Forty Signs of Rain

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9780007148882: Forty Signs of Rain

It's hot in Washington. No sign of rain. The world's climates are changing, catastrophe beckons, but no one in power is noticing. Yet. Tom Wolfe meets Michael Crichton in this highly topical, witty and entertaining science thriller.

When the Arctic ice pack was first measured in the 1950s, it averaged thirty feet thick in midwinter. By the end of the century it was down to fifteen. One August the ice broke. The next year the break-up started in July. The third year, it began in May.

That was last year.

It's an increasingly steamy summer in America's capital as environmental policy advisor Charlie Quibler cares for his young son, and deals with the frustrating politics of global warming. According to the President and his science advisor Dr S, the weather isn’t important! But Charlie must find a way to get a sceptical administration to act before it's too late – and his progeny find themselves living in Swamp World.

Just arrived in Washington to lobby the Senate for aid is an embassy from Khembalung, a sinking island nation in the Bay of Bengal. Charlie's wife Anna, director of bioinformatics at the National Science Foundation and well known for her hyperrational intensity, is entranced by the Khembalis. By contrast, her colleague, Frank Vanderwal, is equally cynical about the Buddhists and the NSF.

The profound effect the Khembali ambassador has on both Charlie and Frank could never have been predicted – unlike the abrupt, catastrophic climate change which is about to transform everything.

Forty Signs of Rain is an unforgettable tale of survival which captures a world where even the innocent pattern of rainfall resounds with the destiny of the biosphere.

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Review:

‘The Brave New World of global warming … A narrative that is rich in closely observed characters and a wonderfully vivid sense of place … depicts a society sleep-walking towards the abyss … His great achievement here is to bring the practice of science alive and to place this in an all-too familiar world of greedy capitalists and unprincipled politicians. Robinson's critique of science is heartfelt … humans have gone from being the smartest animal on the savannah to being "experts at denial".’ P.D. Smith Guardian

‘A funny, convincing, intelligent book’ Kim Newman, Independent

'Kim Stanley Robinson is freed by his medium – fiction – to deliver [a] message with passion and restraint … A great book' New Scientist

Praise for the Mars Trilogy:

'The excitement of the science is thrillingly rendered … a very impressive work of the imagination … The Mars trilogy is one of the landmarks of sf in the 1990s. The time may well come when it is regarded as one of the landmarks of American literature' TLS

From the Back Cover:

The world's climates are changing: catastrophe beckons.

It's hot in Washington. No sign of rain. While he cares for a boisterous toddler, Charlie Quibler works from home as environmental policy advisor to Senator Phil Chase, the author of a climate bill currently being debated. It’s a tough sell. According to the President and his science advisor Dr S, the weather isn’t important!

In her air-conditioned office at the National Science Foundation, Anna Quibler also has other things on her mind, such as the imminent departure of Frank Vanderwal, her best programme officer. What she doesn’t know is that Frank is scheming to hold back one very special grant application for his own private gain. Mostly she feels sorry for Frank. His private life consists of trying to crack the code of human behaviour.

Then Anna befriends the staff at a new embassy for the tiny island state of Khembalung, just arrived in Washington to lobby the Senate for help with their rising sea-level. The weather is very important to them. The Khembalung ambassador has a profound effect on both Charlie and Frank, which could not have been predicted. Unlike abrupt, catastrophic climate change, which could have been ...

And now there are signs of rain.

Tom Wolfe meets Michael Crichton in this highly topical, taut, witty and swift-paced science thriller.

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