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The Shade, a set of micro-satellites designed to stop global warming, worked.

A little too well.

The Earth is icing over and no one knows how to shut the Shade off. Every attempt in the last thirty years has failed and humanity is nearly out of options to regain a world that isn’t covered in snow. Gabe Alfil may be the only person alive with enough expertise in quantum computing to solve the problem, but a hiking accident a decade earlier has left him paralyzed. In a world where most people scavenge the wreckage left in the Shade’s shadow to survive, there aren’t many resources for those who can’t go out and take them. But there is a solution to Gabe’s problem, if he’s willing to work with the military. Strapped into an exoskeleton, Gabe will travel with a military patrol to a lost computing facility where the off-switch for the Shade may lay. But a group of eco-terrorists has other plans. Between chases across the frozen landscape, kidnapping attempts, and computer hijacking, Gabe quickly realizes that not everyone wants to save the world. The question is, who can he trust?

270 pages, Paperback

Published May 17, 2016

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About the author

Chris Bucholz

4 books34 followers
Chris Bucholz is probably best known for his column at Cracked.com where he regularly shares interesting facts that have been arranged into lists, series, and indices. Mainly lists though. He also periodically gives advice which should never be followed. During the day, he works as a video game writer, and has written for Galactic Civilizations III, Sorcerer King, and the upcoming reboot of Star Control.

Chris is the author of Severance, which is terrific, and Freeze/Thaw, coming out in spring, 2016.

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5 stars
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29 (46%)
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14 (22%)
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Frank Errington.
738 reviews57 followers
May 8, 2016
Review copy

Every now and again I like to divert from my heavy diet of horror. Too much of a good thing and all that. When I read the description for the new novel from Chris Bucholz, I decided it might be a good time to read something outside my favorite genre.

Well, I'm glad I took this little side trip. I enjoyed Freeze/Thaw more than I did Chris' first novel, Severance, the story of a deadly conspiracy about a multi-generational spaceship.

Freeze/Thaw is the tale of a desperate attempt to turn off The Shade "the common name for the array of coin-sized disks floating at Earth-Sun L1 point, where it blocked a significant percentage of the sun's light. It had been placed there by a group of Dutch eco-terrorists almost thirty years earlier in an attempt to limit the effects of global warming. It worked. Though maybe, just possibly, a little too well."

Gabriel Alfil was left a quadriplegic following a hiking accident a number of years ago. Not being able to do much else, he spent his days learning about things that struck his fancy, one of those was quantum computing, which lead to his being one of the few people on Earth with a working knowledge on the subject. Fitted with a computer enhanced exo-skeleton, Gabe is now mobile and sent with a team to a remote lab where a number of quantum computers may hold the answer for disabling The Shade.

Most of Freeze/Thaw is about the journey and and the obstacles to be overcome in getting to their destination. In all, it's a solid story with exceptional character development which, despite it's science fiction themes, I found to be totally believable. It's a tale of double-crosses with a number of excellent twists. Not exactly what I expected, but a completely engaging story nonetheless.


Freeze/Thaw is available for pre-order as a trade paperback from Apex Publishing.

Chris Bucholz is a video game, humor, and third type of writer. His first novel, Severance, was published in November of 2014, and his weekly column on Cracked.com contains a mix of historical curiosities, short fiction, and spectacularly bad advice. He lives in Vancouver, BC, with his wife and son.
Profile Image for David Hakamaki.
24 reviews3 followers
July 19, 2016
Freeze/Thaw was an interesting book that looked at the world that was overcome by a global ice age. The story follows Gabe Alfil, a paraplegic who is the only hope to turn off the Shade. Environmentalists have lofted a grid of reflectors into space that have turned the world into a cold, brutal environment. Nothing the government has done in the past 30 years has worked and existence has crumbled in the northern climates to small pods of civilization eeking out a lifestyle of scavenging and survivalism.

Gabe Alfil is outfitted with a revolutionary body suit that allows him full motion and the ability to walk. He is hooked up with an elite military team that will take him to the heartland of America to find the group responsible for the Shade and to try and shut it down. His travels are documented and encounters show just how difficult life is living with the Shade.

The book is interesting. I enjoyed it, but some parts seemed to drag along for me. Gabe is a bumbling idiot at times, headstrong and naive. At other times, he is Albert Einstein, Sheldon Cooper and McGuyver. He is able to overcome monumental obstacles and devise something that can help him out of a jam with a pair of mittens, toothpicks and an old snowmobile helmet. It is a fast read, but never seemed to grab my attention to the point where I couldn't put the book down. I would give this a 3.5 out of 5 (because Goodreads doesn't allow for half star ratings).
Profile Image for Ryan.
Author 1 book39 followers
September 27, 2017
This was a fairly enjoyable read, but I thought the background (ecoterrorists attempt to slow global warming, but accidentally create a new ice age in doing so) was more interesting than the actual main plot of Gabe scavenging through the frozen wasteland of North America. Not a poorly told story, but not the story I was expecting (or wanting) to read.
11 reviews
December 26, 2020
Freeze / Thaw is an improvement on Chris Bucholz’s first novel, which already had a lot to offer. It retains his ability to create very distinct and memorable characters within complex worldbuilding, but it also has a tighter plot and eschews juvenile humor a bit more.

(He doesn’t completely avoid the juvenile humor, of course. He is a Cracked writer, after all. But it is far less distracting this time around.)

Much like Snowpiercer and Fallen Angels, the frame of the story is that efforts to combat global warming overcorrected to an ice age. It is different enough from those other two, though, to stand on its own. Unlike those other two, for one, the main characters are looking for a solution to end the ice age that drives the plot forward.

Well worth a read.
198 reviews
March 22, 2020
I made it about 1/3 of the way through before giving up. The world is very interesting, and I'd love to see a perspective on it that is not a mediocre white guy.[return][return]Our protagonist is an entitled mediocre white guy. The exact part where I give up is where he is literally talking himself into doing something he knows is stupid. This is annoying habit even if you're not in a post-apocalyptic world with casual killing. It is jarringly idiotic in that world.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 127 books311 followers
September 3, 2022
This is a book that hooked me with a great concept, placing the Earth in peril because of a well-meaning attempt to stop global warning - that has backfired on an apocalyptic scale. It had a great hero, a quadriplegic hiker who is turned computer genius during his recovery. While exasperation with Gabe's superhuman perfection detracted somewhat from the ending (he just became too much), it was still an exciting adventure with some great ideas.
3 reviews
March 10, 2016
I liked this story a lot. After reading Bucholz' other novel (Severance) and not liking it at all, I was a little wary of this one. However, the story grabbed me right away. I loved the premise of living on a frozen earth after a "solar shade" installed to reduce global warming couldn't be turned off. The action moved me along through the story, and the character development was well-done. Each of the characters were layered and seemed to grow/change with the circumstances - some for the better, some for the worse. I would have given it an even better rating if the ending provided more closure. You kind of have to write your own ending. It was almost like one of those super-hero origin stories where the hero is trying to learn his new powers. Usually, they struggle-struggle-struggle and near the end of the book, they finally get control and start to have fun/kick ass/see their purpose, etc. This book kind of ends before the hero gets there and so the ending is a little unfulfilling in that he spends most of the book as a fragile guy (both physically and mentally). I'd recommend this book to those who like post-apocalyptic or adventure stories.
Profile Image for Claire Luana.
Author 35 books626 followers
June 25, 2016
This was a fast-paced read in a not-too-far-off dystopian setting where the half the world has frozen over as a result of eco-terrorists setting up a sun-shield in space called The Shade. Gabe, our narrator, is a paraplegic who the government gifts with an advanced suit that will enable him to walk and journey up into the frozen United States to try to uncover secrets that could defeat The Shade.

I didn't know what to expect going into this book, and I definitely enjoyed it. Gabe is a great protagonist, sympathetic but not too depressing, and his self-deprecating humor was one of the highlights of the book. The interpersonal dynamics of the team are well developed and the dystopian world-building is great--almost a little too close to home! (I could definitely foresee this type of future).

The plot confused me a bit at times; I thought the story within the story didn't add much and the wrap up was a bit sudden. But overall, the colorful characters and twists and turns kept me turning pages--I read this in one sitting. Nice job Bucholz!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for A.F. Grappin.
Author 18 books4 followers
October 15, 2016
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but from the start, I was pretty intrigued. The concept of an artifically-created Ice Age was something, and the cyberpunk-like suit our main character is in has its draw. Gabe is irreverent, capable, and limited by his suit's capabilities while strengthened by them, so there's a good balance with him. Overall, it's not a bad book.

I do feel like the pacing was slow, and things seemed kind of repetitive more often than not. It wasn't bad, really, just not as engaging as I would have liked. It did seem to drag on for me, but the ending was good.
Profile Image for Claudia.
185 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2017
Advance copy review. When I started reading this book, it immediately draw me in. Easy to read and a very fascinating story. I wanted to know more about the historic background and of what had happened to the world. A bid more details on the background would have been great. The ending came a bit abrupt and leaves space for the readers imagination. It was a nice short read and I definitely will try his other book.
Profile Image for Michael Mardel.
Author 24 books9 followers
June 15, 2016
Freeze/thaw by Bucholz is an entertaining dystopian read set in lots of snow and ice, thanks to the Shade which is covering the sun. The Dutch eco-terrorists were too successful in preventing global warming. Gabe is the narrator and we learn how he gained an exoskeleton after being paralysed. He rubs his team up the wrong way when they set out to find a quantum computer but this changes until he's worth more to others. There's a little romance but on the up and up the characters shine through.
Profile Image for Binston  Birchill.
402 reviews17 followers
March 17, 2016
I received this ebook for free from LibraryThing early reviews giveaways.

Really enjoyed this book, especially the inner (and outer) monologue of the main character Gabe. Features a small party travelling through the frozen united states, filled with scavengers, to save the world. What could go wrong?
67 reviews
July 30, 2016
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fantastic book. Strong story line, really interesting premise, great character development and thoroughly entertaining. I was spellbound the entire time. Felt like I was in the story. I really hope there's a sequel.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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