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Inter Ice Age 4 Paperback – August 1, 1981


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (August 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399505199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399505195
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wintermute on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I think I am familiar with Abe's works quite well. I've read all his works including short stories, plays, essays, interviews and novels (in Japanese). (I first encountered with his work when I was in a junior high school in Japan. One of his short stories was in the junior high's Contemporary Japanese textbook. That introduced me to "The Crime of Mr. S. Karma", but it was a bit too tough for the junior high kid.) I read his works quite extensively while he was completing "Box Man". After its publication, I claimed myself Abe's devoted fan. Since "Ark Sakura", I somewhat lost interest in his works, but I still read all his publications.

If someone asked me what is his best novel, I'd say it's "Box Man", but "Inter-Ice age 4" is his novel I enjoyed the most. Like "Face of Another", it's a suspense story and easy to read. Its theme, the present is to be judged by its future, is clear, too. Also, I particularly like its prologue and epilogue; they're very poetic.

Abe is probably best known by his deep thinking and explosive creativity, but he is an excellent Sci-Fi writer, too. Abe's philosophical works are good to read, but his entertaining works are also fun to read. I feel "Inter Ice age 4" is under-evaluated (in Japan, too).

Yes, "Inter Ice age 4" is my best favorite.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooper on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
In Abe's novel 'Inter Ice Age 4', he explores the edge of psychological science fiction. The character at the center of this tale is Dr. Katsumi, a scientist who sets out to created an AI computer capable of predicting the future, in imitation of a successful Soviet model. As he get closer to his objective, the government begins putting up obstacles to slow his progress. He is no longer allowed to test political questions on his machine, but when he tries to develop questions that will be acceptable to the committe overseeing his research, it turns out that everything is connected to politics. Finally he decides to reduce the scale of his research. He'll focus on a single human instead. He goes out with his assistant to choose a suitable subject. Later, they are surprised to learn that the subject they chose has been murdered. This murder pulls Dr. Katsumi unwillingly into a conspiracy that involves genetic engineer on a massive scale.

This novel is surprisingly fresh for a novel that was written in 1958. The topics covered--AI computers, genetic engineering, and global warming are all very current. The story spirals to a tense conclusion, so the reader is pulled in. The story also has a strong psychological edge. It explores the difference between what a person wants to do and what a person has to do. Also, it brings up a lot a questions about the nature of the future. Can people in the present judge the future? Abe argues that the future cannot be judged. In Abe's words, who could say whether the people from the past would consider our present a heaven or a hell. Only the present can judge the past, not vice versa.

For those who aren't sure where this fits into science fiction, I think I could recommend this to fans of Phillip Dick. It has a similar dark undertone with a strong psychological basis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Helen R. Peterson on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a beautiful book by Abe, and certainly the most engaging one for me. The dire outlook on the future, the concept of genteic engineering, is frightening in view of the world we live in today as opposed to when Kobo Abe first wrote this book. I would certainly recommend this to any lover of Japanese fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Witz on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the seventies, as a high school student in the throes of science fiction and feminism. If you enjoy the stories of Philip Dick and the reversals of fortune common to many thrillers, AND can handle the slow-paced style of this author get this book used or wait for the June 2009 reissue. The concept of the super-computer may seem a little dated but the Ice Age references seem very topical in our climate-conscious culture. I loved the surprize of the ending which I will not spoil here and cannot beleive that no one snatched up the film rights given the success of Minority Report, Children of Men, and other speculative thrillers which required an active imagination!
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