fear’
About the author
Kim Stanley Robinson was born in 1952 and, after travelling and working around the world, has now
settled in his beloved California. He is widely regarded as the finest science fiction writer working today, noted as much for the verisimilitude of his characters as the meticulously researched hard science basis of his work. He has won just about every major sf award there is to win and is the author of the massively successful and lavishly praised Mars series.
Earth continues its relentless plunge toward environmental collapse in Robinson's well-done if intensely didactic follow-up to Forty Signs of Rain (2004). As a result of global warming, the Gulf Stream has stalled, and when winter comes, impossibly frigid temperatures hit the Eastern Seaboard and Western Europe. As people starve, multinational corporations explore ways of making a profit from the disaster. When Antarctica's ice shelves collapse, low-lying island nations quite literally slip beneath the rising waters. In Washington, D.C., clear-sighted scientists must overcome government inertia and stupidity to put into effect policies that may begin to salvage the situation. An enormous fleet of ships is dispatched to the North Atlantic to dump millions of tons of salt into the ocean in the hope of restarting the Gulf Stream. This ecological disaster tale is guaranteed to anger political and economic conservatives of every stripe, but it provides perhaps the most realistic portrayal ever created of the environmental changes that are already occurring on our planet. It should be required reading for anyone concerned about our world's future.