Friday, February 09, 2007

Impending book

Kim Stanley Robinson's latest book is due out this month. It'll be the last of the Capitol Science Series of books. I'll repost book reviews for the first two books in the series:

In the first book, "Forty Signs of Rain", you spend most of the book wondering when the world is gonna end. When is the sky going to open up and wash us all away. There's a periodic chapter where they spell out in language most anyone can understand how the melting ice caps will cause the North Atlantic currents to screech to a halt or the action will move to some scientists who are noticing a sudden drop in the salinity of the water in some of their buoys but for the most part the actual action is slow. The main characters are a husband and wife who live in Bethesda, MD. She works at the National Science Foundation and you can tell from the description that the author really came to DC to follow the route she takes to work and got her breakfast and describes the office and statues in the courtyard. He's a scientist
working mostly raising his kid, but is also a part time advisor for some senator and advising him on environmental issues.
Late in the book there's a massive storm in DC. The ocean currents are pushing up the Chesapeake Bay and it's high tide and the storm hits and the water level comes up to lap at Abe Lincoln's feet at the Lincoln Memorial. If you've sat at Lincoln's feet and looked out and watched a thunderstorm roll in you get a better idea of how impressive that is. It describes the flooding of Rock Creek Park which runs from
near Lincoln clear up here to Walter Reed. It describes how they have to let the animals out of their cages in the zoo so they won't drown.

The second book, "50 Degrees Below", picks up right after the first. The bulk of the story focuses on Frank. Frank works for the National Science Foundation. Most people there work for a year and move on. Frank was scheduled to leave but was talked into staying at the end of the first book. But the guy he was subletting the apartment from came back, many of the homes around DC were ruined in the flood, so housing is so tight, and all his stuff is in storage, so he builds a tree house out in Rock Creek Park and lives there and in his office.
That's all well and good, but this is the winter where everything goes to hell. He's using his gear from expeditions to the Antarctic and at the worst of the winter he's still getting cold.
The storms around the world are dumping 50+ inches of snow in places and 70+ inches of rain in less than a day. A small island nation is flooded and the whole country relocates to their DC embassy.
Plus, Frank meets up with the strange woman in the elevator that convinced him to stay in the first book. She's a CIA spook in a bad marriage. She's been spying on Frank as well as a number of other people. Her abusive husband is uber-black ops and she keeps stealing beyond top secret information and feeding it to Frank. All leading to a confrontation near the end of the book.

The final book is "Sixty Days and Counting" and is expected to appear on shelves February 27.

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