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Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
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Forty Signs of Rain (2004)

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Science in the Capital (1)

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1,1874010,330 (3.45)85
Recently added byckadams5, ryanpoole, private library, yukimibu, cindywho, Helenoel, niallh, wisemetis, BGP
  1. 01
    State of Fear by Michael Crichton (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: We know the climate is changing, but which way? These books take opposite viewpoints.
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English (38)  French (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
“Forty Signs,” written in 2004, is as relevant if not more-so now thirteen years on. The denial and political delaying and obfuscation described in the novel have not abated in the real world, perhaps even worsening. That Robinson chose to name his superstorm that floods DC “Sandy” is an ironic and haunting coincidence.

For those who expect dramatic acts of violence and shoot-em-ups, this will be a disappointing book. But in the tradition of sci-fi that describes dystopian futures, this novel projects a possible future from the science. I fear it may be all too predictive.

( )
  dasam | Jun 20, 2018 |
I've read and very much enjoyed Seveneves so I figured I'd give KSR a read on his climate fiction trilogy. I've only ever read one other climate fiction book and it was an anthology that I felt was a bit hit or miss so I still don't know if my scifi loving heart extends too far into this sub-genre. Or, I should just stick to the summer blockbuster movies where the CGI is gripping with great sheets of ice dramatically falling away and crazy mega waves wiping out coastal regions while actors go on about oceanic desalinisation rates and jet stream consequences. Because I have to say, after reading this, I think I like the watching more than the reading of CliFi.

Technically there's nothing wrong with KSR's story but it feels like it's mostly set up for the big stuff. All the pieces are present: the impending catastrophe, the scientists tasked with a solution, the politicians & politics that must also participate in the solution & the inevitable masses who will suffer no matter what, while fewer survive & will probably wish they hadn't at some point. This makes me think that the strength of the total story of Seveneves was served by making it a big damned book instead of splitting it. I've a sneaking suspicion that I'll like the next book in this series better and likely will feel similarly about part of the third. Unfortunately, as I've read the first, I'm not inclined to jump right into the second. It was a quick enough read but I have to admit that I'm glad this wasn't my introduction to KSR because I'm fairly sure I'd not go on.

I'd only recommend this for CliFi fans, those who can roll with KSR's story telling (there's a pacing & tech spec info thing that occurs which seems to be his way) or those who are just looking to binge all three books in a week (doable). ( )
  anissaannalise | Feb 28, 2018 |
"Weekdays always begin the same. The alarm goes off and you are startled out of dreams that you immediately forget. Predawn light in a dim room. Stagger into a hot shower and try to wake up all the way. Feel the scalding hot water on the back of your neck, ah, the best part of the day, already passing with the inexorable clock. Fragment of a dream, you were deep in some problem set now escaping you, just as you tried to escape it in the dream. Duck down the halls of memory—gone. Dreams don't want to be remembered."

And so begins Forty Signs of Rain... which is what always gets me with KSR's books. The slice of life in everything, in between the science and all the "stuff" going on. Life moves inexorably on... not any faster or slower than it ever has. Doled out in seconds and hours and days and weeks.

The subject matter at the heart of this book is climate change and global warming. The science that surrounds it all, the consequences of which have been attributed to the modern consumer driven economy and lifestyle.

I was reminded of two books I had read this year while going through this one:
i) The feeling of righteous indignation towards Captain Davidson's views in "The Word for World is Forest", similar to Frank Vanderwhal's feelings towards the NSF having so much untapped potential. Concur.
ii) And then again the uneasy feeling of seeing the big picture mode of things from "No Country for Old Men" of the moral degeneration and people thinking it's not going on... similar feeling for the subject matter of this book.

Enjoyed reading this.

Luckily the library also has Book #2... ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
Reads almost more like a non-fictional account of the slow and not so slow changes occurring on our planet right now as we face the challenges of global warming. A little slow paced, but the lead up promises some great drama in the next installment. The characters are interesting and passionate, and it definitely has the sensation of an impending disaster on the horizon. We know it's coming, and we know it is going to be devastating, but we can't wait to see how the players will rally. ( )
  MayaArb | May 22, 2017 |
Fictional look at the way academic science works and how inappropriate this is for tackling large scale problems such as climate change. ( )
  brakketh | Jul 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Forbes, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Climate is warming
Governments ignore warnings
Here comes the deluge
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553585800, Mass Market Paperback)

The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Environmental aide Charlie Quibler is frustrated in his attempts to prove to the government that global warming has reached cataclysmic levels, a situation that is complicated when a promising technology is exploited for private interests.

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