Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Neal Stephenson writes Cli-Fi! Of course, what this means in layman's terms is that an author with a penchant for a LOT of research and a brave heart just slammed a close-to-home ecological disaster onto our table and has said, read it and weep.
It's very valid to compare this novel to KSR's The Ministry for the Future, too, in that it has not only an interesting and deep cast of characters over a relatively decent amount of time, near-future, but that the science comes out as a character of its own.
Not as bleak as KSR's recent novel, this one still shows the horrors of rising water levels, human displacement, border clashes, and some real technological solutions that are generally dismissed now because mass-scale geoengineering projects are SCARY. Politically, socially, militarily, it's all going to be a massive mess.
But Neal Stephenson pulls a lot of neat tricks here. From making one of the main characters the young Queen of the Netherlands (Dutch Shell Company), we are given a fascinating look at all this from a different viewpoint. The same goes for the Pig Ahab character in Texas, or the Squeegie Ninja who spends a lot of his time on the Indian/China border doing performative (Cherokee head games) maneuvers since no one wants to go so far as to start using bullets.
I really enjoyed these characters. A lot. Interesting, somewhat weird, but utterly essential to the overall plot that is very much Neal's bailiwick. I'm reminded of the things he accomplished in Reamde. The quality, as well.
This is easily one of the better Cli-Fi SF's I've read, and that's not simply because I have immense respect for the author.
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