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Anti-ice Mass Market Paperback – October 16, 1994


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPrism (October 16, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061054216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061054211
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth R. Bridges on December 27, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anti-Ice is an "alternate universe" tale that takes place in 19th century. An asteroid from an unknown part ofthe galaxy assumes an orbit around the Earth, forming a new moon. Fragments fall to earth in the region of the South Pole and are discovered by British explorers. These asteroid fragments are composed of a previously unknown material dubbed, anti-ice, which releases energy on the scale of a nuclear explosion when heated. The British industrial revolution is propelled to new heights by this discovery. Naturally, one of the first discoveries is the utility of this energy source in warfare. A struggle develops between industrialists who want to monopolize the energy potential of the substance, idealists who see it as a chance for world peace by eliminating energy (oil, etc.) as a driving force in geopolitical economics, and other military powers who see the British monopoly of this substance as a military threat.
Many of the themes of Anti-Ice reflect issues of the nuclear age. The underlying conflicts parallel those that developed during the cold war. As a novel, Anti-Ice is mediocre, however. The style is stilted, reminescent of H.G. Wells. Mr. Baxter used this style to much greater effect in his novel, The Timeships, which was a "sequel" to Wells' The Time Machine. There is a flatness to the plot and to the characters which makes the book tedious.
In addition, Mr. Baxter has 20th century exploits performed with 19th century technology (with the exception of the anti-ice energy source). A space voyage takes place, for instance, in a craft that would have lacked air-tight seals (using 19th century technology).
Some SF novels are rip-roaring adventures. This is one is not. Some are full of mystery and intrigue. This one is not. Some have an underlying philosophical message. This one does not. So that doesn't leave much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Kasprzak on June 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'd had a bad experience with Baxter (also known as Timelike Infinity) which had me prepared to ignore anything he wrote. But I'm a sucker for alternate history and Victoriana, so when I heard that Baxter had written an alt-history in which 19th century England gets its hands on antimatter (Kaboom!), I just had to give it a try. And I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
This book works on a lot of levels. The use of the naive protagonist alongside the newspaper reporter and the professor allows for a lot of exposition without straining the plot. Once you accept the hand-waving explanation of how antimatter got to Earth in a form that 19th century tech could handle, the rest of the technology and history follows pretty logically. And the writing itself is a wonderful pastiche of Wells, Verne, and 19th century English novels in general.
But the aspect of it that I most enjoyed was the political allegory. The parallels of anti-ice technology with nuclear technology followed our own history in many ways: its first use followed by horror at the devastation that it wrought, then an attempt to harness it for peaceful purposes, and finally a cold war in which two super-powers hold weapons of mutually assured destruction. But more subtly, England's domination of France at the end of the book, and France's resentment, could be seen as analogous to US domination of Europe after WWII.
A wonderful science fiction story, but also a lesson on the dangers of the misuse of power, whether it be the destructive power of weaponry or the political forces of imperialism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book! Like all of Baxter's work it just seems to have a heck of a lot more meat on its bones than a lot of what I read. Good speculative SUBSTANCE, if you know what I mean. Yes, I had to pick up an encyclopedia and read a few paragraphs on the Crimean War. Took all of two minutes and added exponentially to the depth of the reading experience. Good book, good ideas and a whopper of a finale!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on May 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fans of steam-punk and Victorian adventures will love ANTI-ICE by Stephen Baxter. In this book, Baxter flawlessly combines many great SF themes. Victorian exploration, super science, alternate history, and the personal accounts of a minor functionary made this a delight for me to read.
The industrial revolution has come a little early and in an unexpected form. An Antarctic expedition finds a substance called anti-ice. So dubbed because if it starts to warm up, it releases incredible amounts of energy. Thus evolves a British empire like you have never seen. Imagine all the great creations of Verne being controlled by the British and available to the common man. Anti-ice becomes the new fuel of the empire. Its discoverer continually finds new ways to use its power. One such method was to power a flying rocket that he travels the world in. But after some sabotage, he finds himself in space and headed for the moon.
Besides fueling the empire, anti-ice can also be a terrible weapon. And wouldn't you know it, Bismarck is on the march and the French are out to stop him. Look out! If you like alternate history of the great voyages of Verne, this is a book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "angel-of-the-abyss" on November 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not a bad story all round, though it sould be taken with a grain of salt. It is meant as a humorous light-hearted little tale, and as long as you read it in that vein, you won't be disappointed. Personally I found the "super" industrial revolution to be a very intriguing idea, and I really liked that Baxter wasn't afraid to depict man's more bestial side, in turning this "miracle" of Anti-Ice to violent ends.
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