Book Review: Forty Signs of Rain

40SignsOfRainby Michael D. Pederson

 

Forty Signs of Rain
Kim Stanley Robinson
Bantam Books, 355 pp.

Set in the nation’s capital, Forty Signs centers around Charlie and Anna Quibler—the name alone tells you that there’s a little humor here to help lighten things up. Charlie is an environmental policy advisor and work-from-home dad; Anna is a director of bioinformation at the National Science Foundation. The two Quiblers are the driving force and emotional heart of the story but I found the supporting characters to be equally fascinating. Anna’s co-worker, Frank, provides the cynical POV and seems to be Robinson’s outlet for venting his opinions on the state of the scientific community. Most interesting though are a group of Buddhist monks that have moved to Washington to lobby for environmental reform—their island nation is endangered by rising ocean levels. Add in a decreasing Arctic ice pack and a heat wave and you have the recipe for an eco-disaster novel. However, there are no apocalyptic storms destroying city blocks and hurling billboards and SUVs helter skelter; it’s not that kind of disaster novel. Instead, Robinson treats us to a leisurely-paced story that serves as a very intriguing introduction to a new series. Pure enjoyment.

 

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