Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Almost every time I read a KSR book, I'm either awestruck, amazed at the scope, or I have to say something silly like, "Every time I read a KSR book, it's the favorite book I've read by him!"
Well, guess what?
Seriously, though, this one has the added distinction of KSR actually having been to Antarctica, and plot aside, the descriptions of the 60 below landscape, the problems associated with long hikes or just plain living there at all, makes this one of the most vivid novels he's ever written. This is quite aside from the Mars Trilogy, as good as it was. This one obviously hits closer to home, with all our crazy and screwed-up personages making yet another mess of things.
Because, let's face it, no nation or corporation has a good track record when it comes to reckless greed, fear of the upcoming energy crisis, or just not giving a shit because "things are bad everywhere". What does this mean for Antarctica? For those oil deposits? Or every nation capable of staging an end-run around the international treaty? A treaty unenforced and possibly unenforceable?
It brings up other familiar topics from KSR's other books as well. Ecology is a big one. Antarctica is the last clean place on Earth. It's rough on us and that's the main reason why, but you and I both know that where there's a will, there's a way. But there are also people willing to fight for the love they have for the place, and this is their novel. The fighting isn't really done with guns, but there *IS* ecoterrorism going on. There are also some rather awesome ways of living with zero-impact on the continent. Political and economic ideas that deal with the full problem. And characters that immerse us readers fully in this gorgeous, stark landscape.
I totally recommend this novel for anyone in love with cold adventures. It's full of history and the present and has a strong eye to the future, in every aspect. Now it's time to close my mouth. Snow is getting in.
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