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The Ice People Paperback – May 1, 2008

3.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A fantastic book.' Mariella Frostrup'Excellent... intelligent, driven, imaginative, obsessive yet still gracious, one of our best.Exciting stuff.' Fay Weldon'Up there with Orwell and Huxley.' Jeremy Paxman'A gem of a book.' Rose Tremain 'A rattling good page-turning yarn.' George Melly'Maggie Gee is one of our most ambitious and challenging novelists.' Sunday Times'A gem of a book.' Rose Tremain'She writes elegantly, unsentimentally, expertly.' The Independent'Mordandly witty, unsparing, politically savvy, a beautifully clear and bracing nasty vision.' TLS

About the Author

Maggie Gee was chosen as one of Granta's original 'Best Young British Novelists'. She has published many novels to great acclaim, including My Cleaner, The Flood, and The White Family which was short listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002 (UK). She is the first female chair of the Royal society of Literature and lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Telegram Books (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846590388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846590382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,302,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An attempt at a 'dystopic' novel. Gee clearly believes: nonwhites were trying to invade Europe, but because of 'global warming'. Therefore, with unpredicted global cooling, whites are trying to invade Africa. Her scene-setting appears to be viewed from a not-too-bright Londoner from northwest London: bits about London are followed by France and Spain, though she doesn't attempt Africa. She does her best to deal with the controlled media's flood of scares. However, she thinks the media, and political action, reflect the real world. So we have bizarre juxtapositions: gangs roam the world, yet people go on picnics; what she thinks are 'basic services', such as clean tapwater, exist, while huge areas collapse and fail; governments 'run out of money'—the realities of fiat money are out of her range; news media report what worries people, and officials make embarrassed explanations; a women's party wins an election despite opposition. Her main characters are 'successful': the quarter-African hairy male does vaguely-described computer research, and the petite red-haired female is on top of her profession—which is something like a women's counsellor quango.

There are rather painful intrusions: clothing and styles, in the female way, and the effects of twenty years or so of the story on women characters, are detailed. Oh, for a new Churchill. Propaganda films of 'African history'. Airports are heard to have collapsed, though for most of the novel air travel is unaffected. International phone calls are unaffected. The medicos (pregnancy problems...) all have foreign names, such as Zeuss. 'LibLab' join the Conservatives—in a time of chaos, Gee thinks elections will continue. More or less irrelevant robots are invented: I wonder if Gee works in advertising?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh my goodness. Where to start. I'm trying to process my thoughts and I really wish Gee had bothered to do the same. I think she took every idea about what could be going on in our dystopian future and mashed it together into one big jumble. This isn't too say that I didn't enjoy the book. I was nearly in the four stars camp, but as the story unfolded, I found my attention wandering.

Here's my problem. We know what's going to happen because it opens with our narrator Saul, alone in his dystopian future - except for the the menacing boy savages - musing on how he got there. As he begins to tell the tale of his once happy family, Gee's job is to keep us interested in why it all fell apart. This requires us to feel sympathy for our narrator. Poor Saul, how could this have happened to you? I'm all ears. It's also helpful if we care about the society which has now been decimated.

Gee paints a picture of a society teetering on the precipice of climate disaster, but still not able to rally around the issue. I liked that instead of preparing themselves, politicians are preoccupied with a whole host of things that feel more controllable; fertility rates, the segregation of gender, political activism, robot malfunction crises. The proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic, but nevertheless a believable multiplicity of issues that human nature wouldn't allow us to ignore.

My problem was that Gee tried to give all these issues weight in the novel, but none was fully realised. I would have preferred if Gee had just picked one train of thought and fleshed it out a bit so we could have sympathized with what was going on. The Wicca (Sarah) were painted as crazy people, the men (Saul) were were pathetic and whiny, the Doves were a distraction. The whole lot of them were annoying.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Ice People took a while to get going but once it did I couldn’t stop reading. The novel reminded me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which I loved) at times when Saul, his son Luke and Briony are trying to find somewhere to live. The characters are very well-written, interesting and very real. I hated Saul at times which shows how human he was. The novel really picks up the pace when Saul, Luke and Briony are on the road. In one disturbing scene that made me shiver, the trio have taken refuge in a seemingly abandoned house only to be interrupted when they owner and their friend’s return. Luke seems to be charming these potentially dangerous men by singing in his beautiful voice when they are attacked by mutated creatures. The trio flee while the others are slaughtered. The Ice People becomes quite dark towards the end. My heart was in my throat and I almost couldn’t bear to read what was happening. The Ice People is a very different style than most science fiction novels, more literary but completely engrossing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extremely disappointing. I stopped reading after fifty pages and donated the book to Goodwill. The characters were caricatures and the plot a muddle. Too many different issues were taken up; none was explored in a subtle or provocative way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the few reviews of this book and was excited to read it, but will confess, it is one of the few books that I have purchased and refused to complete. The premise of the book is a dystopian future that is hinted at in the first few chapters but not developed. The main plot centers on the 21st century when things are pretty bad--societal instability is mentioned in an off hand way without being developed. People in Peru are living in caves. France has collapsed. Ghana does not share the gender views that seem to be causing declining fertility rates worldwide. These are really interesting but get little more mention than what I have written. It is almost as if the novel is giant note-to-self, develop these into a really great story. Instead the author keeps coming back to an unbelievable relationship between the main character and his sometime wife. The reader gets more insight into the new gender roles that have evolved, but as they strain against biological drives, these new gender roles are hard to swallow and not enough explanation is provided for the evolution of them to make the reader believe in them. Other character development problems occur that make the characters less than believable. Sarah refuses to get married but cares for the dying parents of the main character because she is pulled towards the ideal of marriage that they represent, but her own relationship is plagued by cliched arguments over who is going to do the house cleaning and not being understood. Other inconsistencies abound. Societies are collapsing but governments can fund research projects that result in fantastic new robot technology, robots that can clean the house (no more arguments about who is going to pick up). Diminishing resources in a dystopian future are employed for house cleaning bots so marriages can be saved? Not a classic, not better than 1984 as suggested by another review.
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