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3.5 out of 5 stars
Sixty Days and Counting
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2007
Talk about catching the wave! There is an almost eerie sensation as you read this book, as day to day news headlines reflect the authors obvious bang up to date knowledge of abrupt climate change ..bit scary actually. As ever KSR is a great literary writer, populating his ( science ) fictions with believable people and real places and institution's, at times it almost felt real. You do leave off worrying some about your carbon foot print! For some readers the thriller element will be lacking a bit especially those expecting a Michael Crichton or a Dan brown ( he is far far better than those two ) but this is great climax to a trilogy of novels and a highly recommended science thriller.
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on 7 April 2015
If only. If only I weren't catching up with this trilogy seven years after publication. If only the week I read this book these things had not come to pass:

- Super Typhoon Maysak set new records for, amongst other things, storm strength and Cat5 frequency.
- California entered the fourth year of its worst drought for a millennia.
- A global warming denier announced his US Presidential candidacy.
- The Sierra Nevada snowpack hit historic lows.
- BP published its annual Energy Outlook and concluded we are heading for 6 degree C global warming - a catastrophic level - but said nothing about how it could be alleviated. I wonder why?
- The government of Australia - one of the worst greenhouse gas producers - refused to change its ostrich-like stance on global warming.

And so on... It could be any week, of any month, of any year since this book was published.

Published between 2004-2007, these books now read like an alternative history of the last decade, one in which the challenge of global warming was taken seriously and acted upon by politicians. If only. The science described is often complex and KSR does a great job in explaining it. I never imagined I'd see the Kuhnian paradigm used in a science thriller. Bravo. True, a repetition of the Younger Dryas event has come to pass but that's because the dynamics of the Gulf Stream are a little more convoluted than was understood when these books were written. It may still occur but is, almost certainly, not as easily remedied as in this trilogy. Much else he writes about has happened: the shift of the Jet Stream, colder winters, hotter summers, record global temperatures etc., etc.

KSR attempts to weave multiple story lines together but never quite seems to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Well-written and characterised, I was absorbed by this book but left, ultimately, a little disappointed.

If only.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2007
...until I could get my hands on the final book of this excellent trilogy.
Mixing hard science with optimism and humour Kim Stanley Robinson has created a thoroughly enjoyable book series.

I have found that the true joy is in observing how the different characters view the patterns of the world. The small moments are every bit as pleasing as the large.

In relation to the large, whats more pertinent that climate change given the recent flooding in the UK.

If you enjoyed the first two books, this one is obviously a must-buy.
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on 4 November 2008
This volume follows on nicely from the events in 'Forty Signs of Rain' and 'Fifty Degrees Below'. It deals with the in-fighting in DC, following the new President Chase as he races to undo the damage wrought by decades of an uncaring, polluting White House. The only downside was the excessive attention paid to Frank's burgeoning relationship - I read the book for the politics and world-making, not for the romance. Still, a good book in the series - looking forward to the next one!
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on 19 September 2013
This is the third in a very interesting " what if" story. I love the characters, full of personality. The story could happen.
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on 26 August 2015
Nice conclusion to the series, but still as slow to read as all the others
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2009
Robinson's books have always had strong ecological themes, and this, the final volume of his look at the global warming crisis, is no exception. Unlike so many other books that try and delve in this area, Robinson provides not only a look at what we might expect to happen to our world if our current production and consumption habits don't change, but what we can reasonably do about it.

This is, in fact, the strong point of this work, as Robinson envisions both a group of dedicated scientists who actively try to handle a myriad of different types of technological fixes and a newly elected President who gives far more than lip service to their plans. Many of the things Robinson describes here are both good science and show a good grasp of what is possible in the world of politics when the voting population can actually see and feel the detrimental effects (most of this was detailed in the prior two books). The economic costs of massive programs of this nature (such as pumping huge quantities of seawater into basins and back to the top of the eastern Antarctic) are not ignored, either, though I did feel that expecting a massive shift of dollars from military defense to ecological programs was expecting a little too much.

Unfortunately, the novel that above is wrapped in isn't much of a novel. We are presented with the continuing story of Frank in search of his briefly met mysterious love while still trying to live a feral life inside the city confines, and Charlie and his concerns about his youngest son. The whole incident of the potential election-rigging that formed a prime part of the last book is still here, but muted and almost buried under a somewhat far-fetched attempt to find and root out the super-black intelligence agency responsible for the plan. Now there may be little doubt that there may be intelligence-gathering agencies that have too much unsupervised power, and that current laws do not do enough to safeguard individual's liberties and rights, but Robinson's depiction crosses the line into James Bondian fantasy. Robinson also lets his own political biases show far too much, at one point making an unqualified statement that the people in the current administration are criminals.

The trouble with all of this is there is very little action, and almost no suspense. Frank and Charlie's stories just don't have much emotional grabbing power, so that in the end I felt I was reading more of a treatise (even if a good, well reasoned, and scientifically sound one) than a novel. The other plot threads that were started in the first two books are given conclusions, but almost in a back-handed manner, and with far too much of `everything ends well'. What would have helped this book considerably would have been a look at the world and the political maneuvering from the eyes of Phil Chase, the new President, but we are only given short glimpses of this. By the end of the book, everything just kind of sputters out, leaving me quite disappointed. I expect much better from this author.

--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2012
Have'nt read it yet as I am reading anoher book purchased from you but the first in the trilogy was fantastic
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2008
I noticed this book in passing at a book store - and as I work in this field tought it would be an interesting read. I was disappointed - the characters weren't really developed, all the interesting science stuff seemed to have happened beore the book began - and so it was really a mix of half-hearted spy-thriller, half-hearted love story with some of references to a couple of far-fetched climate change mitigation activities - and naive political discourse - with lots of talk about how wonderful and easy it is to introduce alternative energies to the US while all the characters continue to fly around the world, live in their huge houses and drive vans without a second thought.

Now, though I see that it is the third book in a series (there was no reference to this in the introduction to the book). Perhaps I would have felt differently about it if I had read the other books - which seem to have a lot more happening in them. Although judging by what I have read in the comments about the earlier books, it seems they suffer from the same problem. I don't think I will be reading the earlier parts.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2007
I have had the misfortune of reading this trilogy (Forty signs of rain, Fifty degrees below)so far. Each time I hoped in vain for something better, each time I was disappointed. Somewhere among the vague plots, the sociobiological asides, and the incoherent dialogue, there is an eco thriller struggling to get out. If only an editor with some gumption had taken Mr Robinson in hand there may have been a chance of salvaging something from the wreckage, as it is what could have been a riveting end of the world thrill ride bored me senseless! How far Robinson has fallen from the glory days of the Mars trilogy, Antartica, and Pacific Edge. What he really needs to do is go off on a long holiday an recapture the spark he has lost.

I'm fortunate in that I borrowed the previous books from the library, whenever "Seventy days to save the world" is released, I'll leave it on the shelf. I recommend you do the same with this dreary tome.
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