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Forty Signs of Rainby Kim Stanley Robinson
Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy (Blue Mars, Green Mars, and Red Mars) 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.
"Robinson's tale lacks the drama and excitement of...other novels dealing with global climate change...but his portrayal of how actual scientists would deal with this disaster-in-the-making is utterly convincing. Robinson clearly cares deeply about our planet's future, and he makes the reader care as well." Publishers Weekly
"[E]legantly crafted and beguiling....Even as he outlines frighteningly plausible scenarios backed up by undeniable facts, the author charms with domesticity and humor. This beautifully paced novel stands on its own, but it is the first of a trilogy." School Library Journal
"[T]he novel ends with a noble cause: the NSF staff determined to curb global warming. Expect demand for this topical and compelling story." Booklist
"[T]he soggy first of a trilogy that has promise nowhere near what the Mars trilogy had....As stiff and hard SF as they were, the Mars books succeeded through the sheer chutzpah of their epic insight. This one feels like the ho-hum preview for a run-of-the-mill end-of-the-world story." Kirkus Reviews
"While the novel doesn't always hang together, it remains interesting and timely." Library Journal
"Forty Signs of Rain is probably one of the most important and thought provoking books I've read all year....This book is a wake up call of sorts, to scientists in the United States especially, to go out and fight for what they believe in." SFSite.com
"Forty Signs of Rain is much shorter than most Robinson novels, and perhaps the story he wants to tell would have been better served by releasing the whole thing as one novel instead of offering readers this fragmentary episode." SciFi.com
"Forty Signs of Rain succeeds because it's a novel about intriguing people....[Robinson] breathes life into the issues by anchoring them to complex, multi-layered characters....
The bestselling author of The Years of Rice and Salt launches an exciting new trilogy, set in the near future, in which science and ethics reach the boiling point in Washington, D.C.
About the Author
Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of ten previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy (Blue Mars, Green Mars, and Red Mars) and The Years of Rice and Salt, named one of the best science fiction novels of 2002 by Book magazine. He lives in Davis, California.
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