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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Greenhouse Summer

Copyright 1999 by Norman Spinrad

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this in March 2000.

The previous hundred years have seen a collapse in the stability of the Earth's climate. The icecaps have melted, New York is meters below sea-level with massive dykes keeping the ocean at bay. The countries where flooding has destroyed the cities and infrastructure are called the "Lands of the Lost", and their peoples live and die hopelessly, for no country or corporation has the will or the money to attempt to reverse the flooding and restore their society.

Everybody knows the world's heading for disaster, but no-one knows when, and most just hope it will later rather than sooner.

Monique Calhoun works in public relations and she's dragged into a new contract: to handle opening of the latest UN conference on the weather. Previously, these conferences have been low budget and extremely low impact. However this time it's different. The conference planners are awash with money, anticipating a major event with vast publicity. But what could happen at this conference to justify such expenditure, especially when the money is coming from big business, the least trusted source. Moreover, Mossad are involved, the Mafia have become interested, and even the Russians have made an appearance. Something big is clearly going down and Monique is right in the middle of it, and where such opposing interests meet, there is bound to be conflict.

A classic Spinrad novel, of course not as good as "Bug Jack Barron", but with its calamitous climatic concerns, it is an appropriate work for the end of the Millennium . Excellent stuff, such characters: Monique herself, typically the last to know what is happening; Eric Esterhazy, he's "made his bones" but he's still trying to become a man; Avi Posner; Eduardo Ramirez, and the Marenko couple. It's not just the characters, even the businesses have style and personality: the Mafia as a legitimate and respected business, Mossad providing professional services for hire, the old corporations for once maybe trying to do the decent thing, anarchic capitalism abounding.

Monique asking herself, in order to save the world, "would I commit atrocities that would make Hitler cringe", rather put me mind of "Sea Of Glass", although the similarity is only in the central question, not in the style or content of that masterful work.

And apart from all the excitement, the politics and moral musings, the point of "Greenhouse Summer", like most of Spinrad's books, is the importance of the loyalty and respect of friends.

Loaded on the 21st July 2001.
Cover of Greenhouse Summer
Cover art by The Chopping Block Inc

Reviews of other works by Norman Spinrad:
Bug Jack Barron
Little Heroes
Pictures At 11

Reviews of other works with covers by The Chopping Block Inc and Carol Russo Design:
Rogue Star