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Forty Signs of Rain (Science in the Capital #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  2,741 Ratings  ·  307 Reviews
The bestselling author of the classic Mars trilogy and The Years of Rice and Salt returns with a riveting new trilogy of cutting-edge science, international politics, and the real-life ramifications of global warming as they are played out in our nation’s capital—and in the daily lives of those at the center of the action. Hauntingly realistic, here is a novel of the near ...more
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Bantam Spectra (first published January 5th 2004)
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Riku Sayuj

Glimpses Of An Ordinary Future

How would it be to live in the very near future? What will happen once we cross the rubicon, the point beyond which climate change overwhelms the Anthropocene and humans are no longer in charge of their surroundings?

We should expect high human drama under such extreme duress, right?


Daily life will carry on. That is what will happen.

So What’s New in The Very Near Future?

Extinction Rate in Oceans Now Faster Than on Land. Coral Reef Collapses Leading to Mass Ex
Aug 21, 2008 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
The first time I read this book I was not overly enamoured of it: I had read its sequel first then come back to it before waiting around for the "third" instalment to be published and after that read Antartica which seemed like it might be set before this one...which turned out to be i read the last one last but none of the others in the correct order!

Hence, having re-read Antarctica, I thought I would bash on through the 40, 50, 60 series and see how they looked as one long book.

The a
Robin Wiley
Have you ever seen the movie Day After Tomorrow where Global Warning almost ends the world and kills everyone in horrible ways? This is NOT THAT BOOK. For those of you that don't read KSR, his books are SO well researched and grounded in REAL science, they are called future history, not sci-fi.

The entire series takes place somewhere between tomorrow and 100 years from now. The north and south poles melt to the point that the ocean gets desalinated (less salt), and without the weight of the salt
I thought I should finally try some Kim Stanley Robinson, as he’s kind of a classic at this point. This was…huh. I’m not really sure what this was. It was the first book in a trilogy, certainly—I’m not sure I’ve ever read such a long book that was almost entirely setup. Seriously, almost nothing happened until the very end—though that end is very dramatic. I wasn’t particularly wowed by the writing—DUDE PUNCTUATE YOUR DIALOGUE DO YOU SEE HOW ANNOYING THIS IS KTHX—or the characters, either; Frank ...more
Wilhelmina Jenkins
I gave this book 4 stars because there were so many things I loved about it. First, it is set in Washington, DC, my hometown, during an ecological catastrophe. All of the lower lying areas are completely flooded, and the descriptions of the flooding were beautifully written and accurate. Second, the scientists and their discussions about their work and funding decisions were right on the mark. I loved them. The politics of legislative decisions was great as well, and would make good reading for ...more
Feb 07, 2009 Lobeck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kim Stanley Robinson does not know how to edit. Likely he could have combined this three book series into one book without losing much content. Alternatively, he could have retained the length of the story and just ensured that something interesting happened more frequently than every 150 pages.

The information about rapid climate change is interesting. The the politics around trying to intervene in environmental disaster, and the methods explored to achieve this make for an intriguing premise.
Sep 19, 2012 beatricks rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fiction-sff
I've been interested in Kim Stanley Robinson for a while, since I muttered something to my sister about wanting books that dealt with limited resource management and she mentioned his Years of Rice and Salt. Then on a much later ecological sci-fi (which I feel a pull to write myself) hunt, I discovered some loglines that made him sound like my beloved Ursula K LeGuin; the description of his Three Californias trilogy, to be precise. Plus, he lives in Davis! *I* know people who live in Davis! So I ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I have to admit to feeling ambivalent about Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain. This is another of my "picked up on a whim" books, in this case because I was in the mood to read a vaguely-SFish novel about what happens when global warming wreaks hardcore havoc on the planet. Sort of like The Day After Tomorrow, only in prose form, and presumably with a stronger story since it's after all written by a Hugo-award-winning author.

There are quite a few beefs raised about this book on its Amaz
Jul 15, 2012 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*mild spoilers*

Elmore Leonard once said “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Kim Stanley Robinson did not heed this advice, and I was able to skim long swathes of this odd book. As someone who lives in DC and works on climate change issues for the federal government, I was ready to love it. It turns out, however, that workmanlike descriptions of local color do little to leaven painstakingly detailed descriptions of bureaucratic tasks and conference calls. After a while I realized I o
Tom Nixon
**This review covers all three books in the 'Science In The Capitol Trilogy- the other two are Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days and Counting**

Where to begin with this compact, neat little trilogy? These three books are strange because I both liked and disliked them all the same time, which isn't unusual for me, but in this case it can be put down to a simple divide: I like Kim Stanley Robinson's writing, science and technology. In this particular trilogy however, I don't like his politics. We
Las primeras críticas que lei del libro es que era "Aburrido". Sinceramente me parece una critica demasiado fácil ya que si no sabes de que va el autor es normal que te puedas aburrir ya que promete lluvia pero se queda en las señales. Por otro lado si te gusta el autor, no te aburrirás. Stanley Robinson es un autor que le encanta desarrollar la psicología de los personajes. Le gusta recrearse en los actos cotidianos y de la ordinaria situación de una mujer con el sacaleches te hace tres paginas ...more
Sara J.
Apr 03, 2015 Sara J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: KSR fans, climate change people
Recommended to Sara by: 'ave been eyeing this at my library for quite some time
"Weekdays always begin the same. The alarm goes off and you are startled out of dreams that you immediately forget. Predawn light in a dim room. Stagger into a hot shower and try to wake up all the way. Feel the scalding hot water on the back of your neck, ah, the best part of the day, already passing with the inexorable clock. Fragment of a dream, you were deep in some problem set now escaping you, just as you tried to escape it in the dream. Duck down the halls of memory—gone. Dreams don't wan ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Richard rated it liked it
Recommended to Richard by: HardSF Group
Apropos whilst reading a book on climate change, the New York Times just published a fairly in-depth article on investigations of sea level rise. The article, As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas , also has some interesting multimedia attachments. One fairly alarming tidbit I learned is that the ice piled on top of just Greenland would, if melted, raise sea levels by twenty feet.

The article also links to an excellent tutorial from the NGO CSIRO on Sea Level changes.

Book selecti
Dec 29, 2012 Tommi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book had intriguing characters- many of them scientists, so extra dear to my heart. it also had one of the best lines I've ever read: "An excess of reason is a form of insanity." Chew on that for awhile.
There’s a new genre of fiction that is becoming ever more popular – climate fiction, or cli fi. Plots are focused on the environment and especially our planet’s climate. Climate fiction is benefitting from the fact that dystopian and apocalyptic novels are super hot right now – or maybe climate fiction is helping drive that popularity.

The Galesburg Public Library’s Food for Thought book discussion group found the water shortage dystopian novel Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis to not be scie
Nov 26, 2012 Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim Stanley Robinson is best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy ( Red Mars , Green Mars , and Blue Mars ) as well as The Years of Rice and Salt . With the publication of his newest novel, Forty Signs of Rain , Kim Stanley Robinson begins another trilogy of epic proportion.

Set primarily in Washington, D.C., Forty Signs of Rain tells the tale of a young environmental policy analyst for a popular U.S. Senator, and his wife, a scientist with the National Science Foundation. The book detail
Diego González
Apr 26, 2016 Diego González rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After sleeping on the incredible Mars Trilogy for too long, I have tried my best to stay caught up with Kim Stanley Robinson. I am still lagging a bit but finally caught up to this wonderful book from 2004.

The way I see it, KSR basically laid out a psychic terrain in the Mars books, and has since then pursued the various topics introduced there in sundry ways. Though I have enjoyed aspects of books like Shaman and Galileo's Dream, I think what I have been missing is his excellent character writi
The writing is okay (quite readable but nothing special) and the idea is pretty good, but the core problem with this book is that nothing happens for the first 75%. You could compress the first 300 pages down to 50 and the book wouldn't lose anything in quality of story, because you'd still get to know the main characters as much as you need to. Instead, I now know them better than I know many of my cousins. Clearly, I should have spent my reading time on the phone with my cousins instead.

The fi
Jose M.
Dec 10, 2016 Jose M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novela entretenida, con varios personajes hilando una narración coral con el cambio climático de fondo, pero también sobre el sentido de la vida, los sentimientos, las miserias de la política... interesante sin duda
A few years back my friends and I started a book group. The book that really killed it was The Years of Rice and Salt. I won't revisit the horror except to say it was very bad. I tell you this because it was by the same author as this book. But this one sounded interesting so I gave it a shot.

It reminded me very much of Next by Michael Crichton. It was not quite as bad, but the lecturing tone was much the same. The major problem with this book (besides that the action doesn't start until about
Lynne Premo
I went into reading this not quite sure what to expect, considering the author's experience in hard science fiction. Although this book had a few slow spots, I loved it. For one, the book had a sense of reality that really brought the story to life -- the precipitating events are not only realistic, but they are happening and have happened. Also, Robinson GETS D.C. The politics of it, the relations between agencies and politicians, the balancing act that everyone walks between what can be done a ...more
Kim Stanley Robinson has made quite the reputatation as a science-fiction writer with his Mars trilogy winning numerous awards and accolates (all of them deserved).

Now, he’s back with a new trilogy. And while it would be easy to classify it as science-fiction, that might be selling the book short. Forty Signs of Rain is more than a science-fiction story, it’s a cautionary tale of what could go wrong if we don’t start paying attention to the environment.

What I liked about this book is there are s
Bon skin
Dec 04, 2016 Bon skin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good, very Kim Stanley Robinson. However I cannot find the next two books in this series either on borrowbox or at the local libraries aargh. So I have no idea what comes next although it obviously will have something to with climate change, science and politics. Hopefully the sequels become available sometime soon! I might request that the library purchases them since they have the first in the series already.
Mar 05, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalypse
I have to admit, I nearly gave up on this book four chapters in. It's a little all over the place, and to be honest, despite having one really strong female lead, it still felt kind of boys club to me--a book written by a guy for guys. Luckily, though, it was a book I needed to read and I had a deadline, so I kept plowing through, until suddenly I wasn't plowing anymore--I was racing down a steep hill on a super fast toboggan, holding on for dear life. And though there were still a few places wh ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a weak spot for Kim Stanley Robinson, as he can generally be relied upon to write about the awakening of "neutral"/"objective" scientists as political beings, and this is the most straightforward version of that story so far.

Because it is both speculative fiction and science fiction, there are some interesting history lessons contained in this trilogy, often regarding the intersection of science and party politics: e.g. the anti-Goldwater science lobby in 1964 and the subsequent anti-scie
Jul 12, 2007 Path rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I don't understand how this book got published. I usually put down books like this (boring) after the first few chapters, but every once in a while I continue just to confirm that it was indeed a lousy book.

Although Robinson seems to be competent at writing in this book he lacked any sort of focus. So much about the characters was developed for no apparent reason. I am still shaking my head as to what was the point of the book.

Don't bother with this one!
Jan 25, 2009 Carlos is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what's happened to the old Kim Stanley Robinson. I'm finding this book difficult to read. So far I've endured countless pages detailing ad nauseam the procedure a woman follows to pump her breasts and freeze her milk so her husband can feed their child while she's at work. The first time was interesting reading but I found myself skimming over when the damn breast pump featured in another scene. Another description of breast pumping and I will scream.
Barbara Barnett
Sep 23, 2016 Barbara Barnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The start of a trilogy, Forty Signs of Rain is a nearly prophetic look at the acute effects of climate change on the nation's capital and beyond. the novel is truly terrifying in the absolute veracity of the story. The entire trilogy should be required reading for everyone in D.C. and in state government.
I used to live in a small community with a "leave a book, take a book" shelf in the mail room. This was like, maybe two years of my reading? Anyway, there were lots of Kim Stanley Robinson hardcovers, but no sequels. So... That's what it is, for what it's worth.
May 03, 2016 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was....acceptable? It was fairly science-y, as expected, and we're kind of introduced to a lot of concepts and settings and characters. It's not quite as sharply focused as I had expected, although I feel like it was good setup for the series as a whole.
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Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, probably best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy.

His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the 15 years of research and lifelong fascination with Mars which culminated in his most famous work. He has, due to his
More about Kim Stanley Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Science in the Capital (3 books)
  • Fifty Degrees Below (Science in the Capital, #2)
  • Sixty Days and Counting (Science in the Capital, #3)

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“An excess of reason is itself a form of madness” 10 likes
“The battle for control of science went on. Many administrations and Congresses hadn’t wanted technology or the environment assessed at all, as far as Anna could see. It might get in the way of business. They didn’t want to know. For Anna there could be no greater intellectual crime. It was incomprehensible to her: they didn’t want to know. And yet they did want to call the shots. To Anna this was clearly crazy. Even Joe’s logic was stronger. How could such people exist, what could they be thinking? On what basis did they build such an incoherent mix of desires, to want to stay ignorant and to be powerful as well? Were these two parts of the same insanity?” 3 likes
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