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Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, Sixty Days and Counting, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Galileo's Dream. In 2008 he was named one of Time magazine's "Heroes of the Environment." He serves on the board of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.
Antarctica in the 21st century serves as a site for scientific research, tourism, and industrial exploitation‘until a terrorist attack by environmental extremists calls into question humanity's right to invade the earth's last unexplored continent. The latest ecothriller by the talented author of the Mars trilogy (Blue Mars, LJ 7/96) builds suspense slowly, capturing the beauty of the icebound polar region and examining the motives of those who brave its inhospitable climate. This near-future sf adventure may solidify the author's appeal to a general audience. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/98.]
In the early 21st century, things are beginning to change in Antarctica. Scientists still come down to the American base at McMurdo to do research, but they now bump shoulders with tourists hoping to retrace the treks of early explorers. More seriously, with the world's oil fields almost depleted, multinational corporations are jockeying for position, conducting secret explorations for oil and spending millions to defeat the renewal of the Antarctic Treaty, which has reserved the continent for purely scientific research for half a century. And other, even more secretive groups apparently haunt the Antarctic outback as well: feral human societies and radical environmentalists whose motives are only partly understood. Antarctica is undergoing major climactic change, too, perhaps the most dramatic example of the global warming that has turned much of the world's former temperate zone into a steam bath. The Ross Ice Shelf has largely broken up and the enormously greater Antarctic icesheet may be about to follow suit. Robinson (Blue Mars) brings to this novel a passionate concern for landscape, ecology and the effects of the "Gotterdammerung capitalism" that he sees as the most serious threat to the survival of our species. His major charactersÄa U.S. senator's aide, a professional Antarctic mountaineer and a misfit doing grunt labor at McMurdoÄare well drawn, but ultimately the novel is about the land itself. Moving back and forth between breathtaking descriptions of the alien, out-of-scale beauty of Antarctica, gripping tales of adventure on the ice and astute analyses of the ecopolitics of the southernmost continent, Robinson has created another superb addition to what is rapidly becoming one of the most impressive bodies of work in SF. (July) FYI: Each of Robinson's last three novels, Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars, won either a Hugo or a Nebula.
"Forbidding yet fascinating, like the continent it describes . . . echoes Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air."--People "[Antarctica] should be included in any short-list of books about the frozen continent.... Compelling characters...a rich and dense story...Robinson has succeeded not only in drawing human characters but also in bringing Antarctica to life. Whatever happens in the outer world, Antarctica--both the book and the continent--will become part of the reader's interior landscape."--The Washington Post Book World "The epic of Antarctica. This is the James A. Michener novel of the South Pole. If the meaty one-word title didn't give it away, the writing would. The whole human history of the continent is here."--Interzone "Antarctica will take your breath away."--Associated Press "A gripping tale of adventure on the ice."--Publishers Weekly "Passionate, informed...vastly entertaining."--Kirkus Reviews "Robinson writes about geography and geology with the intensity and unhurried attention to detail of a John McPhee."--The New York Times Book Review