Read Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson Online


In the near future, Wade Norton has been sent to Antarctica by Senator Phil Chase to investigate rumors of environmental sabotage. He arrives on the frozen continent and immediately begins making contact with the various scientific and political factions that comprise Antarctic society.What he finds is an interesting blend of inhabitants who don't always mesh well but whoIn the near future, Wade Norton has been sent to Antarctica by Senator Phil Chase to investigate rumors of environmental sabotage. He arrives on the frozen continent and immediately begins making contact with the various scientific and political factions that comprise Antarctic society.What he finds is an interesting blend of inhabitants who don't always mesh well but who all share a common love of Antarctica and a fierce devotion to their life there. He also begins to uncover layers of Antarctic culture that have been kept hidden from the rest of the world, and some of them are dangerous indeed. Things are brought to a head when the saboteurs—or “ecoteurs” as they call themselves—launch an attack designed to drive humans off the face of Antarctica....

Title : Antarctica
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553574029
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 672 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Antarctica Reviews

  • Robert
    2018-12-28 15:09

    This the most perfect novel by KSR that I've read. The Mars books and Galileo's dream were more ambitious and perhaps achieved more but at the cost of some flaws. That often seems to happen when writers really reach out and try to grasp something big and complicated but I would encourage them to try it anyway...however Antarctica tackles a fair bit and succeeds every which way I look at it: narrative drive, characterisation, subtext, prose style (apart from an occassional jarring line here and there).Weird things are happening in Antractica: robberies, hijackings. Senator Chase's aide Wade is sent South to find out what is going on and so an adventure starts... As is usual for KSR, the story is told as a patchwork of perspectives from diverse utterly convincing characters. Sometimes this leads to problems of pacing and digression, but not here. A whirlwind tour of Antarctica, a cold weather adventure and some real surprises are mixed with tales of the (human) history of the continent and the usual concern for the environment, in a scenario that is all to plausible a view of the near future where the Antarctic Treaty has broken down and mineral exploitation is in the exploratory phase.KSR went to Antarctica and saw much of what he describes first hand - he describes it vividly and with proper awe. Few people writing today can describe landscape and its effect on people who live in it as well as KSR consistently does let alone with as much appreciation of its fragility and importance or concern for its imperilled future.And of course, here Kim is making the same points he does elsewhere with regard to ecology, sustainability, population, corporations, co-operation and self-interest. It's not subtle but it isn't detrimental to a good story, either.One of the characters is a Chinese feng shui expert who wrote minimalist poems in response to a previous visit to the cold continent. Some of these appear at the head of chapters and they get better as one progresses through the book. My favourite is:white white whitewhite green whitewhite white whitewhich, in context, is a delight.I'm not sure how well known it is that this book precedes the Forty, Fifty, Sixty series: it's miles better than any of those and all of them taken together, too. Read this one if you like KSR, cold weather or survival tales.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-05 14:08

    I love this book. It was the first I read from Kim Stanley Robinson, and I think this was the third time I have read it. The book mixes a lot of historical facts about Antarctica with very believable fictional plot and group of characters-very well done! And it's fascinating as well. I recommend it!

  • Jan Bednarczuk
    2019-01-19 13:11

    Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica is the rare sort of book that can make the walls dissolve around you while reading it, so that you are no longer surrounded by the comfortable environs of your living room, or bedroom, but rather are completely immersed in the world described by the novelist: in this case, the knee-weakening, heartache beauty of the frozen southern continent. I was not surprised to find, when reading the acknowledgments at the end, that Robinson has actually visited Antarctica himself, but in some respects it wouldn't matter if he hadn't. His descriptions were vivid and rang true, regardless of how true and accurate they were. (Finding out that they are indeed from his personal experience just adds that much depth.)Robinson is known for being a sci-fi author, but this is not a book I would consider to be science-fiction. It is set in the near future, but it took me a few chapters before I even realized that, and only because some of the technology he describes is not quite a reality yet. This is not a book about technology, or futuristic events. It is a deep and probing character study, set in an alien environment that happens to be a part of our own planet.The book slowly and methodically introduces us to the handful of characters that form the heart of the novel; a man working as a jack-of-all-trades at McMurdo Base, and the mountaineer tour guide that he is in unrequited love with, and the Washington, D.C. aide who is there to investigate the situation for his world-traveling senator. We meet these people, and see through their eyes, and hear their thoughts, and see them slowly exposed and unravelled before our eyes, so that, as readers, we understand them. We relate to them. We know them; either because they remind us of ourselves, or of someone we've known. And this character study is set in a world of ice, and snow, and glaciers, and geological structures you've never seen with your own eyes, but that Robinson will show you. It is not a heavily plot-driven book, although there is some eco-terrorist conflict that causes a fairly major crisis, towards the end. But I realized with some surprise, about halfway in, that so far nothing had really happened, per se, and yet I was still riveted. I wanted to find out more about these people and the world they lived in, and what would happen to them. I wanted to know more about their thoughts.I think it would be easy to finish this book and think that it was about ecological terrorism, or eco-rights in general, or maybe just a place study about Antarctica, and I think that it is all those things, but for me it was even more of a meditation on thought, and ideas, and how we place and ground ourselves in the world around us. Early in the book, a character muses:"It is eerie sometimes to contemplate how much we create our own reality. The life of the mind is an imaginary relationship to a real situation; but then the real situation keeps happening, event after event, and many of those events are out of our control, but many others are the direct result of the imagination's take on things."This is no less true in the fictional Antarctica that Robinson is writing about than it is in the everyday life of every human being on the planet. We are all creating our own realities every day, and in Antarctica, Robinson is showing this in action, for a small handful of characters that you will care deeply about by the end of the book. It is a beautiful, perfect piece of fiction, evocative of place and speaking truth about the human condition. Highly recommended.

  • Sara
    2018-12-25 15:08

    Kim Stanley Robinson writes the driest prose and the stockiest of stock characters, but I thoroughly enjoy his work. I think that perhaps the stock nature of his characters allows them to function as every men that the readers can then project themselves into. Robinson is brilliant at fleshing out reasonable arguments for different view points. In this case I really like the discussion about the Antarctic Treaty ( also typically don't like nonfiction explorer books, which is why I went with this over a nonfiction book for the GRI 7 contintent challenge. I think that perhaps my problem with nonfiction explorer books is that you already have a vague idea of how it ends before reading it and there's usually too many details of the "trudging" (in the case of Antarctica over ice) for my tastes. There was enough suspense about what was going to happen to make reading some of what would have been borring to me in a work of nonfiction about Antarctica worthwhile. I do confess to skipping some of the long detailed paragraphs about ice climbing.A note on the science fiction elements of this book: It was written in 1997 and set sometime in the early 21st century...possibly now or a few years from now. The science fiction elements are very minor (relatively minor upgrades to technology) and probably not off putting to non science fiction fans. A final note: Robinson wrote this book after participating in the Antarctic Writers and Artists program the United States National Science Foundation runs (

  • AdiTurbo
    2019-01-22 20:19

    DNF. The facts about Antarctica and past exploration of it are interesting, but as this is supposed to be fiction, it's not enough. The characters are quite colorless and you don't care what happens to them. The plot is very slow and badly written. Not for me, I'll opt for a non-fiction book about Antarctica or return to Matt Dickinson's wonderful thriller set in it.

  • Rebecca
    2019-01-13 18:07

    I have to say, Antartica is me coming back toKim Stanley Robinson after I gave up on him midway through his Washington Trilogy (at the end ofFifty Degrees Below for those of you keeping score at home). Like the Mars trilogy and the Washington trilogy, Antartica has themes of ecology, scientific advance and social organization. While it would be foolish to assume that every author's views match his or her subject matter, one starts to sense a pattern. Antarctica is that blurry line between contemporary and science fiction that makes it hard to classify. There are some minor tech advances -- face masks that can reproduce a high-def image taken from goggle cameras while getting a narrator's soundtrack, wrist phones*, laser ice borers, and photovoltaic clothing that can keep people alive as they walk through 50 degrees below, by using sunlight to add extra heat and melt water for drinking. (Though really, it would be more efficient to not bother with converting the sunlight to electricity, and convert it to heat directly.) The US government hasn't yet acknowledged anthropogenic climate change in the novel, which puts it a tiny step behind ours (but not by much). On the other hand, politics remains identifiable as turn-of-the-millennium, and aside from a few new toys, it feels like modern Earth. * Okay, given the size of the average cellphone, we could do this now if people wanted. We follow four main characters. X (nicknamed for the size of his parka -- he is Very Tall) is a slacker-academic, the kind of bright kid who could have made it in academia except for the inability to get through college without going crazy, who ended up taking a job doing scut-work in Antarctica for the adventure and staying because he fell in love with the place. Val, X's ex-girlfriend, is a trail guide down there, who loves the outdoors, but doesn't care much for showing idiots around a very dangerous place. Wade is the aide of Senator Phil Chase, a kind of Obama-figure, if Obama got his start in the California suburbs instead of inner-city Chicago -- kind of funny, as Obama had yet to appear on the national radar when the book was written. Phil (and Wade, IIRC) show up again in the Washington trilogy as a character's boss -- guess Robinson didn't want to let a good minor character go. The last POV isn't so much a character as a POV; Ta Shu is a Chinese geomancer, poet and nature host, and he is filming down in Antartica, and we get his narration as well. The big conflict of the book is centered around environmental issues -- the Antarctic treaty is being held up by the US government because There's Oil Down There, and some Southern Hemisphere countries are trying to get a slice of the pie. Here Robinson wins a brownie point from me. The environmentalists aren't always good -- in that they blow up some oil stations and jam communications, causing Val's trail group (already with an injured member and lost supplies from a previous problem), and a party containing X and Wade to get stranded in a spring storm. It's made clear that at least one person would have died except for good luck, despite the saboteurs' best attempt to do it non-violently. And, Carlos, the one oil station worker we get to know, isn't some Captain Planet Villain, out to make money on oil with no concern for the environment. He is legitimately concerned with the fact that the G8 nations have a big chunk of the pie and want to shut down the developing world, and does care about the environment (in that he wants to use technology to keep things clean while they drill). I found him sympathetic, to the point where X is watching Carlos and the saboteurs' lawyer* talk and realizing that both were angry at the same people, but were arguing with each other. * Who is perhaps the one character who Robinson could get away with writing a page-long speech without sounding like he was talking to the audience, since later, everyone tries to shut him up before he gets going again. Still killed me to read it -- too long, and too much of a rant. As always, I liked some of the themes of the book, and the setting work (Robinson spent some time in the Antarctic. It shows, in a good way), and the characters were likable. It was a bit slanted towards social and ecological politics, but not enough to impair the story of X and Val's attempts to make homes on a continent they have fallen in love with, the mystery of where the equipment has gone, Val's bad trail trip, and surviving a sabotage attempt in a place where the Environment is not your friend.

  • Juliet Wilson
    2018-12-30 14:00

    This novel published in 1998 is set in an imagined Antarctica of the early twenty-first centuryThere is an odd feeling of reading about a future that isn't quite the future but nor is it the present that it's somehow supposed to be. Other than that though, this is an excellent piece of speculative fiction - gripping and meticulously researched (Robinson spent time in Antarctica as part of the US Antarctic Program's Artist and Writer Program).This is an Antarctica fought over by African oil companies and eco terrorists while scientists continue their studies and an international group of 'ferals' try to develop an indigenous way of life on the continent. Meanwhile Val leads groups of tourists on extreme adventures, recreating the journeys of the original polar explorers. Stories of these explorers intercut the narrative in a very effective manner, giving the reader a sense of the real history of the continent.The narrative is very intense in places, there are long passages outlining scientific experiments, political manoeverings and an expedition that Val leads, which doesn't go to plan.The technology is worked into the narrative really well, wristwatch computers, recordings a trek participant makes for TV-masks and the intelligent fabrics that everyone's clothes are made from. Similarly the ideas around the ferals' construction of a potentially permanent way of life are well explored.It's a compelling read and one that makes the reader think deeply about the future of the world's last great wilderness. And as this month marks the centenary of Scott's failed expedition to reach the South Pole, what better time to read this book?

  • Kristian Bjørkelo
    2019-01-11 16:04

    Enjoyable, but far from Robinson's best work. The reading dragged on, as he spends a lot of time detailing the minutiae of living in Antarctica. This is of course his intentions, and as with a lot of his books Robinson tries to tell us something about our world, our environment and the ongoing environmental crisis. The state of the arctic and the antarctic are both good signifiers of how well we are doing, and we are not doing well at all.Antarctica is the story of a journey through the ice-covered continent, it is the story of the people who make their lives there, and it suggests alternatives to our current destructive lifestyles.These are topics that Robinson have dealt with often, and I can't help but think it is a lot better executed in the celebrated Mars Trilogy or his Washington / Climate trilogy.Still, if you're curious about Antarctica, but want to stay out of the cold, it's a pretty good read. Should be followed up by Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" for a comparison.

  • Barbara ★
    2019-01-18 15:07

    I really wanted to give this more stars but I just can't. Though a huge effort obviously went into researching and writing this novel, over half of the 672 pages is boring as hell and difficult to slog through. The scientific parts are too detailed and the average person would have absolutely no idea what they are talking about (including me). Oh I got the gist of the discussions but the minutia came across as the author just showing off his new-found knowledge. In some instances this information seemed like filler though a book with over 600 pages hardly needed filler. The point was made early on in these discussions and then just beaten into the reader with blunt force. After the first few instances of this, I found myself skimming these sections for the pertinent data and then moving on.I found I had to take notes just to follow the many plot arcs. At final count I found 9 different things going on (which explains the page count!). I found it very difficult to keep track of who was who (and what side of the equation they were on) as well as where they were specifically in Antarctica. I thought the maps were a nice touch but most of the events happened in places that weren't on any of the maps which was incredibly irritating. What's the point of providing maps if they don't help location people or events?I've always been fascinated with Antarctica and read any fiction I find relating or happening there so this book instantly drew my attention. But I was disappointed when the story went political. I'm sure most (if not all) Senators indulge in political double-speak but the conversations between Senator Phil Chase and Wade Norton were particularly difficult to read. I found myself saying "what the hell did he just say?" and subsequently passed over these passages quickly as after reading I didn't know what the heck just happened so what's the point of wasting valuable time floundering in political shenanigans.The character that irritated me the most (other than Jack, who should have been put down like a rabid dog!) was Ta Shu and his Zen crap. Though I really liked the ferals and could appreciate their willingness to actually live in such an unforgiving location on their terms. I do own a few other KSR books (Forty Signs of Rain and Sixty Days and Counting) but given my experience with this book and the political stuff that irritated me, I'm going to pass up reading these or anything else by this author. It's just too deep and totally not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, KSR is an amazing writer for those who enjoy political thrillers. I just don't happen to be that person.For those interested:1. The first 100 pages are very interesting and really grab your attention.2. The next 200 pages are incredibly boring and are painful to slog through.3. The following 250 pages are where the meat of the actual story takes place. This is very exciting and a quick read.4. And the final 100 pages or so are totally boring and go back to the political stuff.

  • Punk
    2019-01-15 18:06

    Despite my interest in the actual Antarctica, everything up to page 12 in this Antarctica was tremendously boring and I lost the will to go on.

  • Kathi
    2018-12-29 14:19

    8/10An intimate, dynamic portrait of Antarctica, chock full of history, science, and ecological and social commentary, all of which occasionally gets in the way of some engaging characters and interesting storylines. No one can say that author Kim Stanley Robinson doesn't do his homework; the research was extensive, including time spent on the icy continent itself. A thought-provoking read, even almost 20 years after it was first published.

  • J.G. Follansbee
    2018-12-30 16:01

    This review also appeared on Joe Follansbee's blog.I’ve been a fan of master science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson ever since the Mars Trilogy, which dealt with terraforming the Red Planet. Now that humanity is engaged in an accidental terraforming experiment on its own world, it was the right time for me to read Antarctica, one of Robinson’s lesser-known novels. I was curious how he treated the changes sure to come to the South Pole, because I’m looking at a similar scenario in my own current project, The Princes of Antarctica.Published in 1997, Robinson’s story takes place more than 50 years later, just after the expiration of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. The treaty and several other agreements set aside the entire continent as a nature and science reserve. But the politics of preservation versus wealth creation stalls renewal of the treaty, and a series of unexplained incidents sparks an informal investigation by an aide of an influential senator with progressive leanings. Robinson weaves his trademark mix of science, history, politics, and human aspiration into a sprawling narrative. Climate change overhangs the novel, making it an early example of the climate fiction / nature fiction genre.Much of the novel’s material derives from Robinson’s experience as a 1995 participant in the National Science Foundation’s Artists and Writers Program. In his book, Robinson has worked out every possible way to describe ice, ice fields, glaciers, mountains covered in ice, and being buried in ice. The ice-related words “firn,” “sastrugi,” and “nanutuk” are burned into the reader’s vocabulary. Robinson makes geology the marquee science of Antarctica, rarely mentioning the penguins and seals that dominate other fictional and non-fictional treatments of the South Pole.His characters are workmanlike: the lonely bureaucrat, the amazonian mountaineer, the misfit jack-of-all-trades, and the get-r-done administrator. How Robinson got one major character’s name past the editor–just “X”, nothing more–escapes me. At critical moments, some characters make single-paragraph speeches that go on for a page or more (in my EPUB edition) using language no human would use in formal conversation, much less casual conversation. Robinson explains too much and shows too little, at least when it comes to the human-on-human dynamic.Robinson leaves the best part of the story until the novel’s last third: a conflict between factions of “ferals,” an emerging culture of emigres from the capitalist north determined to make a new start in a fresh land. It’s a redux of Plymouth Colony and a hundred other utopian visions that Americans love. But he wastes an opportunity. Here’s the question Robinson should have asked: How does a warming world treat the last wild land on earth? Instead, he makes the fighting ferals one bit of a puzzle whose pieces don’t fit very well. And as one of the factions goes about destroying property and endangering lives, Robinson appears to suggest that the tactic might be okay to save the seventh continent from exploitation, as long as nobody gets hurt. Of course, somebody will get hurt or killed eventually, if we turn a blind eye to extremists using dynamite.Nonetheless, the idea of people going to huge lengths to “start over” in a wild environment is compelling. Robinson’s ferals are more than fantasy; there’s a small but vocal anarchist faction calling for “re-wilding,” expressed in part by learning and practicing stone age skills and beliefs. In The Princes of Antarctica, I’m using these ideas in a group of Antarcticans I label “primitives” or “prims” (a derogatory term in the dominant Antarctic culture) of a 22nd century South Pole. I like it as a way to explore how some humans might pioneer a new land where night and day are divided into six-month intervals. The way things are going, it’s definitely a possible scenario.

  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    2018-12-27 21:13

    Is 'landscape writer' a thing? Kim Stanley Robinson makes it his thing, and in this book he takes us to Antarctica, continent of ice and rock, the last great wilderness, a beautiful and deadly place.I've been there, just as a tourist during one of the nicest summers on record, but KSR nails the ineffable qualities of the place and the strangeness of light and distance. Robinson spent a season in Antarctica with the NSF's Artists and Writer's Program, and it was time well spent on all sides. By far my favorite character was Ta Shu, a feng shui geomancer and artistic resident streaming the landscape back to an audience of millions with a running commentary on its five-dimensional harmony and nano-poems. Ta Shu feels both entirely authentic and very sky white snowThere are more mundane people as well, and the A plot concerns the future of the Antarctica and the Earth, as scientists wrestle with evidence for the last warm period, support staff grumble under the feudal structure of science, oil exploration teams prepare to extract natural resources, 'native Antarcticans' try to stay below the radar, and ecological saboteurs plan a massive attack in the name of the planet. There's a sorta a love triangle between X, a blue collar General Field Assistant, Val, an elite expedition guide, and Wade, senator's aide, but the characters, while round and unique, feel somewhat muted compared to the landscape and the simply trials of getting anywhere alive on the continent. The only true shared culture of Antarctica; the early expeditions of Scott, Shackleton, and Amundsen, come through again and again, along with the disagreements between different political factions. Though this is science fiction, the issues that Robinson explores are still very much alive.

  • Veronica Shawcroft
    2019-01-21 19:08

    "Antartica" is a great read. I loved the descriptions of the land, the interactions of the various characters from one who has actually spent time there. The book is fabulous almost right up to the end. Then Mr. Robinson gives way to a desire (common to those who write about the environment) to lecture the reader on what should be done to 'save' the Earth. Now I don't say the environment isn't a critical concern for us as a species but there are venues for that sort of thing (and he doesn't even grapple with the elephant in the room, overpopulation. He just assumes that problem will somehow be taken care of- don't we wish) and talks about how we need a different social structure, etc., etc. Well, there is a long history of writers using fiction as a convenient soap box for their favorite hobbyhorse, from Robert Heinlein to Michael Crichton, but it is a little tedious for the reader and detracts from the number of stars we assign their books. That said, "Antartica" is still a great book for anyone who is fascinated with the continent and its history. I loved all the historical references and would have loved to be part of the discussion of Roland Huntford's biography of Robert Scott and whether it was fair or not. If you're not familiar with what's been written or said about Antartica and its various explorers, then these little posies to the fans will no doubt make you wonder what the heck they're talking about. word...this book is a great choice for fans of Antartica and her history but perhaps not so much for the general reader who may be puzzled by the historical and scientific references and bored by the lecture at the end.

  • Dorene
    2019-01-13 15:13

    One of Kim Stanley Robinson's eco thrillers! As the title indicates, Antarctica is set in Antarctica in the near future. As the global human population soars, Antarctica remains the last true wilderness still on the planet. With the expiration of the Antarctic Treaty, developed and developing countries alike look to the frozen continent for solutions to their energy and mineral resource needs. Scientists study the vast warming region for clues to geologic events of the past. Vacation adventurers wishing to recreate the experiences of the great Antarctic explorers pay large sums to be guided along those paths. And those who spend their lives working and living in Antarctica just try to get along. A series of odd thefts and equipment disappearances brings Wade Norton, aide to Senator Phil Chase, to the frozen south for investigation. Wade travels from base to base looking for clues, but becomes enchanted by the region. The path of his travels brings him in contact with guides, leaders, workers and others who've come to consider Antarctica home. Unknown to all, trouble is brewing (of course) and the future of Antarctica becomes questionable.Robinson fills his novel with breathtaking descriptions of Antarctica, capturing both the appeal and danger of the environment. It's the end of July right now and I find myself yearning to go snowshoeing or mountain climbing.

  • Lucy
    2019-01-11 16:13

    3 1/2 stars for this book. It's on a border line between fiction and science fiction, set at some unspecified time in the near future after the date it was written. Because it was written in 1998, that not-too-distant future is roughly now. GPS is widely used now, and wrist phones are available but not as popular as the now-ubiquitous cell phone. It makes you wonder about the current state of other items like "smart" clothing that helps regulate body temperature. But the futuristic gadgets are a minor component of this sprawling book. Most of the focus is on what Antarctica really feels like - the people, the communities, the vastness, the weather. The history of early Antarctic explorers is also threaded throughout. Overall, the continent came across much more vividly than the loosely sketched plot lines and characters in the book. Although the 650 pages went by fairly quickly, it would be better if it was shorter and crisper. I wouldn't recommend it to someone unless they were already interested in Antarctica. However it did interest me enough to want to take a look at Robinson's Mars trilogy.

  • Sean Jenan
    2018-12-31 19:55

    How to rate this book? On its own terms, probably a three-star effort. The knowledge of the author was excellent (his having lived in Antarctica was evident). BUT-- I didn't enjoy being lectured for the final quarter of the book. Yeah, I get it, humans=bad, corporations=bad, eco-freaks=good. But you see, I've been a boss for 15 years, and I don't idolize 'the worker' quite so much as the author does here. Which is not to say I don't appreciate my employees, and the work they do. But 'co-op'? Exploitation of the proles? Seriously, dude. Get a grip.Like many sci-fi efforts, the sci overwhelms the fi. Lots of science, much less in the way of motivation, conflict, urgency. And seemed to suffer from the common sci-fi utopianism, where folks can arrange themselves in perfectly-balanced heinleinian love quadrangles just because they have lasers at their disposal. I don't think human nature is quite as mutable as Friday would have you believe.Still, I'm not sorry I read it.

  • Jenna
    2018-12-28 16:52

    Part of me loved this book and part of me hated it. I have somewhat of an obsession with Antarctica, but when faced with my nemesis, Science Fiction, I balked a bit. The book was written in the late 1990's and set now-ish. If you can ignore the occasional weird "future"ism (everyone has fax machines! And wrist phones!), which are no fault of the author and every fault of the passage of time, and the overly in-crowd feeling of place-name-dropping (the author was a writer in residence at McMurdo, the big US base down there) the story itself was pretty good. Adventure, sabotage, history, and lots of environmentalist stuff thrown in for good measure. It made me want to take up hard-core mountaineering, live in Antarctica (off the grid) and fly in a blimp.

  • E. Newby
    2019-01-21 16:54

    This was a deep, enjoyable read. I've always loved the cold, quiet world of Antarctica (as depicted in books and documentaries--never having been there myself), and this book captured the spirit of the land perfectly. After reading this book, I want to go south even more, which is saying a lot considering how much I hate the cold. The characters were well rounded, representing the many different paths that lead a person to the end of the world. My only complaint regards the pace. There were times the story moved with the stealth and swiftness of a glacier. I suppose that represents a facet of the land, but it sort of resulted in more senseless chatter between the characters than I felt was necessary. Still, I would definitely recommend this book.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-08 12:58

    I had some difficulty getting into this book, but the pace finally picks up. This novel deals with an "ecotage" in Antarctica and fictional politics and factions. I enjoyed the historical commentary of Antarctica in the novel. An enjoyable read if you have time to read 412 pages and are patient.

  • Chris
    2019-01-01 14:06

    If you like this, go watch Encounters at the End of the World, on Netflix, to see Werner Herzog visit McMurdo and other places in Antarctica. Really enjoying this book so far. Robinson tells a good story and is a talented writer too.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-01-03 17:19

    A third science, a third cold, and a third hot chocolate. And lots and lots of Antarctic history.

  • Jonathan Strahan
    2019-01-18 19:59

    I am in a seeming minority that loves Antarctica. It's more tightly written and compelling than the Mars trilogy, but covers exactly the same ground.

  • Wendelah1
    2018-12-31 20:09

    As I'm still working on my challenge within a challenge, "Travel the World in Books," I decided to (re)read Antarctica: A Novel (1997) by Kim Stanley Robinson. The novel begins, "First you fall in love with Antarctica, and then it breaks your heart." It's a standalone but because two of its characters, a California senator and his aide, also appear in his Science in the Capitol trilogy, I think of Antarctica almost as a prequel. As with all of his near future novels about the intersection of science, environmentalism and social justice, there is plenty of fairly technical discussion by the characters about their work and what it means in the greater scheme of things. If these aren't your issues, or even if they are but you'd rather not read about them in your spare time, this might not be the book for you. On the other hand, two of the best characters aren't scientists at all. Valerie Kenner is a trek guide, which is handy for getting the reader out on the ice exploring, even retracing The Worst Journey in the World. A number of the travel sections are narrated by Ta Shu, a poet turned geomancer, who is broadcasting his journey and his poems to his audience of millions in skywhitesnowBefore Robinson began writing about Antarctica, he spent time there on a fellowship from the NSF's Antarctic Artists & Writers Program, and it shows. Like all of his novels, the characters are well-drawn and the settings are described in breath-taking detail. After reading Red Mars for the first time, I regretted not being thirty years younger so that I could get a PhD in anything that might get me on a manned mission to Mars. After reading Antarctica, a trip to the continent went on my bucket list, that's how beautiful his descriptions were. Of course, now you can Google Antarctica and find picture after picture, each one more astounding than the last. At age 63, unless someone comes up with a cure for what ails me, and the money to pay for a cruise plus airfare, a visit seems increasingly unlikely. I'll have to content myself with where my search engine can take me. This short piece from the NYT gives a concise and better written review than mine.

  • Charlie
    2018-12-24 18:01

    Definitely a classic Kim Stanley Robinson book. I put off reading this one for a while because I thought the setting might be kind of boring to me, as a mostly 'dead' place. But he does a good job of describing it as not that. Anyhow, I love the things about KSR that some people don't like - wandering non plot-driven sections, weird internal monologues, ponderings on ecology and society, roaming semi-romances that never really work out, scientists trying to do politics and having trouble, bizarre semi-feral tech using hunter gatherers. Some of it is just wish fulfilment I suppose. Since I'm an ecologist, i get annoyed with books that address the issue in a topical nonsensical way, which he does not. On the other hand he has the earth warming by 10F which is not likely in that time scale even though climate change is indeed causing warming at a relatively rapid rate. But who knows, right?It's written to be the near-future, I guess 2048 because that is when the Antarctic treaty expires. But it reads to me like it could be the next few years. Aside from the weird and possibly questionable photovoltaic suits. pretty much anything in the book exists or could exist, and as is often true with science fiction, smartphones and the internet of 2017 are significantly more advanced than the book predicts in 2048. Makes you wonder what is next in that realm. In terms of politics, it also reads like 2016... the 'roaming senator' some other reviewer said reminded them of Obama but I kinda peg more as a young Bernie Sanders sort, out of control ring wingers still slinging climate change denialism, attempts by the southern hemisphere to break out of colonialism, not quite a Trump figure but you can kinda squint and imagine it. Like many scifi authors of the 20th century KSR in many of his stories has the US descending ito a dark difficult period in the mid 21st century with far right overtones if not outright fascism in some of his other books. sadly prescient (Heinlein has some of this too). Wish we could just skip that part. But yeah, read it if you like KSR, if you don't like him don't read it, if you aren't sure I think Years of Rice and Salt is the best first one to read, or maybe the Mars trilogy which is what I did.

  • Donna
    2019-01-01 21:04

    I really enjoyed this book. Robinson's stories are always a treat. This one is good but not my favorite among his books. I really like how he looks at the workplace realities of different characters working at the scientific research facilities. I also liked learning about the difficulties of survival in the Antarctic environment. The main characters were very interesting. Val the beautiful, strong wilderness adventure guide was the strongest and most interesting character. X is just that, her X boyfriend still in love with her and struggling with a less than stellar job and a lack of confidence and direction, until things happen and he finds his role with her and within the Community. Wade is the Senator who comes to find out what is going on with Antarctica and the research stations. He also falls in love with Val, learns more about what is going on in Antarctica than he would ever expect. Ta Shu is a Chinese poet who comes there to tell his people about what is happening in Antarctica. They all are drawn into a dangerous unplanned adventure, stranded in the harsh Antarctica environment due to a sabotage attack. Read this to learn what happened and how they are going to forge a better society in Antarctica.

  • Bonnie Staughton
    2018-12-24 19:11

    "Antarctica" was an interesting book to read. I didn't understand all of the terms the author used to describe variations in the snow and ice cover but I got the idea of how dangerous some of them can be and how COLD it is on the continent. The story revolves around all of the countries that have set up scientific areas on the continent and the tourists who come to follow the paths of Antarctica's first explorers. Political problems arise with mineral rights and oil rights and who actually makes the RULES for the continent. Along with the political, environmental, financial, etc. problems discussed, there are stories concerning Val guiding tourists and the dangers they face, X worrying about class structure and Wade being the go-between with his politician and Washington. Quite an interesting book but you'll get COLD reading about the environment there!!

  • Artnoose McMoose
    2019-01-22 13:55

    I pretty much can't get enough of KSR this year, although I have to say, at this point I've read enough of his books to see common themes, threads, and character types. Occasional sabotage is being noted in Antarctica, and this book follows several characters as they make their way--- individually as well as collectively--- across the icy continent. People come to Antarctica for many reasons--- science, employment, or adventure--- and some of them end up with Antarctica in their hearts. Does the sabotage go too far, or not far enough? Can the group come together with some sort of new Antarctic Treaty? What is true in Antarctica is true everywhere.Robinson researched/wrote this novel while on a writer's residency in Antarctica. Now that I know that exists, I really want to do that. I have to ask myself the same question that Robinson asks all his characters: Why Antarctica?

  • Darryl
    2018-12-25 15:11

    After reading the geological Mars trilogy (Red, Green, and Blue), I wasn't sure if Antarctica was going to be another geological story. Unfortunately, this turns out to be another story whose focus is on the geology and the environment, instead of a true sci-fi near future story. Though I truly felt as though I were in Antarctica, I did not want to feel this way for 600+ pages. The characters seemed to be secondary compared to the landscape -- and the extended history review of former Antarctic explorers just did not grab me. I wanted this story to wow me, but it just reminded me of Red Mars (the mysterious Asian woman who is leading a group of ferrel explorers who want to get closer to the native livestyle). Don't get me wrong, I'll continue to read Robinson's novels, but maybe geological sci-fi just is not my cup of tea...

  • Misha
    2019-01-09 15:01

    As literature, characters, and quality of writing go, this book would rate only 2 stars for me. I actually had a hard time following what was real and what was fiction, if this was set in the present or the future, and if it was science fiction/fantasy or was realistic science/adventure.However, it's a novel about an optimistic 6'4" woman in Antarctica! That alone makes this a 5 star book for me! I genuinely enjoyed and appreciated the historical bits, too. They were excellent summaries with balanced opinions and did a great job of paying attention to the people more than the events.I finished the whole long book and only skimmed bits of it, so all in all I can say I liked it and even stayed up well past my bedtime one night to get my characters through some rough weather. But would I recommend it to anyone? No.