Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson

This novel portraits a number of people either working in Antarctica, or having connections to Antarctica, their lives, their philosophies, their friends. Through their stories, the author also recaps the history of the continent, namely the early explorations (Scott, Amundsen, and others). The story then culminates in dramatic events, that bring all protagonists together, and surprisingly ends happily.

Most of the Antarctic story takes place in NSF research facilities (that's the National Science Foundation of the US). The usual dichotomy of scientists (here called "Beakers") and regular people is nicely described. Also, the author succeeded in vividly describing the cold of Antarctica. What a difficult place to live!

First I thought, that the story is situated in the presence, but later it became obvious, that it's actually more like science fiction, in the near future. Especially the gadgets (satellite wrist-phones, solar-heated cold-suits) were probably not quite available in 1997.

This novel, while not that long, too me a long time to read. I found the book informative and interesting, if a bit slow, not a lot suspense, so other things in my life became more important. I was disappointed in the ending, where sabotage leads to a better world (in Antarctica). That was way too smooth, easy, harmonious, to be believable.

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