- Publisher: E-Rights/E-Reads Ltd (Dec. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0759225869
- ISBN-13: 978-0759225862
- Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
Hot Sky at Midnight
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From the Back Cover
There's no mistaking the terminal phase of irreversible catastrophe. The climate has gone beserk. Rising oceans inundate swamps and deserts. Genetic engineers have yet to redesign the human body to cope with the crud in the air, the water, the food, the soil. Now time has run out.
With Earth a lost cause, the satellite worlds twinkling in orbit are prime territory for takeover by the powerful and rich. There are a single battleground on which the richest and most powerful megacorps, Kyocera-Merck and Samurai Industries, fight, no holds barred.
In the artificial purity of satellite air or beneath the bilious skies of Earth, despite newly evolved bacterial plagues and bribe-taking androids, Robert Silverberg's characters pursue destinies both outrageously self-interested and heartwrenchingly familiar in a savagely funny story of our planet's last gasp.
"Exquisitely crafted … It is all superb"
"A master of his craft and imagination"
LOS ANGELES TIMES
About the Author
Robert Silverberg was born in New York City. He has been a full-time writer since graduating from Columbia. He has been nominated for more literary awards than any other science fiction or fantasy writer alive or dead. He and his wife Karen Haber live in San Francisco.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Amidst numerous twists and turns, the story focuses on a plot to overthrow the ruling government of the artificial satellite world called Valparaiso Nuevo. A shadowy figure known as the Generalissimo runs this environmental paradise as a safe haven for any who can pay for its protection. But no one can foresee the catastrophic effects of the actions of a tiny group of men who plan to oust the Generalissimo for their own selfish purposes.
Paul Carpenter is the most sympathetic of these characters, a salaryman who takes a position as a sea captain in his eternal quest for promotion in the Japanese megacorporation that controls half the world's business and industry. His fortunes decline dramatically after a mutiny on the high seas leaves him unemployable. His childhood friend, Nick Rhodes, a brilliant geneticist who is collapsing under the weight of his own ethical dilemma, introduces him to an acquaintance of his driven, opinionated girlfriend Isabelle, the seductive Jolanda. A talented sculptor and even more talented lover, Jolanda is the lynch pin of a plot that includes Enron, an Israeli spy, and Farkus, a genetically altered agent of a rival corporation. Together, their greed, suspicion, ambition, stupidity, and insatiable lust lead to a dramatic conclusion that stands as a brilliant metaphor for the destruction man has wreaked upon his own planet.
This novel features powerful, realistic characters, crushing descriptions of a ravaged earth, and a series of intense situations. Silverberg warns us that our present day course will shortly lead us to a time and place where tough decisions will routinely have to made, and their often tragic consequences accepted, simply because no better alternatives are available. The science is carefuly thought out, but includes plenty of radical surprises as well. This is a fine selection for all fans of science fiction, and a must for those who are interested in how incremental ecological changes can have enormous effects on our future.
With this as a backdrop, we meet Nick Rhodes, a brilliant but naive geneticist struggling with the ethics of his work. We also meet Paul Carpenter, a very junior exec who is trying to move up in the corporate world. Mr. Silverberg does a very good job at the beginning of introducing these characters and the decisions they struggle with. However, about halfway through the book, he has the characters do things "out of character." Paul, supposedly a moral anchor who does the right thing out of instinct, makes an incredibly stupid and callous decision which kills people. Nick, an indecisive incipient alcoholic, is able to make up his own mind to remove a monopoly on genetic technology.
It seemed that halfway through the book, Mr. Silverberg needed to find a way to finish it. He did so, but not in a satisfying way.
There were a few flaws in this story where irrelevant questions were given high priority. For example, one big question posed was whether company S or company K would make the adapto metabolic breakthroughs, thus allowing for a new species of man who could breath methane rather than oxygen. Such a successful process would allow either company to one day control the world. This reader didn't see what difference it would make who the winner was.
The stories most novel idea was that faster than light space travel will render ordinary human sight useless, requiring man to develop trick vision in order to pilot space ships to new worlds. Even the brilliant character, Farcas, who develops a new kind of sightless vision, must be sacrificed to the plot's need to end the story. Another main character is led through a series of failures so mind shattering that he volunteers for the flight to outer space with no other hope but to erase the memory of his life on planet earth. With no dreams there will be no further disillusionment.
Robert Silverberg appears to have written the book that jump started Al Gore's headlong rush into his ideological crusade for climate change. Reader's that loved The Day After Tomorrow will be at home here. If this scenario makes you twitchy, don't wring your hands over the evils of the Industrial Revolution and Western civilization, its what got you sitting in your climate controlled quarters in front of your computer. Do make good choices for efficient transportation and other energy intensive purchases.
But don't just sneer at the people driving the Hummer, cluck your tongue at Al Gore for his energy intensive lifestyle.