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Mother of Storms by [Barnes, John]
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Mother of Storms Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1331 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CW6Q2M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be fair, I only read 67% of the story before giving up. At that point I was almost invested, and if I hadn't been reading it for the purposes of discussion I probably would have dropped it much sooner, around 10-15%.

A big problem I have with the text is that it's written in present tense. For a narrative, this really doesn't work. Especially for longer narratives. A short story, sure, but not a novel. The problem is that it gives everything a very immediate sense, an urgency. After a few hundred pages, it becomes tedious. A lot of the story isn't urgent either, it can be slow. In the beginning I had trouble following the cast of characters as there are quite a few, and they are just going about their lives doing their everyday stuff. Granted: One is an astronaut, another a brilliant scientist floating around the Pacific in her 'MyBoat', a very cool female President of the USA and her right hand man, another guy who is hunting for daughter's killer, a budding journalist, a famous actress and a typical american-bro esque college student and his ultra-liberal global-conscious girlfriend. The american bro also has a brother who works for NOAA and is in charge of figuring out the real deal.

That brings me to my second big complaint, there are too many characters, and no one protagonist. Each of them has their own story, their own subplot, and the over-arching plot is how the storm(s) affect each of them and how they deal with it. I'm also a little miffed that the antagonist is a super-hurricane(s). I mean, using a natural phenomenon or a situation as an antagonist does work. I really liked the movie The Day after Tomorrow, and Titanic is a great situational antagonist. What really is killing it for me is the lack of attachment to the characters.
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