Forty Signs of Rain (Robinson, Kim Stanley) Hardcover – 1 May 2004
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'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
'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 excitement of the science is thrillingly rendered … a very impressive work of the imagination … The Mars trilogy is one of the landmarks of sf in the 1990s. The time may well come when it is regarded as one of the landmarks of American literature' TLS--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt returns with a riveting new trilogy of cutting-edge science, international politics, and the real-life ramifications of global warming as they are played out in our nation's capital--and in the daily lives of those at the center of the action. Hauntingly realistic, here is a novel of the near future that is inspired by scientific facts already making headlines.
When the Arctic ice pack was first measured in the 1950s, it averaged thirty feet thick in midwinter. By the end of the century it was down to fifteen. One August the ice broke. The next year the breakup started in July. The third year it began in May. That was last year.
It's an increasingly steamy summer in the nation's capital as Senate environmental staffer Charlie Quibler cares for his young son and deals with the frustrating politics of global warming. Charlie must find a way to get a skeptical administration to act before it's too late--and his progeny find themselves living in Swamp World. But the political climate poses almost as great a challenge as the environmental crisis when it comes to putting the public good ahead of private gain.
While Charlie struggles to play politics, his wife, Anna, takes a more rational approach to the looming crisis in her work at the National Science Foundation. There a proposal has come in for a revolutionary process that could solve the problem of global warming--if it can be recognized in time. But when a race to control the budding technology begins, the stakes only get higher. As these everyday heroes fight to align the awesome forces of nature with the extraordinary march of modern science, they are unaware that fate is about to put an unusual twist on their work--one that will place them at the heart of an unavoidable storm.
With style, wit, and rare insight into our past, present, and possible future, this captivating novel propels us into a world on the verge of unprecedented change--in a time quite like our own. Here is Kim Stanley Robinson at his visionary best, offering a gripping cautionary tale of progress--and its price--as only he can tell it.
"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Robinson continues to mature as a writer - he is more free with his brand of gentle humour, more relaxed and realistic with the romantic scenes. Above all, he disciplines his descriptions of nature and landscape - focusing on the telling detail rather than the pages and pages of description which occaisionally marred the Mars trilogy.
It's not packed with action. There are no laser guns, spaceships or aliens. It is thoughtful, intellectual, witty, moving, vivid, defiantly high brow and engagingly 'new age'.
The book eschews a conventional plot, instead following the lives of several characters over the course of one summer, all of whom have an interest in the issue of climate change. In some ways it has the feel of a political thriller, as the main characters struggle against the restrictive bureaucracies of the NSF and the US administration, and it is clear that Robinson has researched this aspect of his subject well. Likewise his treatment of the various weather events - impacting as they do on American soil and Western lifestyles - is believable throughout, and the novel's climax is unsettling even as it is compelling.
Unfortunately the novel is let down in places by its pacing, which can feel almost glacial at times. While it begins strongly, it is not until the last 150 pages of the book that Robinson really begins to address the question of what global warming really means for us all.Read more ›
A good first book in a series but standing alone is a little disappointing.
this book squarely takes that on and faces the questions that no one seems to want to admit exist. robinson also provides some of his own ideas about how science itself can take responsibility for the paradigm shift needed to face where we find capitalism has taken us. admittedly some of this can sound a little preachy and there are a few pages which sound like a manifesto but really, it's exhilirating that someone is even thinking of this and has the guts to attempt to share their thoughts on it.
another aspect of the novel is that it doesn't get lost in epic disaster scenes. the effects of the weather changes are very realistic and the focus remains on the individuals within them. this helps prevent the reader falling into "oh disaster flick" mode. the day after tomorrow is a good film but the main emotional involvement falls into standard american adventure movie narratives. in this book we are kept in a world that could be very familiar to us and this helps keep the underlying implications real. this is really helped by a bunch of characters i found i really liked. the portrayal of "momdad" charlie is particularly resonant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While not as gripping as his 'Mars, trilogy I enjoyed this book and will read the two sequels. Worth a go.Published on 23 Jun. 2014 by behindthesofa
We, in England are struggling with floods but will we find solutions? It is an interesting storyline, a " what if" plot. But so real.Published on 19 Sept. 2013 by S. Kelly
Speaking of the trilogy, not as good as some of his other work but a rewardable read nonetheless. Maintains his bang-on socio-economic analysis throughout and provides a bit of... Read morePublished on 19 April 2012 by jpnldn
Like all of his books, the science and the policy background for 'Forty Signs of Rain' are well researched and engaging. Read morePublished on 27 Sept. 2010 by MR GARY THOMPSON
I liked his Mars tilogy I didn't like this. I won't be reading the next two in the trilogy. Maybe if you live in Washington DC this book speaks to you in some way. Read morePublished on 2 Aug. 2010 by Nick Keighley
After painstakingly looking through my local library for a science fiction/fantasy/thriller to read on mundane journeys to and from work, I came across this book. Read morePublished on 21 Jan. 2010 by patrick
I'm quite ticked off with this book. I've read the Mars trilogy and one of the reviews lead me to believe that this book would not be so heavy on description. Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2008 by A. Hallett