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Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson

Forty Signs of Rain (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Kim Stanley Robinson

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1,062347,895 (3.45)76
Title:Forty Signs of Rain
Authors:Kim Stanley Robinson
Info:Spectra (2005), Mass Market Paperback. 397 pp.
Collections:Your library
Tags:environmental sf, sf

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Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson (2004)

  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 (32)  French (2)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Call it 3 1/2 stars. It's got a bestseller-y page-turning appeal, but the story's rushed and the characters have a glib feel that sometimes rubs me the wrong way. (I find the Anna Quibler character particularly annoying; she has a grating self-satisfied asperger affect. Frank Vanderwal is nearly as annoying with his constant one-note comparison of all his friends' and colleagues' behavior to that of early hominids struggling for survival and dominance.)

Still, KSR gets some bonus points (from me, anyhow) for adding a group of Tibetan refugee characters to the story. As reviewers from here to Kathmandu have already remarked, it's a preachy book about climate change dangers, but at least it's a good-hearted and readable preachy book about climate change dangers. I will probably go on to read the rest of the trilogy, if only to find out what happens to Rudra Cakrin and the rest of his sangha. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
This is the first book in Robinson's series about climate change. The skepticism and academic in-fighting are very well done, while the vast titanic forces are clocked in, and moving right along. It's a complex and interesting narrative. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 1, 2014 |
...After my first read of this trilogy I didn't think this was Robinson's best work. After this reread of Forty Signs of Rain I'm still of that opinion. The novel deals with a challenge humanity is facing and at the moment refusing to address in any meaningful way. In that sense I appreciate this work. On the other hand I can't really share Robinson's optimism that the various parts of government in Washington can be made to disengage from the financial interests of those who wish to downplay the problem. I do not doubt that humanity can tackle the problem through science, I just don't see it happening any time soon. The world is not made up of Robinson's highly intelligent characters, resistance to the radical change in thinking he advocates is fierce. Somehow it is easier to see Robinson's optimism and social ideas put into practice in space than in the world of dirty politics we're familiar with. That doesn't mean we should stop trying though, and it most certainly doesn't mean you shouldn't read this book. The ideas it contains are fascinating. Despite my reservations, I am looking forward to my reread of Fifty Degrees Below.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Feb 1, 2014 |
First, KSR has this ability to make me hate his writing style so much that I want to chuck his books out my window. He's long winded in the science and the internal dialogue and short winded in the relationships and people interactions. Then, he will go for stretches where you get long winded dialog or minute detail of a person's life and nearly none of the science. It's like riding with Mario Andretti in rush hour traffic -- speed stop speed LEFT speed RIGHT speed stop RIGHT speed LEFT speed RIGHT stop. In fact, it reminds me of riding in my vanpool in the worst traffic on the worst roads.

Second, KSR DOES have the ability to suck me in. I want to know more about some of his characters. I'd like to throttle some of his other characters. It's a little too much like real life sometimes when I find myself wondering what such and such character would do or say about some real event in my life. It's disturbing and compelling.

Third (and final), KSR has this need to info dump. It's like getting hit with a fire hose and a waterfall. There's so much he wants you to know. I don't know if he wants to show how much he knows/researches or if he really wants to impart his information to you...engage you, so to speak.

I'm left liking this book; and wanting to know more...but resenting that both. ( )
  lesmel | Jan 31, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forbes, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

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Two married scientists teach a Buddhist delegation from South Asia the intricacies of dealing with politicians in Washington while observing signs of an approaching catastrophe from global warming.

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