Fifty Degrees Below
Kim Stanley Robinson is at his visionary best in this gripping cautionary tale of progress and its price as our world faces catastrophic climate change – the sequel to Forty Signs of Rain.
Frank Vanderwal of the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC has been living a paleolithic lifestyle in a tree house in Rock Creek Park ever since a big flood of the Potomac destroyed his apartment block. The flood was just the beginning. It heralded a lot of bad-weather news. Now the Gulf Stream has shut down and the Antarctic ice sheet is melting.
The good news is that Frank is part of an international effort by the National Science Foundation to restabilize Earth’s climate. He understands the necessity for out-of-the-box thinking and he refuses to feel helpless before the indifference of the politicians and capitalists who run America.
The bad news is that Frank has fallen in love – with a woman who is not who she seems. He discovers that their first meeting was no accident: he was on a list all along! Her ulterior motive is political and she expects Frank to spy for her. And thus Frank is drawn into the world of Homeland Security, and other, blacker Washington security agencies as the presidential election year heats up.
Then suddenly it’s winter …It’s winter like the ice age, fifty degrees below. As hellish conditions disrupt the lives of even the most important people, there is a convergence of meteorological and human events with Frank at the centre – catastrophe is in the air. This unforgettable story from the master of alternate and future history brings tomorrow into new focus with startling effect.