This book concludes Robinson’s trilogy about environmental collapse, begun in Forty Signs of Rain and continued in Fifty Degrees Below.
Set in the near future, major climate change has already begun: freezing winters, melting icecaps, and rising sealevels. Senator Phil Chase has just been elected President and his aide, Charlie Quibler, must help the new administration tackle enviromental collapse head on. Frank Vanderwal, formerly of the National Science Foundation, follows his boss to the White House when she becomes the new president’s science advisor.
Robinson draws a frightening and realistic picture of how climate change could occur, and the inevitable denial and feuding in the human response. He is at his best when describing how scientists actually work, and somewhat less successful with the personal dramas of his characters. Robinson thinks big, not just in the global scale of climate change, but also in some of the possible terraforming countermeasures.