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Fifty Degrees Below Paperback – 4 Oct 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007148917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007148912
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for FORTY SIGNS OF RAIN:

‘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 … His great achievement here is to bring the practice of science alive and to place this in an all-too familiar world of greedy capitalists and unprincipled politicians. Robinson's critique of science is heartfelt … humans have gone from being the smartest animal on the savannah to being "experts at denial".’ P.D. Smith GUARDIAN

‘A funny, convincing, intelligent book’ Kim Newman, INDEPENDENT

'Kim Stanley Robinson is freed by his medium – fiction – to deliver [a] message with passion and restraint … A great book' NEW SCIENTIST

Praise for the MARS trilogy:

‘The ultimate in future history’ DAILY MAIL

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.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of the good things about Kim Stanely Robinson is that he is unafraid to tackle the real issues facing humanity in the twenty first century unlike most modern scif-fi which appears to be stuck in fantasy. Fifty Degrees below is an interesting book, detailing how the American government attempts to cope with the shutting down of the North Atlantic Drift. However I found the whole read slightly unreal. It is mostly focussed on the characters in Washington DC who appear to carry on with their lives while the world falls apart around them. Major climate disaster is dealt with in a few very short paragraphes and the human sufferring brought about by these disasters is not discussed or dealt with, it is merely edited down to cold science. Also this rather like the Day After Tomorrow, with a new ice age threataning to descend on America - something climate scientists have taken great pains to point out won't happen, even if the NAD does shut down. The books real strength lies in the characters, particularly Frank who decides to live out in the Washington parks and regain his palaeolithic consciousness. The Buddhists were also very good. Alas if Robinson had focussed on warming rather than cooling this may have been a better book. A pity, a great idea missed out upon.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Frank Vanderwal goes Paleolithic in Washington DC, living in a tree-house in Rock Creek Park, a tranche of recently flooded and devastated wild land in the middle of the city. Washington is reeling from the horrendous recent weather conditions that have produced chronic real estate shortages. Frank is a realist - he has all the modern accoutrements to survive, whatever happens.

Fifty Degrees Below is a catastrophe novel which has tremendously good credentials. Robinson knows the theory behind global warming and he sites his novel at the heart of America's National Science Foundation, with a group of people, including Frank, who just might have the solution to the problem. Or one of several solutions, as it happens. It is also election-year and a credible candidate who has all the right ecological ideas has arisen and is muddying the political waters.

In this discomforting thriller, we are given a kind of treatise of what to expect when the earth's carbon resources are approaching critical depletion because of the warming effect of greenhouse gases. In approachable prose we learn some of the reasons why this results in - not warming but freezing. Those with an interest in environmental disaster scenarios will be well and truly hooked. There is a visit to a devastated Tibetan refugee enclave as well as intriguing side plots, one of which involves a teasing love-affair with a woman whose husband is a master of the black arts of metal bit technology and data mining. Robinson manages a wide and disparate number of plot-lines with consummate ease.

Fifty Degrees Below lives up to its chilling title and is a very good read.
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Format: Hardcover
There are several interesting sub-plots in the book, the author writes with skill and the issues are important - climate change and the future of the world. Nevertheless, I found myself following the plot like a daily TV comedy show, never very interested in the fate of the characters nor impatient to learn what would happened next. Somehow the characters and situations never manage to feel entirely real.
If you haven't read any other book by Robinson, this is probably not a good place to start.
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Format: Paperback
Fifty degrees below focuses on one mans life as he decides to revert to a neolithic lifestyle amid the aftermath of huge flood in Washington D.C. and set during one of the coldest winters yet to hit the capital.
This book is quite good at revealing the machinations of the U.S government and the politics of climate change. It has a notable environmental narrative which finds the main characters in the book working together to sink a giant fresh water bubble that is threatening oceanic sea temperatures. There is a lot of environmental science riddling the narrative, but this works for the book, not against it, as most of the environmental science is actually quite interesting. The book does a good job of describing the pitfalls of working against various lobby groups within the U.S energy industry as well as the government itself. Interestingly enough the romantic pursuits of the main character provide more interest to the reader than anything else in the book, betraying a distinct lack of direction in the novel. Although the book is long, it somehow seems to end prematurely although this saves it from banality and more importantly from turning into a rambling overture on climate change.
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Format: Hardcover
It's nice to see a more objective book about climate change by an American writer. Kim Stanley Robinson is the Anti-Crichton!
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Format: Kindle Edition
There are some nice ideas and lovely passages in this book but I keep getting irritated by certain sections that feel unecessary. The sections about family life and similar things are just tedious and I find myself skipping through them.

Also, stop using Fahrenheit please. It's meant to be about scientists and scientists don't use Fahrenheit. I would have given it three stars but I'm taking one off for this.
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