In the near future, Wade Norton has been sent to Antarctica by Senator Phil Chase to investigate rumors of environmental sabotage. He arrives on the frozen continent and immediately begins making contact with the various scientific and political factions that comprise Antarctic society. What he finds is an interesting blend of inhabitants who don't always mesh well but who all share a common love of Antarctica and a fierce devotion to their life there. He also begins to uncover layers of Antarctic culture that have been kept hidden from the rest of the world, and some of them are dangerous indeed. Things are brought to a head when the saboteurs--or "ecoteurs" as they call themselves--launch an attack designed to drive humans off the face of Antarctica. This is Kim Stanley Robinson's first book since his award-winning Mars
trilogy, and while some of the themes may be familiar to seasoned Robinson readers, the book is never less than engrossing. As usual Robinson does a masterful job with the setting of his story, and anyone interested in Antarctica won't want to miss this one. --Craig Engler
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From Publishers Weekly
In the early 21st century, things are beginning to change in Antarctica. Scientists still come down to the American base at McMurdo to do research, but they now bump shoulders with tourists hoping to retrace the treks of early explorers. More seriously, with the world's oil fields almost depleted, multinational corporations are jockeying for position, conducting secret explorations for oil and spending millions to defeat the renewal of the Antarctic Treaty, which has reserved the continent for purely scientific research for half a century. And other, even more secretive groups apparently haunt the Antarctic outback as well: feral human societies and radical environmentalists whose motives are only partly understood. Antarctica is undergoing major climactic change, too, perhaps the most dramatic example of the global warming that has turned much of the world's former temperate zone into a steam bath. The Ross Ice Shelf has largely broken up and the enormously greater Antarctic icesheet may be about to follow suit. Robinson (Blue Mars) brings to this novel a passionate concern for landscape, ecology and the effects of the "Gotterdammerung capitalism" that he sees as the most serious threat to the survival of our species. His major charactersAa U.S. senator's aide, a professional Antarctic mountaineer and a misfit doing grunt labor at McMurdoAare well drawn, but ultimately the novel is about the land itself. Moving back and forth between breathtaking descriptions of the alien, out-of-scale beauty of Antarctica, gripping tales of adventure on the ice and astute analyses of the ecopolitics of the southernmost continent, Robinson has created another superb addition to what is rapidly becoming one of the most impressive bodies of work in SF. (July) FYI: Each of Robinson's last three novels, Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars, won either a Hugo or a Nebula.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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