Fifty Degrees Below

Fifty Degrees Below

by Kim Stanley Robinson
3.5 14

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Overview

Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson

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 Ice Age 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553902075
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/25/2005
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 251,003
File size: 543 KB

About the Author

KIM STANLEY ROBINSON is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of ten previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica–for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers' Program. He lives in Davis, California.

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Fifty Degrees Below 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Telltale signs abound for why it was boring. For example, prior to getting even 1/3 of the way through the book the reader will have been shown seven different bulleted lists of "things to do" and other administrative topics such as sets of choices the main character is considering. Also there are too many meetings where the purpose is something other than to move the plot along. How bad does it get? In two different sections the author actually describes different PowerPoint briefings, and he does it slide by slide including the speaker's description of the page contents, the speaker's remarks, and the comments of those seated at the table. The first spans only three pages. The second runs nine pages. In some sections the author lectures the reader. For example in six unnumbered pages of italicized, bold text at the start of Section VIII he gives us a summary of the medical research into a particular injury sustained by one of the characters. Personally I never wanted to know what the research shows regarding the effect of blocking oxytocin on the sex drive of the female prairie vole, but now I have been told anyway. I wish he had just worked it all into a few well edited paragraphs and delivered them in a dramatic dialog rather than as an extended exposition. Some of the science presented in conjunction with the story was really interesting. Unfortunately these tidbits were frequently presented as a very quick annunciation by the author of something that had happened rather than unfolded in good story telling. Not everything, but a lot of it. To me the story lines seemed like soap operas, and the main one had some odd aspects. Also to me the lifestyle choices of the protagonist were impractical and silly; the supporting characters were not convincing; and the pacing was not helpful. I also found the book to be somewhat hostile toward non-left-of-center viewpoints. Phrases like Nazi and "rapture enthusiasts, ready to take off and fly up to heaven!" contributed to my unease even as one to whom they do not apply.
UTmonster More than 1 year ago
The characters are lame and one dimensional. The author tucks in some basic human concerns, but its just a ruse to try to drag you through a mind-numbing lecture-as-story on the perils of our current domestic and foreign policies that have global warming implications. The do-gooder liberals are trying to save the day against an evil empire. There could have been so much more to this book. KSR squandered a great opportunity. I loved the Mars series. I want to burn this book as a protest for wasting my time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You must suspend all logic to follow this book. While temperatures in the Semi-Tropical zone reach 50F below zero, the ice caps continuing to melt. There is no explanation as to how this could happen. Most of the book is pure unsupportable doomsday fantasy with everything blamed on the all bad 'big guns and oil' republicans and the world being saved by the 'Scientific all wonderful and caring' democrats. This book would be more correctly classified as a Political Fantasy then as Science Fiction. I kept waiting for the plot line to appear. It didn't. You follow a bunch of unbalanced characters (the main character lives in a tree house in a park in Washington DC, A girl that works for some super secrete society and is responsible for tracking him, a mystical child that may or may not be spiritual, some truly unbalanced scientists) through their totally unrealistic days...eventually leaving them to continue with nothing resolved or changed, except that the wonderful democratic have just been elected.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok, so I'm a dork, a dork from DC. I love how he got all the little details about the city right (like the fact that you ahve to walk through the bus station at Bethesda to get to street level), and how Frank isn't quite likable, but still fascinating. I love all the political intrigue. Reading about how Congress talks about rebuilding DC, but never actually commits sufficent funds is timely and like a punch in the stomach. The writing is sublime, as always. His prose is outstanding and it's a shame he is pegionholed as a science fiction author. His work deserves to be read by a wider audience.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the not too distant future, global warming has changed the earth¿s climatic patterns in a dramatic way. Washington D.C. was fatally flooded and now the clean-up operation has started but the danger is just beginning. The ice caps at both poles are melting and the Gulf Stream waters are stalled which could mean another Ice Age, similar to the Younger Dryas, is imminent................. Frank Vanderwal of the National Science Foundation is working with other scientists to find a way to fix the climate. Unfortunately, politics comes in to play with the current president believing that the scientific community is unnecessary alarmed. However when winter comes to the capital city, temperatures plummet to fifty degrees below zero and other states and countries are hit hard by storms and freezing temperatures also. Scientists prepare untested experiments to stop the earth from entering another Ice Age............... There are too many scientific explanations about global warming, climatic changes and methods to reverse the effects of global warming for the ordinary lay man to understand. There is very little action and the characters discuss theory as if working a treatise but only in the last one hundred pages does any real action occur. The premise of the story is interesting and there are many intriguing elements but for the most part only die hard reader with a science background will appreciate the cautionary work of Kim Stanley Robinson............ Harriet Klausner