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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Fifty Degrees Below

Copyright 2005 by Kim Stanley Robinson

SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this on the 11th June 2006.

In which nothing much happens even though the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Hold on, that's not entirely true - some massive efforts are made, but mainly by countries in Europe and Asia.

Following the flooding of Washington, Frank is moves into a tree house in the Rock Tree Park, improving his work-life balance.

Meantime, he's working with his boss Diane, head of the National Science Agency, trying to save the world from the catastrophic climate collapse, and trying to work out if he should date her rather than wait for his mysterious and magical Caroline.

Charlie, Anne and Joe Quibler continue their friendship with the Kambalung monks and watch the Khembala sink beneath the waves, as global water levels rise ever higher.

Phil Chase decides to run for President.

This is the second in the "Catastrophe" trilogy, following "Forty Signs Of Rain".

Let me be quite clear: Kim's writing is superbly vibrant and effective, with brilliant observations of life in both the real world and the inner worlds of the protagonists. It's actually quite wonderful the way one gets lifted up and carried by his writing.

But there is something increasingly strange about his novels. I believe they are increasingly moving into an odd American middleclass genre where all the protagonists are rich and healthy citizens, and where everything is subsumed in a benevolent, feel-good ambience and where the every problem can be solved by a little more networking and perhaps an extra ten minutes in the gym in the morning.

Or my God, do some people actually live like this? I want in.

Beautifully written, but not quite my style.

Loaded on the 15th July 2006.
Cover of Fifty Degrees Below
Cover art by Dominic Harman

Reviews of other works by Kim Stanley Robinson:
The Wild Shore
The Planet On The Table
Pacific Edge
Green Mars

Reviews of other works with covers by Dominic Harman:
The Noise Within
Nova Swing