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Mother of Storms Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This futuristic disaster novel by the author of A Million Open Doors opens in the year 2028, when a preemptive missile strike releases billions of tons of methane trapped in the ocean floor. The resultant atmospheric heat spawns massive supernatural hurricanes that ravage the world's coastlands and claim millions of lives. The only hope of salvation rests with astronaut Louie Tynan--who has become superintelligent, perhaps superhuman, through a computer system linked to his mind--and his desperate plan to shield the earth from the sun until it can cool. Along the way, a well-drawn cast play various roles in combatting the escalating crisis: a canny female U.S. President, an opportunistic capitalist, a spunky journalist et al. Barnes maintains a breakneck pace even while loading his narrative with vital briefings on hurricane formation, information processing and the physics of space travel; some of his speculations, in fact, are breathtaking. This winning blend of gripping thrilller and dazzling SF should establish Barnes as one of the most able and impressive of SF's rising stars.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When a tactical nuclear strike releases massive amounts of methane from the North Pacific's ocean beds, global weather patterns transform the entire ocean surface into a massive spawning ground for hurricanes. As perpetual storms threaten to decimate Earth's population, politicians, scientists, and visionaries grope for solutions while ordinary people struggle to stay alive. In the best tradition of disaster novels, Barnes (Orbital Resonance, LJ 9/1/92; A Million Open Doors, LJ 10/15/91) juggles multiple plot lines as he builds to the grand finale. Compellingly orchestrated and filled with fascinating bits of weather lore, this novel will have broad appeal.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812533453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812533453
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My thirty-first commercially published novel came out in September 2013. I've published about 5 million words that I got paid for. So I'm an abundantly published very obscure writer.

For readers who are wondering where to start with my work, the most common suggestions are Orbital Resonance, A Million Open Doors, Mother of Storms, Encounter with Tiber, or Tales of the Madman Underground. However, almost no one likes all five of those books--I write a wider range than most people read--so you might want to flip a few pages before buying. My most popular have been Directive 51, Mother of Storms, and the two collaborations with Buzz Aldrin. My 3 most popular series begin with A Million Open Doors, Directive 51, and Patton's Spaceship. Nearest my heart are probably One for the Morning Glory, Tales of the Madman Underground, and The Sky So Big and Black. And the most fun was had in writing Gaudeamus, Payback City, and Raise The Gipper!

I used to teach in the Communication and Theatre program at Western State College. I got my PhD at Pitt in the early 90s, masters degrees at U of Montana in the mid 80s, bachelors at Washington University in the 70s; worked for Middle South Services in New Orleans in the early 80s. For a few years I did paid blogging mostly about the math of marketing analysis at TheCMOSite and All Analytics. More recently, I covered advanced technology, especially space, stories in the Government section of Information Week.

If any of that is familiar to you, then yes, I am THAT John Barnes.

I have also become aware of at least 72 Johns Barneses I am not. Among the more interesting ones I am not:
1. the Jamaican-born British footballer who scored that dramatic goal against Brazil
2. the occasional Marvel bit role who is the grandson of Captain America's sidekick
3. the Vietnam-era Medal of Honor winner
4&5. the lead singer for the Platters (and neither he nor I is the lead singer for the Nightcrawlers)
6.the Australian rules footballer
7. the former Red Sox pitcher
8. the Tory MP
9. the expert on Ada programming
10&11. the Cleveland-area member of the Ohio House of Representatives (though we're almost the same age and both grew up in northern Ohio) who is also not the former member of the Indiana House that ran for state senate in 2012 (one of them is a Democrat, one a Republican, and I'm a Socialist)
12. the former president of Boise State University
13. the film score composer
14. the longtime editor of The LaTrobe Journal
15. the biographer of Eva Peron
16. the manager of Panther Racing (though he and I share a tendency to come in second)
17. the British diplomat (who is not the Tory MP above)
18. the conservative Catholic cultural commentator (now there's an alliterative job)
19. the authority on Dante
20. the mycologist
21. the author of Marketing Judo (though I have an acute interest in both subjects)
22. the travel writer
23. the author of Titmice of the British Isles (originally published as Greater and Lesser Tits of England and Ireland, a title which I envy)
24. the guy who does some form of massage healing, mind/body stuff that I don't really understand at all
25. the corp-comm guy for BP (though I've taught and consulted on corp-comm)
26. the film historian,
27. the Pittsburgh-area gay rights activist (though we used to get each others' mail)
28. the guy who skipped Missoula, Montana, leaving behind a pile of bad checks, just before I moved there
29. the policeman in Gunnison, Colorado, the smallest town I've ever lived in, though he busted some of my students and I taught some of his arrestees
30. the wildlife cinematographer who made Love and Death on the Veldt and shot some of the Disney True Life Adventures ("Hortense the Presybterian Wombat" and the like) or
31. that guy that Ma said was my father.

And despite perennial confusion by some science fiction fans and readers, I'm not Steve Barnes and he's not me, and we are definitely not related, though we enjoy seeing each other and occasionally corresponding (not often enough).

I used to think I was the only paid consulting statistical semiotician for business and industry in the world, but I now know four of them, and can find websites for about ten more. Statistical semiotics is about the ways in which the characteristics of a population of signs come to constitute signs themselves. It has applications in marketing, poll analysis, and annoying the literary theorists who want to keep semiotics all to themselves and spend their time studying individual signs and the processes around them in very deep detail. It also shouldn't be confused with computational semiotics, which was about how software could parse complex signs to communicate with humans and other software. Just to make it a bit more confusing, both statistical and computational semiotics are being gradually subsumed into natural language processing, which in turn seems to be being absorbed into data science. Someday all universities will just have a Department of Stuff and that's what everyone will major in.

Semiotics is pretty much what Louis Armstrong said about jazz, except jazz paid a lot better for him than semiotics does for me. If you're trying to place me in the semiosphere, I am a Peircean (the sign is three parts, ), a Lotmanian (art, culture, and mind are all populations of those tripartite signs) and a statistician (the mathematical structures and forms that can be found within those populations of signs are the source of meaning). Recently I've begun working on a certificate in Data Science for pretty much the same reason that the Scarecrow needed a diploma and the Lion needed a medal.

I have been married three times, and divorced twice, and I believe that's quite enough in both categories. I'm a hobby cook, sometime theatre artist, and still going through the motions after many years in martial arts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Kristoff on August 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On the surface Mother of Storms is a tale of climatological disaster writ large. What I found more fascinating and engaging though were the incredible evolutions in technology Barnes proposes, and the geopolitical changes occuring up to and throughout the story. Barnes draws very plausible and I think subtle rationale to each of the political and technological changes in Storms. I will spare the reader here the details, as I don't want to deprive you of the excitement of discovering each nugget. However, Barnes outperforms his peers at extrapolating from the world of today and creating a surprisingly believable world of tomorow. I highly recommend Mother of Storms.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Antinomian on August 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had picked up this book in protest of what was yet again another Hugo award to Lois McMaster Bujold. She certainly has her legions of fans and I've read several of her works, but had enough. Reviewing the Hugo finalists this one appeared to be the most interesting. Was I happy to have picked this.

First off, I think maybe Barnes is compared to Heinlein in that Barnes seems to share the same sense of chivalry and protectiveness towards women (read by some as sexist). The other is that he portrays unsavory characters perhaps more neutrally than many other authors would. He also tends to be slightly libertarian in his writings on government, which Heinlein was known to be. But other than that, he really is his own author and should be considered such.

This novel can be considered your classic disaster novel. Instead of an asteroid or comet coming to impact as in Lucifer's Hammer, a Superhurricane is unleashed on the Earth. And by super, I mean Super. The eye alone of this hurricane is the size of some US states, and I don't mean Rhode Island. Due to a mechanism that heats up the oceans of the planet which is a major factor in the formation of hurricanes, and particularly the spread of the hurricane-sustaining-warmth waters, this hurricane persists indefinitely wreaking havoc on an incredible scale. And in what is probably the most realistic aspect of the novel, that even though this super-hurricane is literally wiping out entire states, that attitude throughout most of America still left is get back to work you slacker. If you're interested in hurricanes, their formation, and driving factors this novel is worth the read for that alone.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike Treder on September 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On the surface, "Mother of Storms" is basically a book about a global ecological disaster, a calamity novel along the lines of "Lucifer's Hammer" or "The Forge of God", in which numerous storylines are followed simultaneously as the world goes to hell. Barnes pulls this off quite well with a solid grounding in science and with characters that are interesting and believable. But what makes the book special is the way he describes the first mating of human and computer intelligence. His may be the best depiction ever written of a positive feedback loop taking effect and the result being a runaway superintelligence. It's stirring.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aeneas on November 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A friend suggested this book to read for a bit of relaxation and I wasn't disappointed. Though it starts a bit slow in order to introduce all the myriad characters, it builds up steam and does quite well to keep the attention there. Some of the scenario is not unlike the movie "The day after tomorrow", as the key element is a global superstorm, which effects the whole world, sparing no place.

John Barnes must have gone to a great deal of research as the scenario with massive amount of methane being released from the ocean floor is not so far fetched, as research in the last few years have shown the potentially devastating effect on the climate that this can have. I also liked his take on mass entertainment of the future, where people can plug in to a 3D type reality show, where the audience can experience all the emotions and sensations that the actors go through. Some novel ideas in there and some pretty creepy situations too.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Years ago, I was a sci-fi freak. Then the market faded.

John Barnes has revived and revitalized that oh-so-sweet science fiction genre where Common Man can lean his elbows on a bar at the edge of space and trade travel tales with a Phyrexian Wanderer over a mug of glfx.

It's 2028. Various border realignments and world peace issues have created Pacificanada and an independent Alaska. Far above the West Siberian plain, and linked to the observing public via Passionet, pilot Hassan Sulari cuts in scramjets and launches his four crambombs (Compression Radiation Antimatter) into the North Slope, aimed to destroy a stash of prohibited weapons.

And what follows, as Mother Nature raises her weary head from the bottom of the ocean and rebels at the centuries of mistreatment, chills the spine and tingles the hairs on the back of your neck. If you're of the opinion that the Winter of '96 California/Oregon floods were dramatic, think again... you ain't seen nothin' yet.

I found myself ducking as unimaginable winds blew rubble and cars around me on the west Mexican coast, huddled on the backside of a crumbling block wall, wailing muddied children shivering with fear and wet and cold pushed up into my armpits with Clem Two ravaging her way through my village.
Earlier, I held my breath, pointlessly, as four massive tsunami literally swept away the contents and the very existence of the mid-Pacific island where moments before I'd manned a military observation post.
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