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Forty Signs of Rain (2004)

de Kim Stanley Robinson

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Science in the Capital (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,3084311,795 (3.44)89
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. This captivating novel propels us into a world on the verge of unprecedented change--in a time quite like our own.… (més)
  1. 01
    Estat de por de Michael Crichton (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: We know the climate is changing, but which way? These books take opposite viewpoints.
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» Mira també 89 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 43 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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  folivier | Jan 19, 2022 |
Forty Signs of Rain is possibly the weakest novel I've read from Kim Stanley Robinson. It's particularly frustrating because I don't understand why this needed to be a novel at all.

It's clear that the story here is just an excuse for Mr. Robinson to explore issues of climate change, the role of politics in science, and public vs. private science. These are important concerns and Mr. Robinson is a crusader for related causes.

Forty Signs of Rain is frustrating because the story gets in the way of what he has to say about these matters. I would much rather read a long-form essay or a series of op-ed pieces from Mr. Robinson on these topics. I think his criticisms, insights, experience, and hopes would all come across more clearly and powerfully.

He didn't need to write a novel to talk about these things.

If he had to write a novel to explore these issues, this one needed a lot more time in development. The plot is a flimsy veneer, with no real momentum or through-line. The characters are rough sketches, at best, with no depth and little actual personality. Mr. Robinson uses them to function mostly as mouthpieces for his ideas. Given the non-existence of a cohesive plot, these characters have little of substance to do to show their personalities.

Perhaps I should read the other two novels in the Science in the Capital series before judging the narrative too harshly. But Forty Signs of Rain is the one that kicks off the trilogy and it reads like a rough draft. It simply shouldn't be a complete and published novel in this state.

As voice in our cultural conversations about the environment, science, and politics, Mr. Robinson is important. He deserves a far stronger platform than he gave himself with this book. ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
The first time I read this book I was not overly enamoured of it: I had read its sequel first then come back to it before waiting around for the "third" instalment to be published and after that read Antartica which seemed like it might be set before this one...which turned out to be true...so i read the last one last but none of the others in the correct order!

Hence, having re-read Antarctica, I thought I would bash on through the 40, 50, 60 series and see how they looked as one long book.

The answer is, they look better, but still not great. We are in a near-future Washington D.C. though you would hardly tell; there was more indication way down in Antarctica, in fact. Confusingly, the incumbent POTUS, who cameos in one scene, seems modelled on Dubya (on the "smarter than he pretends to be" theory) but is never named. The protagonists from Antarctica are barely name-checked, but World's Senator Phil Chase becomes a proper character rather than a voice on the phone and his environmental advisor is the focus of attention. Said advisor works from home, whilst looking after his unholy terror of a toddler...

...which is what led me to the idea that KSR is the most obviously autobiographical SF writer I've ever come across. Not only are his books full of characters who like hiking/climbing/mountaineering/kayaking/just about any wilderness activity you care to name, but now he spends a book talking about his "Mr. Mom" experiences! Which is almost the sum of this "novel". In fact, reading the three in succession, it is obvious that it is one long novel chopped into parts and works better considered as a whole. Here we have the ground work for what comes later and not a lot else. ANd what comes later will be discussed later when I get round to reviewing 50 Degrees Below.

(Yep, I've left you hanging - a bit like this book does, in fact!) ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
I learned a lot about the politics of the National Science Foundation. Fiction, right? Nonetheless, that's how we absorb the truth. I could not engage with the story although I don't know why - or I'd rather not know.
p.s. There was an absolutely hysterically funny episode about half way through in which Frank rappels down into his boss's office because he's in love with someone he met briefly in an elevator - and it all feels logical to him. Is this a metaphor for climate change? A tragic comedy? ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 18, 2020 |
I might not have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't read some reviews of it first. It's the first book of a trilogy, and if you're familiar with Kim Stanley Robinson you know how he can get a little .. um .. detailed .... and beat you over the head with the point he's trying to make with the science. This first book has very little happen until close to the end of the book, but it sets things up and has lots of sciency talk which I enjoyed. ( )
  CiaraCat | Jan 9, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Kim Stanley Robinsonautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Forbes, DominicAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The earth is bathed in a flood of sunlight. A fierce inundation of photons - on average 342 joules per second per square metre.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

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. This captivating novel propels us into a world on the verge of unprecedented change--in a time quite like our own.

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