"Her sharply original history focuses on serum collected from indigenous communities and frozen during the cold war. Some samples have had a starry afterlife: one from the Belgian Congo, taken in 1959, later became the oldest trace of HIV/AIDS on record. Radin sweeps from the emergence of cryonics to the rise of genomics — and from burning ethical debates over indigenous rights to ancestral remains."
"Radin discusses the background of refrigeration technology and the curious connection between Christianity and cryobiology, and she adds information on the ongoing debate concerning the ethics of scientific exploitation and informed consent. What resonated with me most was learning how this vast collection of blood and tissue samples affects nuclear preparedness."
(Paige Williams The New Yorker
“In the era of global warming, modern science has entered its first ice age. With brilliant sangfroid and cool postcolonial discernment, Radin shows how the vast new ecosystems of frozen life that surround us give insight into our pasts and futures. A sanguine and utterly compelling story, Life on Ice reveals that the appropriation and mobilization of millions of frozen specimens—bits of persons—have accompanied and even made possible the globalization of biomedical science.”
(Warwick Anderson, author of The Collectors of Lost Souls
“In this deeply humane, imaginative, and beautifully written book, Radin provides a poignant and practical account of the profound questions of knowledge, ethics, and justice that result from the seemingly mundane act of freezing. When our blood and tissue can be frozen, how does it alter experiences of life and death? What are the appropriate uses of our newly immortal bodies, and who gets to decide? Life on Ice is essential reading for scientists, historians, and citizens who must grapple with the promise and perils of biomedical innovation, forensic investigations, and knowledge formation premised on access to life suspended and infinitely extended in frozen animation.”
(Jenny Reardon, author of The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge after the Genome
“Radin does more in Life on Ice than tell the lively history of twentieth century technologies of freezing, the implications for storage of blood, and the ‘latent’ life conserved within—she constructs sophisticated visual metaphors as her framework of analysis. Using language that correlates temperature with temporality, Radin reveals how scientific salvation narratives are co-constituted with settler nationalist narratives of progress. Both are predicated on hierarchies of social life in which indigenous peoples and other ‘primitives’ serve as raw materials for the production of Western nation states. Her tracing of bioscience genealogies will challenge attentive scientists to consider different narrative and ethical paths forward.”
(Kim TallBear, author of Native American DNA
"Life on Ice is a welcome contribution to the topic of biological collections and postcolonial science and technology studies. It combines careful historical accounts with broad-ranging interests, leading to a narrative that is rich in fascinating detail...It is written in a nimble and warm style that is distinctive for its lively language and extensive use of metaphor, even if the latter is a double-edged sword, as it can at times obscure the important message. Still, this book rewards the reader with a considered reflection on the unique challenges that the freezer—and the archive—present us with as they mediate the multiplicity and complexity of our lived time(s)."