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18 December 2013

Paperback published Futura 1980.

I’ve always had a liking for Disaster/Post Holocaust novels and this is a good one. There’s sufficient scientific stuff to be very convincing, and not more of the information that you need to do that, so that the reader isn’t bored or taken beyond what they can understand as an ordinary intelligent layperson.

William Stovin (known as Sto) is becoming convinced that a new ice age is coming, and not at the expected glacial speed either. If all the information he’s pulling together is right, then they’re five/sixths of the way into one and moving faster all the time. With his friend Diane Hilder, coyote expert and also knowledgeable on wolves, he flies to a region of Siberia where a phenomen known as an ‘ice dancer’ has occurred and killed almost 200,000 people. With Sto is also an Alaskan pilot, half Innuit, called Bisby, a man who remembers many of the tales and legends he was told as a child, some of which may have an un-nerving relevence to what has now begun.

Because Sto is right, a new ice age is bearing down on Russia, America, Canada and other areas north of London and Washington, and in bare weeks, their populations will need to be evacuated. That possibility will already be too late for millions about to be entombed now for thousands of years in the ice, and over vast ice-fields the wolves will reign. What happens, with emphasis on Sto and the Asmerican President is a very solid read. Nothing unreal, just, this is what will happen if this does happen, and these are some of the choices we’d make and have to make. And some of those choices will have to be brutal. Better to save some than lose all. One of the things I liked most about this book was the brief prologue and epilogue that gave you both the early setting and a glimpse of the outcome, and the two maps too were excellent in allowing a reader to place themselves and the events. (This book also reminds me very strongly of both book and movie, The Day After Tomorrow. However The Sixth Winter was written well before either, and I think that the similarities are because both are based on scientific information about  a possible ice age given certain circumstances, and that if those do occur, the alteration in climate may also occur far faster than expected. When several books are written each based on factual data, it is not uncommon for them to appear mildly alike.) But this one was a very good read too. If you can lay hands on a copy it’s recommended.


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