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Inter Ice Age 4

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  482 Ratings  ·  42 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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Community Reviews

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Jun 01, 2007 Mike rated it liked it  ·  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
Aug 22, 2008 claire rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2008 Russell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Dilbert
May 19, 2009 Ryan Dilbert rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Michael Scott
Nov 04, 2009 Michael Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, thought
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
Dec 04, 2009 Kakanier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dornbirn, scifi
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.
Dec 15, 2009 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 08, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, 2010, japan
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
Jul 15, 2010 Adman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,
Craig Jaquish
Jun 06, 2011 Craig Jaquish rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 04, 2012 flannery rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kcai
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
Mar 17, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 08, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Nate D
Feb 22, 2014 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  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
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!
Jan 20, 2014 Alanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 23, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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.
Marat M. Yavrumyan
Դե արի ու էս ճապոնացիներից գլուխ հանիր. սրանք ավարտ գրել չգիտեն ։))) Վերջաբանը չհաշված, միանշանակ արժե կարդալ։
Sep 11, 2014 Bbrown rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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
Gabriel Barab
Fascinating concepts with great potential but a convoluted plot that moves too quickly at some points and too slowly at others, as well as characters who are either emotionally stunted or utter sociopaths.
Aug 14, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, sci-fi, politics
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.
Sep 22, 2015 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Adam Dalva
May 24, 2015 Adam Dalva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Apr 24, 2016 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A noir take on the future where a murder mystery uncovers a forecasting machine that predicts rising sea levels and a new species of "aquans" being cultivated from aborted fetuses. The underwater communities of aquans help sustain human life on land until they seek control of their own destiny instead of being subservient to ours. The author asks in the postscript if this is dystopian or if the aquans give us hope of survival.
Nov 28, 2015 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very weird but the translation is muddled and a bit confusing at times. looking forward to reading more from the author.
Apr 19, 2016 A.M. rated it liked it
Wow - another surprise read from Kobo Abe, this one more sci-fi/dystopic in nature. The reason I am only giving it three stars is because it wasn't an enjoyable read and - at times - even tedious. Then again, the author's purpose in writing it was not to inspire joy:

"Yet I shall have fulfilled one of the purposes of this novel if I have been able to make the reader confront the cruelty of the future, produce within him anguish and strain, and bring about a dialogue with himself."

Alas, if I had o
Bob Rust
Aug 06, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a complex story set in a near-future Japan threatened by the melting of the polar icecaps. The protagonist Professor Katsumi has been in charge of developing a computer/information system capable of predicting human behaviour. Fatally for him this system predicts his compulsive refusal to go along with his associates and his government in the creation of genetically engineered children adapted for life in the rising seas. Most of the novel narrated by Katsumi deals with a philosophical con ...more
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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...

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“The future is forever a projection of the present.” 3 likes
“Something whose connection with human experience we cannot grasp is bound to be frightening.” 0 likes
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