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Fifty Degrees Below

Fifty Degrees Below
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
ISBN 13: 9780553803129
ISBN 10: 553803123
Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Spectra
Publication Date: 2005-10-25
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
List Price: $25.00

Bestselling, award-winning, author Kim Stanley Robinson continues his groundbreaking trilogy of eco-thrillers–and propels us deeper into the awesome whirlwind of climatic change. Set in our nation’s capital, here is a chillingly realistic tale of people caught in the collision of science, technology, and the consequences of global warming–which could trigger another phenomenon: abrupt climate change, resulting in temperatures...

When the storm got bad, scientist Frank Vanderwal was at work, formalizing his return to the National Science Foundation for another year. He’d left the building just in time to help sandbag at Arlington Cemetery. Now that the torrent was over, large chunks of San Diego had eroded into the sea, and D.C. was underwater.

Shallow lakes occupied the most famous parts of the city. Reagan Airport was awash and the Potomac had spilled beyond its banks. Rescue boats dotted the saturated cityscape. Everything Frank and his colleagues in the halls of science and politics feared had culminated in this massive disaster. And now the world looked to them to fix it.

Whatever Frank can do, now that he is homeless, he’ll have to do from his car. He’s not averse to sleeping outdoors. Years of research have made him hyperaware of his status as just another primate. That plus his encounter with a Tibetan Buddhist has left him resolved to live a more authentic life.

Hopefully, this will prepare him for whatever is to come....

For even as D.C. bails out from the flood, a more extreme climate change looms. With the melting of the polar ice caps shutting down the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, another IceAge could be imminent. The last time it happened, eleven thousand years ago, it took just three years to start.

Once again Kim Stanley Robinson uses his remarkable vision, trademark wry wit, and extraordinary insight into the complexity between man and nature to take us to the brink of disaster–and slightly beyond.

The Washington Post - Gregory Feeley

The novel is at its best in scenes describing the strange semi-wilderness of the park, where gibbons call to each other from the trees and other, perhaps more dangerous animals, also live, glimpsed occasionally by volunteers for the Feral Observation Group, who log sightings on the National Zoo Web site. When freshwater from the melting polar ice cap finally stalls the Gulf Stream, truly calamitous weather ensues across the Northern Hemisphere, and Frank's idyllic world turns deadly. A February cold front drives the night temperature dozens of degrees below zero, freezing pipes, interrupting power and killing poor people across the metropolitan area. The disaster is ameliorated only when smoke of burning buildings creates a smudge-pot effect over the city.