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Mother of Storms

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  908 ratings  ·  35 reviews
It is 2028. A strike to destroy an illegal Arctic weapons cache has a catastrophic side effect. Massive amounts of energy are liberated from the polar ice, suddenly and radically warming the Earth’s climate.

In the middle of the Pacific, a gigantic hurricane thousands of miles across is forming, larger than any in human history. A storm with winds of supersonic speed. A sto...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published May 15th 1995 by Tor Books (first published 1994)
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The Perfect Storm by Sebastian JungerTorn Away by Jennifer BrownTrapped by Michael NorthropMother of Storms by John BarnesTyphoon by Joseph Conrad
Storm Novels
4th out of 25 books — 9 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkePerdido Street Station by China Miéville
Nebula Award Runners-Up
71st out of 71 books — 61 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,534)
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Aimee
This book is crazy, disgusting society mixed together with incredibly well-researched meteorology. You wouldn't think that would make a good novel, but I couldn't put it down, and re-read it often.

I've read quite a few of Barnes' novels, and he clearly is very serious about his research. Mother of Storms has (as far as I as a layperson can tell) an incredible level of detail and accuracy in the science. Every plot point is backed up with huge amounts of science info-dump that somehow manages to...more
Invadozer Saphenousnerves Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
Out of the 3 other end civilization via weather, (Lucifer's Hammer-
Niven/Pournelle, Psychlone-Bear, Heavy Weather-Sterling) this one
takes the cake. Brushing into a handful of peoples lives all who are
connected by jobs, media, or relation they are directly affected by
events surrounding the bombing of the artic by the UN. This bomb
dropping not only knocks out the Siberian threat of war, it releases
a big methane gas pocket stuck under the ice causing heat in the
atmosphere and the worlds biggest hur...more
Angela
So, you're in the mood for some apocalyptic meteorology! Do I have a book for you. An accidental nuclear strike in the Arctic has released millions of tons of methane into the environment, melting the ice of the North Pole and disrupting ocean currents. This causes 200 mph hurricanes which wipe entire Pacific islands down to bare rock and kill millions of people, while a listless population sits glued to their virtual-reality goggles.

It is just... great/awful. Grawful? The content is incredibly...more
Melissa
I've had the paperback version since it was released in 1995, and I've re-read it and passed it back and forth to friends so many times in the intervening years, that my copy is quite tattered. This is an excellent read. Well-written characters that you find yourself really rooting for and a fast paced plot that keeps you up til all hours because you just have to find out what happens next. If you like well thought out near-future disaster books with characters you actually care what happens to,...more
Michael
I accidentally re-read this book and it took me a fair ways into it to decide whether I was pleased or dismayed to be doing so! The first thing I remembered was it was overly ambitious...too many characters and subplots. He tied them all together but I question their necessity. I really enjoyed the Carla/Louie parts with their almost casual transcendence into Singularity. Very Charles Stross Accelerando! However, the total lack of reaction to this eye-popping occurrence among the government and...more
Cameron Shea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Clark
The most amazing part of this book is that it was written in 1994. His distopian futuristic society is sadly coming true. In our world, human trafficking and women on webcams is very real and a huge billion dollar enterprise. Once virtual reality arrives, you know porn will soon dominate that too.

I am a bit surprised reading all the whiny reviews on this site, but they miss the point of Barnes portraying how screwed up their society really is. I think he painted an excellent picture of how bad o...more
Amy
Mar 25, 2014 Amy marked it as abandoned
Six pages in, I get to read about the bloody and violent rape and murder of a minor girl. Nine pages in, a lovely gentleman refers to a woman as, "some upper-level bitch." "It's gotta be some woman," that gives this prince his "shit assignments." Because obviously a man would see his worth, right? On pages 10-14 I get to read about some sex-obsessed guy fantasizing about sex with his girlfriend. During this time he muses with respect to her, "There's a lot of easier ass in the world."

I'm sorry,...more
Lawrence
One of my favorite near future scifi books of all time. Love the way Barnes thinks!
Robert
Eight years since I last read this? Time for a re-read.
Roddy Williams
Barnes is not one of those authors who finds a particular niche within the genre and fills it with novels of a similar style and content. His work includes the Galactic Human Society of ‘A Million Open Doors’ and ‘Earth Made of Glass’, the parallel universes of ‘Finity’ and here, a near-future disaster novel in which a small nuclear explosion in the Arctic releases a huge amount of methane trapped in the polar ice.
The consequence of this is that Hurricanes, of a size and ferocity never before se...more
DulleNL
Geweldig! Eindelijk het boek uit!

Om te beginnen had je de teleurstelling dat er een vleug cyberpunk in het boek zit (XV, DATARODENTS, BLA BLA BLA), en dan ook nog eens dat de storm naar mijn smaak veel te veel op de achtergrond wordt gedrukt door de schrijver. En er zijn geen hoofdstukken die het verhaal fatsoenlijk opdelen. En waarom is iedere paragraaf maar een pagina of 2? Met iedere keer een andere situatie en hoofdpersoon (leest heel chaotisch)? Waarom is er zoveel doelloos gezever? Waarom...more
Nicolas
Ce roman raconte donc comment, en 2028, suite à une attaque des forces de l’ONU contre un dictateur sibérien, des quantités incroyables de méthane ont été relâchées dans l’atmosphère, provoquant la création de cyclones surpuissants à la pelle, ainsi que la destruction de nombreuses villes/nations/personnes, et tout un tas de situations dramatiques propres à réveiller la fibre héroïque qui someille en chacun de nous.
Bon, j’ai un avis plutôt mitigé sur le bouquin. En effet, il y a de très bonnes...more
Lynne Premo
Mother of Storms is like a good vegetable soup -- lots going in the pot, melding together somewhat, but retaining unique flavors and textures. This story's cup runneth over with different subplots -- corporate malfeasance, artificial intelligence, bread and circuses, violent pornography, religious crazies, political machinations, college students trying to get laid, employer exploitation, revenge, global poverty and war, the Singularity, insane beauty standards, parent-child bonds, racism, natio...more
Ron
I'm a big fan of John Barnes' novels in general, but Mother of Storms wore me out. And, in the end, the things he spent the most words on in this long self-conscious-blockbuster of a novel just weren't the things I wanted to read about (for example, I could have done with a lot less of the escapades of Synthi/Mary Ann & Jesse, and more of some of the other characters).

But then, there are a number of potential novels in here -- on more focused on Di Callere would have outdone Kim Stanley Robi...more
Schnaucl
3.5 stars.

For a book about giant hurricanes causing massive destruction there is an awful lot of violence and graphic rape.

There's an awful lot of dry science sounding stuff.

XV sounds interesting but I'm not sure I buy that people would stay plugged in when they were in actual danger. Or at least, not that a huge percentage of people would do it. But then, I also don't buy that the government (any government) would permit that kind of technology without some way to interrupt for emergency broad...more
Deidre
What a mix of end of the world climate change, extremist capitalists vs extremist Deepers (can't really figure out what to call them, not liberals, not environmentalists, maybe one worlders?) vs extremist nationalists, with a soupçon (or maybe more) of pornography, murder and the kitchen sink.

Amazing. And I forgot to mention, when was the last time NOAA was the hero? Even though all the poor meteorologists don't make it though the storms, political chicanery, etc etc, nice change.
Judy
This was a slick story about climate change and the biggest hurricane anyone has ever seen. The hurricane starts off in the middle of the Pacific ocean, triggered by some nuclear explosions. Eventually it spins off many more hurricanes.

One of the things that makes this story really interesting aside from all of the carnage is that at this point in time (near future) the entire world is linked by a virtual-reality network, so everyone can experience the devastation as if they were living through...more
Gary
A military action results in rapid escalation of ocean temperatures which seeds superstorms that threaten much of earth's population. But as it turns out, this is more that just a disaster novel. It turns out also to carry a plot that ranges from the realm of cyber-reality to deep space. Despite such disparities, the story holds together well. A wide cast of characters hold varying interest, and while there is a startling turn-of-events about 50 pages from the end, the conclusion itself felt som...more
Jeanne Boyarsky
There were a number of stories within that tied together. I could have done without the rape stories. It's easy to imagine tying together the stories in another way.

The rest of the book was good. There was a lot of science in the book - hopefully correct science. The implications of monster hurricanes were a little too real. But they weren't as scary as they could have been.

It was a logical way to shore how a high consciousness could emerge. Without too many leaps of faith. And the ramifications...more
Joshua Bennett
John Barnes is a wonderful writer. This book is an ecological thriller of the best order. Storms gone mad, eco systems in jeopardy, and the rest of the world is a mess as well. It is a fairly fast read, and the characters are flawed that makes them more believable.

In these current times of ecological disasters this book gives a small glimpse into what may play out in our very near future, weather wise. The other points in the book, well, you can decide for yourself how close to reality that may...more
John Macenulty
The title is kind of lame. If I was not already a fan of John Barnes I might not have opened this book. Boy, was I glad I did.

The depth of this book astonished me. On it's face, it's another end-of-the-world, apocalypse novel. However, inside are some staggering ideas, both technological and philosophical.

Mother of Storms prompted me to change the way I think of God, and opened my eyes to concepts I had previously dismissed. I highly recommend this book.
Danny
Barnes' version of the near future is not so great. The US has a diminished role in the world, the UN is a powerful organization and humanity's reach for space has all but stalled. It takes quite awhile for the main characters to be introduced, and even longer for the 'Storm' to form. If you can get past the buildup this is a fairly decent read and ends with a promise of a better future for all the survivors.
Dennis
This was a pretty interesting read until the author tried to give us a recipe for saving the world now that Armageddon had been avoided (and, whew, just in the nick of time, we'd already lost billions!) I also liked his view of where the world was heading but I could have done with a lot less contemplation of the navel from outer space.
Chris
This book had some pretty interesting pseudo science ideas about hurricanes and super hurricanes, but the story was all over the place following about 10 different main characters. It was an interesting read, but not a good read, and I really didn't like the ending.
Georgine
This could have been a good eco/climate thriller. In a way it is well written, and the characters are interesting. But the author chose to put in an irrelevant side story of disgusting, humiliating sexual violence, described in gross details.
Derek Dewitt
A surprisingly interesting book - despite the crap title. Rich characters, a complicated yet believable vision of the future and now I can truly say that I know how hurricanes form. Another great offering from Mr. Barnes.
Jeremy Brooks
This is future-disaster-scifi. It was an entertaining and quick read, but not something that I will ever need to read again. Some of the themes in the book could be great books on their own, but are not explored fully.
Jon
It started out kinda interesting, but then blundered down a "nanotech is magic" path that (in my mind) ruins so many promising books.
Bax
Jun 15, 2008 Bax rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Super fun climate change disaster/near future SF novel, and looking more prescient by the day.
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John Barnes (born 1957) is an American science fiction author, whose stories often explore questions of individual moral responsibility within a larger social context. Social criticism is woven throughout his plots. The four novels in his Thousand Cultures series pose serious questions about the effects of globalization on isolated societies. Barnes holds a doctorate in theatre and for several yea...more
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