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Sixty Days and Counting (Science in the Capital) [Kindle Edition]

Kim Stanley Robinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

By the time Phil Chase is elected president, the world’s climate is far on its way to irreversible change. Food scarcity, housing shortages, diminishing medical care, and vanishing species are just some of the consequences. The erratic winter the Washington, D.C., area is experiencing is another grim reminder of a global weather pattern gone haywire: bone-chilling cold one day, balmy weather the next.

But the president-elect remains optimistic and doesn’t intend to give up without a fight. A maverick in every sense of the word, Chase starts organizing the most ambitious plan to save the world from disaster since FDR–and assembling a team of top scientists and advisers to implement it.

For Charlie Quibler, this means reentering the political fray full-time and giving up full-time care of his young son, Joe. For Frank Vanderwal, hampered by a brain injury, it means trying to protect the woman he loves from a vengeful ex and a rogue “black ops” agency not even the president can control–a task for which neither Frank’s work at the National Science Foundation nor his study of Tibetan Buddhism can prepare him.

In a world where time is running out as quickly as its natural resources, where surveillance is almost total and freedom nearly nonexistent, the forecast for the Chase administration looks darker each passing day. For as the last–and most terrible–of natural disasters looms on the horizon, it will take a miracle to stop the clock . . . the kind of miracle that only dedicated men and women can bring about.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Inside-the-Beltway policy wonks and government scientists strive to save the world from environmental collapse in the well-written third installment (after 2005's Fifty Degrees Below) of this hyperrealistic, near-future SF series. The Gulf Stream—slowed by global warming—has been restarted and nuclear-powered naval ships stand by to generate electricity for frigid coastal cities. Phil Chase, an ecologically minded Democrat from California in the Al Gore mold, has won the presidency, due in part to the efforts of NSA scientist Frank Vanderwal and his spook girlfriend, Caroline Barr, who helped foil a right-wing attempt to fix the election. But only time will tell if the world has both the scientific know-how and the political will to reverse the ongoing rush toward an ecological precipice. Combining surprisingly interesting discussions of environmental science with Robinson's trademark tramps through nature and an exciting espionage subplot, this novel should appeal to both the author's regular SF audience and anyone concerned with the ecological health of our planet (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


'Sixty Days is finely written and persuasively paints what may be - if climate change happens the way so many scientists fear - the best of all possible futures. Read it and worry.' SFX 'An elegance that manages to contain a what-happens-next vigour... It makes astonishing connections' The Times on 'Fifty Degrees Below' Praise for 'Forty Signs of Rain': 'The Brave New World of global warming ... A narrative that is rich in closely observed characters and a wonderfully vivid sense of place ... depicts a society sleep-walking towards the abyss ... His great achievement here is to bring the practice of science alive and to place this in an all-too familiar world of greedy capitalists and unprincipled politicians. Robinson's critique of science is heartfelt ... humans have gone from being the smartest animal on the savannah to being "experts at denial".' P.D. Smith Guardian 'A funny, convincing, intelligent book' Kim Newman, Indpendent 'Kim Stanley Robinson is freed by his medium - fiction - to deliver [a] message with passion and restraint ... A great book' New Scientist

Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 562 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553585827
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 27, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OI0G6Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,751 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Finish to the Series March 11, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For Kim Stanley Robinson fans, like me, who have read ten of his novels, Sixty Days and Counting is a big disappointment. For Robinson himself, the book may be worse than that -- perhaps heralding a career crisis.

Robinson has two main problems. First, he has no new things to say. Second, for what he DOES want to say, the novel is not the best vehicle -- and so Sixty Days is awkward and ineffective.

But first, the good. Robinson is a great writer who combines powerful expressive skills with a passionate and insightful understanding of politics and philosophy. Moreover, he is a meticulous researcher who presents science by lifting the reader up, instead of dumbing the science down.

In addition, Sixty Days presents a detailed and compelling portrait of how a real President should behave, at a time when people are craving such a model. In fact, much of Sixty Days is simply political advice to a future Democratic Presidential administration. It is good advice, and that is perhaps the best that the book has to offer. You normally expect a Robinson book to offer loads of "Gee Whiz!" science, but because climate change has become so much more prominent in the public discussion than it was when this series began, most of what would have been fascinating science is now old hat.

Except for the politics, and without the science, Sixty Days is quite empty. The book might best be seen as a victory lap, or perhaps a "greatest hits" compendium from all his prior work. The first clue that Robinson was more interested in re-hashing prior work than introducing something new came when he started gratuitously recycling major character names like "Frank" and "Spencer" from the Mars series. But it turns out that nearly everything is recycled.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing December 28, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I agree with other reviewers that this is among Robinson's weakest and was quite a disappointment. Plot is weak. I am a big fan, thinking the three California's is his best work and the Mars trilogy is outstanding. But Robinson seems to be paying less attention to the things that placed him on my pedestal -- thoughtful review of possible futures, interesting characters, good hard science, understanding of alternative styles of leadership. I liked the first volume in this trilogy quite a lot -- Frank was not exactly a likable character, but he is an interesting loon, not unlike other academics I have known (I am an academic Economist myself). The second volume was not as good, and this volume was pretty terrible. All of Frank's eccentricities from the first volume (but one -- his like for the outdoors and primitive lifestyle) have disappeared or been trivialized. For example, an injury affects his brain function. He does nothing interesting as a consequence of his injury, then an operation fixes it. This is not the stuff that makes Robinson great.

Instead of crafting this like a literary exercise, objectively pondering the possibilities and lyrically leading the reader onward, this feels like an angry blue-stater releasing his frustrations through abstract wish-fulfillment. I am a very angry blue-stater, but the idea that everything would be better if only the right man were president does nothing to assuage my anger.

Finally, as an economist, I have to say it bothered me that Robinson wrote so extensively and ignorantly about the subject of economics. OK, you may think I am an apologist for capitalism, offended by his epiphany for socialism. No, that would be confusing MBAs with economists.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sixty Days to Nowhere August 7, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Robinson's books have always had strong ecological themes, and this, the final volume of his look at the global warming crisis, is no exception. Unlike so many other books that try and delve in this area, Robinson provides not only a look at what we might expect to happen to our world if our current production and consumption habits don't change, but what we can reasonably do about it.

This is, in fact, the strong point of this work, as Robinson envisions both a group of dedicated scientists who actively try to handle a myriad of different types of technological fixes and a newly elected President who gives far more than lip service to their plans. Many of the things Robinson describes here are both good science and show a good grasp of what is possible in the world of politics when the voting population can actually see and feel the detrimental effects (most of this was detailed in the prior two books). The economic costs of massive programs of this nature (such as pumping huge quantities of seawater into basins and back to the top of the eastern Antarctic) are not ignored, either, though I did feel that expecting a massive shift of dollars from military defense to ecological programs was expecting a little too much.

Unfortunately, the novel that above is wrapped in isn't much of a novel. We are presented with the continuing story of Frank in search of his briefly met mysterious love while still trying to live a feral life inside the city confines, and Charlie and his concerns about his youngest son. The whole incident of the potential election-rigging that formed a prime part of the last book is still here, but muted and almost buried under a somewhat far-fetched attempt to find and root out the super-black intelligence agency responsible for the plan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Visionary
Loved this trilogy. I will soon begin to read his other works.
Published 3 months ago by William T Serle
5.0 out of 5 stars Sixty Days and Counting, plus other books by Kim Stanley Robinson
Have not read as yet, but expect it will be as good as the two previous books in the series: Forty Signs of Rain, and Fifty Degrees Below. Have also read Robinson's Antarctica. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roy Forrest
4.0 out of 5 stars Wishful thinking for Progressives
A happy ending to the trilogy and probably a far far better result than we can hope to expect in the coming decade. But nice to imagine the possibilities. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars another spot on contemporary literary work from kim stanley robinson...
kim stanley robinson is one of my favorite contemporary scifi authors. his works like the red mars series are more often than excellent. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Read the whole trilogy!
Clearly written, apparently with a good scientific basis. Characters are alive and realistic. I used this trilogy to introduce several "literary" friends who had never... Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Ekdahl
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish it
(and didn't renew it is I could finish it). I never got interested in it. I still give it two stars because I think some people might enjoy it and because overall Robinson is a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by janemano
4.0 out of 5 stars A good end to an excellent three-volume novel
So it's a trilogy.

It's actually one really long novel with stopping places at the ends of each volume. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Ending of Trilogy
A novel about environmental catastrophe that ends well. The story is rich and detailed as in all of Kim Stanley Robinson's works, infused with Buddhism and technology. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Steven R. Staton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I loved this series. I didn't have a preference for any of the 3 books so I'm putting the same review on each. Read more
Published 12 months ago by TravelFairy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
KSR is my favourite writer. He takes global warming head on and, once again, he delivers. I highly recommend this.
Published 20 months ago by Rickey H. Moore
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More About the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of eleven previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica--for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers' Program. He lives in Davis, California.

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