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Inter Ice Age 4

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  400 ratings  ·  37 reviews
s/t: A Novel of the Future
This is yet another of Mr. Abe's ominous configurations (Woman in the Dunes etc.) this time staking out its uncertain ideological imperatives in a grave new world submerged under water. In the beginning, however, Professor Katsumi who has a computer capable of making predictions, has no idea of the work undertaken in a still more dehumanized labor
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published 1970 by Alfred A. Knopf (NY) (first published 1959)
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Nate D
Feb 22, 2014 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the future
Recommended to Nate D by: a predicting machine
Program cards covering the following: the difficulties of judging the future based on a limited current frame of reference, the politics of clairvoyance, ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, fetus dealers, the memory and personality encased in the body, climate change, a murder mystery. However, despite the extremely serpentine plotting these disparate topics nessecitate, after about the first 1/3 I knew pretty much exactly where this was going given the synopsis on the back. On the other hand, se ...more
Adam Dalva
An absolutely unhinged delight - worth tracking down for sci-fi fans or admirers of Abe. The book is a string of surprising plot twists (it was published serially so I think this would have made more sense), veering from intellectual conversations of communism to a quite decent Raymond Chandler pastiche to a Philip K Dick Minority Report vibe to a grotesque horror in the Dr. Moreau vein, to finally, future fiction. It leans heavily on similes and the characterizations are lean (Abe admits this i ...more
Kobo Abe is one weird dude. This much I knew from having read The Woman in the Dunes and Friends. Those were both dark, strange, slightly paranoid, present-day psychological dramas with a strong dose of Kafka Flavor (tm) thrown into the stew. And Inter Ice Age 4 is all those things, with a startling science fictional premise to boot.

One of the joys (or discomforts, depending) of reading Abe is having almost no idea where he is going with a story. So, whereas the first third of Inter Ice Age is g
Marat M. Yavrumyan
Դե արի ու էս ճապոնացիներից գլուխ հանիր. սրանք ավարտ գրել չգիտեն ։))) Վերջաբանը չհաշված, միանշանակ արժե կարդալ։
Michinio Camorelli
This is not pure sci-fi... this also is neither solely philosophic or ethical-moral work. This is all together, written by a Japanese master! They say this one is not of his best novels, but I've read only one more by him (The Woman in the Dunes) and well - for me they are good at the same level, though are very different ones!
If you like weird science fiction, you'll like this book. I would warn, however, that the back cover copy reveals spoilers, IMO. But it's really hard to talk about this book without giving it all away. Here, I'm going to argue that this is an example of Post- Modern literature (PoMo), and leave the plot out as much as I can.

Unreliable narrator – check. Dr. Katsumi narrates the entire novel (except a very short prologue and a very strange epilogue). On the first page he says “I had the impressio
It's difficult to talk about Inter Ice Age 4 without going into spoilers, but here are a few general comments: this is one of those works of science fiction that drops in a whole lot of ideas instead of just focusing on one. The book can roughly be divided into fifths. While Kobo Abe tries to tie everything together, the first three-fifths of the book didn't feel cohesive while they were occurring, and the information dump taking up the fourth fifth, that attempts to reframe the narrative into a ...more
Michael Scott
As a prelude to this review, I was surprised to learn that Abe Kobo, better known for Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another, and The Ruined Map has also written sci-fi. Published at the end of the 1950s, International Ice Age (Inter Ice Age 4 in the able translation of E. Dale Saunders) starts from the premise that the irresponsible human race causes world-scale catastrophes and can only be saved by re-engineering the human species to integrate with Mother Nature. The catastrophe here is the m ...more
Many of the reviews I've read for this book emphasize Abe's prescience in picking up on global warming as a theme back in 1959, but I didn't find anything to indicate that global warming was more than a necessary backdrop for other themes as opposed to a theme itself. And within the plot the proposed explanations for rising sea levels focus more on cyclical geological patterns rather than rising man-made CO2. But this tendency to look at the past through the lens of the present's obsessions play ...more
wow. can't believe i still have an active account here. well then, my first review in about a year...

i've read four books by kobo abe so far, and i have to say this is the first time i was disappointed - i didn't love woman in the dunes, but i wasn't disappointed per se. inter ice age 4, on the other hand... i think i've just come to expect a bit more wisdom than 'handing the progress of human evolution over to a supra-national corporation will rob us of our souls'. which is not to say that it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brent Legault
I have read and liked many of Abe's novels. Strangeness piles up in them and as his characters try to make sense of these strangenesses, the reader is usually treated to the feeling that there is no making sense of the Abe's worlds, that logic has been hijacked by bureaucracy.

This story, though, tried to make the reader understand where it was coming from. And that is unfortunate. Because where it was coming from was a little dull, made duller as it was told in great swaths of exposition.

Abe is
This was recommended by a coworker who though I'd like it and he was completely right. It's a little dated, considering it was written in 1970, but I think it enhanced, rather than detracted from the novel. It's science fiction, a mix of computer science and genetic manipulation. The story itself is a rewarding read, but the highlight of the book is Kōbō Abe's afterward. It ties everything together and then sort of blows your mind.
Jun 01, 2007 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-Fiction fans/Kobo Abe fans/Anyone who can find it
According to Wikipedia, this book was published in Japan in 1959, before Women in the Dunes. It has a strangely pertinent plot. Melting polar ice caps are causing the sea level to rise at an alarming rate, which for Japan is a major problem. So a secret group is genetically engineering aborted fetuses to grow gills and live underwater. It is a strange book that also includes a super-computer and the communism/capitalism conflict as well. I don't think it's in print and I bought it on' ...more
I picked up _The Ark Sakura_ on a lark, and have tried Abe on two other occasions. Both _The Box Man_ and now _Inter Ice Age 4_ have, unfortunately, lacked the energy and engaging quality that _Sakura_ possessed.

_Inter Ice Age 4_ reads more like an essay than a story -- or not even an essay so much as a protracted, rambling outline of an idea for an essay. Plot progression is spare, interrupted by long-winded, mechanical pontifications by every single character.

I will pass on Abe in the future,
The version listed here on GoodReads is called International Ice Age, but the real title of this book is Inter Ice Age 4. It's basically run-of-the-Mill sci-fi, not bad but in no way outstanding. Abe's goal of showing conflict between the future and present is an interesting idea, but the story ultimately suffers from the common sci-fi deficits: impossibly illogical technologies, one-dimensional characters, undeveloped connections to real human predicaments and emotions, etc.

This novel is no whe
I guess if you're writing about a forecasting machine, inevitably, there will be as much exposition as there is narrative but SO MUCH of this book is just catching the reader up on exactly WHAT THE EFF is going on, it reads like someone describing a movie they've just seen. "Oh! I forgot to tell you but it's important to know, his wife had an abortion earlier." I'm going to go ahead and say my favorite part of the book is the cover, a stylized fetus floating below the cryptic tagline, "A Novel o ...more
Mat Laporte
astonishing. like a cross between kafka and stanislaw lem + something i've never encountered before.
Liorah Hoek
Spannend en creepy en toch ontroerend.
Prämiss: Keine Eiszeit, sondern eine Warmzeit wird kommen, in der die Menschheit ersaufen wird. Der Rettungsplan ist schon ingang gesetzt und er besteht darin, dass man Föten von Abtreibungen aufkauft und daraus Fischmenschen macht. Besser, die Menschheit überlebt irgendwie, als überhaupt nicht, ist der Plan.

Der Groß des Buches dreht sich dann um den Wert des menschlichen Lebens (der glaube ich um die 3000 Dollar herum angesetzt wird...) und um die Frage der Menschlichkeit.
This book should be read by everybody, not just fans of science fiction. This book is not only about science fiction, it incorporates few genres in itself, detective stories included.

Written in 50s it still retains much of its impact and still takes on important questions, which we should think over even now. I'm not gonna post them, you should read and think for yourself.

Enjoy the reading!
Interesting and odd. I can definitely see a few seeds of The Ruined Map in this book (that probably being my favorite of Abe's that I've read), and it was very interesting to see a take on AI / predictive technology so many decades before it became an actual, prevalent thing. Even though it was slightly confusing at times, I enjoyed this one.
Stephen Butt Butt
A dizzying, paranoid, insanely imaginative document of the future controlling the present. This is probably Abe's least-known novel, and I'm not sure why that is.
This book was AMAZING. It wasn't until the end when the forecasting machine told stories of the future that everything came together to make a brilliantly dystopic book. Also, Kobo Abe's Postscript was very insightful and thought provoking. I feel lucky to have read this book.
Kobo Abe's sustained imaginative depictions of an existence mirroring our own never cease to leave me completely absorbed. The narrative in this one centres around the building of an omnipotent super computer and aquatic experimentation with an eco message.
A tough read. It goes from sci-fi, to murder mystery, so speculative fiction, to philosophy. Difficult to keep up with, but ultimately worth it. Take away from it what you can, and don't get caught up trying to piece together every last thread.
While not up to the quality of Woman in the Dunes this book had so many original ideas that I have remembered it from a reading from twenty plus years ago. Certainly worth the effort for any science fiction fan as well.
Ryan Dilbert
May 19, 2009 Ryan Dilbert rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aquaman, fetusphiles
Weeeeeeeird. I mean, there is a fetus being reached for on the cover, I should have known. But it went in directions I didn't expect and not in the awesome way either. Just kind of unsettling all around.
Colby Droscher
Defenitly not his best work. In the same vein as The Face of Another in that it's an extreme situation that's created purely for speculation. If it's sounds boring, then it will be.
Luis Correa
An incredibly strange structure that starts as some kind of scientific procedural that turns into a murder mystery and then into a dystopian vision.
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Kōbō Abe, pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe, was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer and inventor.

He was the son of a doctor and studied medicine at Tokyo University. He never practised however, giving it up to join a literary group that aimed to apply surrealist techniques to Marxist ideology.

Abe has been often compared to Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal, often nightmarish explor
More about Kōbō Abe...
The Woman in the Dunes The Box Man The Face of Another The Ruined Map Secret Rendezvous

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“The future is forever a projection of the present.” 2 likes
“Something whose connection with human experience we cannot grasp is bound to be frightening.” 0 likes
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