Monday, October 08, 2007


Global warming should be an ideal topic for science fiction. For one, science fiction does a nice job of talking about extreme events and the possible preventative action, consequence management and recovery. For another, science fiction does disaster quite well. And finally, science fiction writers love to show scientists as interested, committed, world-changing people.

With all of this I had high hopes for Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Days of Rain. While it had good parts, the author's tone was off-putting, to the point of my actively disliking the book. This is an impressive achievement as the author was trying to make points with which I basically agree. He promotes the value of public service and of science and he says we need to actively work on preventing and/or mitigating global warming.

His tone is hectoring, condescending and patronizing against nearly everyone (aside from Buddhist monks) who decide not to be scientists. Rather than trying to convince anyone, Robinson just slings a lot of mud. And then he has long passages to show how wise scientists are, only to wonder why everyone can't be like them. The writing in general is weak and the story is a bore. Stay away.

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