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The Ice People

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In this novel, Maggie Gee speculates about the survival of love between men and women in a frozen future world where children are rare, child-size robots run out of control, and homosexuality is the norm. Far into the the 21st century, civilization has broken down in the face of the deepening cold. An old man, Saul, lives in a disused airport with a gang of wild boys, who ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by John Blake (first published December 31st 1998)
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  390 ratings  ·  35 reviews


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Hilary G
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I've always loved science fiction (though I don't like that term much) and The Ice People encompasses the best that science fiction can do. The best science fiction isn't about ray guns and matter transmitters and warp ten (though those things are fun), it's about PEOPLE and what happens to them when things change, how they adapt to change (or not). There were many kinds of change in the Ice People – biological change (difficulty in having children), societal change (the segging), technological ...more
Melanie
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helen French
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sffh
An old man living during an ice age in the near future narrates his tale, explaining how humanity didn't see the big chill coming at first, then how men and women segregated as life got harder, how his relationship with Sarah fell apart, how he tried to take his son to Africa, where it would still be warm, how he ended up alone and unloved.

The main problem is that the main character is a selfish, misogynistic, lazy asshat. His partner is a harridan. In fact, according to the narrator, pretty muc
...more
Stephen Hull
I started this novel with the misconception that it was about climate change. That's kind of like saying that Middlemarch is about the coming of the railways or 2001: A Space Odyssey is about bad software design. Climate change is an element, an essential element, but it's most certainly not what the book is about.

So what is it about? Without giving anything away, it’s about the divide between men and women, between the young and the old, between the certainty of the past and the mystery of the
...more
Paulina
Terrible, awfully misogynistic and simplistic. The main character is a sexist asshole who falls for a woman because she is feminine, and, "not like other girls". The whole social milieu of separated sexes based on their differences - which is nothing but utter bullshit (girls are not good at math, like to take care of the house, men have to carry things...I have no words) - has aged horribly.

After about 100 pages still not much about the climate change or the plot, so I just threw the book out.
...more
Ralph Jones
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 20th-century
From what I can understand, this feels a bit like the movie Titanic, where Rose is telling a group of young adults about her tale living on the ship and meeting her love, and the tragedy that happened.

However, in Maggie Gee’s The Ice People, instead of a sinking cruise ship, we have a man taken hostage by a group of outlaws and they want him to tell stories. He spent his time telling the story during the ice age, where men and women live separately. Before that happened, the man, named Saul, had
...more
Kay Smillie
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book kept coming up as a recommendation on Amazon, given my browsing and purchasing history on there, and I eventually gave in and bought it. Thinking it was a relatively recent publication, it came as a surprise that it was released twenty years ago.

In brief, it is about the breakdown of society due to global warming which is turned on it's head by a sudden and unexpected ice age. A small number attempt to reach Africa, with the attempt to reach Ghana. It is safe to say that the journey i
...more
Grace Palmer, Novel Nights
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ice People, published in 1998 describes a 'near future,' a work of the imagination of how climate change will disrupt our world, how society might collapse, how gender wars develop, how infertility might rise.
Reading it, in 2019, I was struck by how prescient Maggie Gee is. Why I wonder is Cormac McCarthy's Road so lauded and this novel by Maggie Gee relatively unknown?

She's a very fine writer. The quotes on the back of the book: "It can be read as a terrifying view of a possible future...
...more
Joel Nichols
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
worldbuilding was interesting, but the constant switches from present to past took away some of the excitement of anything happening in the present of the novel; so the most interesting setting was quickly revealed to be a nowhere place where nothing was going to happen. Saul as a POV character was also too much for me--his gender regression was supposed to characterize him and help along the plot, but instead he just disgusted me. Would love to have switched to Luke's POV for last few chapters ...more
Marg
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as engrossing as I had thought from the comments and reviews. Slightly distasteful and long-winded though I usually enjoy post-apocalyptic scenarios! And he is such an idiot; self-obsessed and selfish! No wonder his wife left - and took the child! He's just so thoughtless! Not a nice book, but then people are not very nice, are we? ...more
sara
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: green
Really good for its times in terms of how it deals with global climate crisis, but everything else is kinda questionable and I absolutely hated. I hated the protagonist, I hated that everything was from his point of view (so entirely skewed), yet weirdly I wanted to keep reading until I reached the end. Still, I wanna wash my brain with bleach now, I feel so bitter.
Mary-Anne
Grim

Well imagined and beautifully written, but horrifyingly grim.
Might suit those with a taste for darker fiction. Personally I'd prefer a main character less oblivious, less obnoxious.
...more
Luke
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read, turning the world upside down and seeing what falls out.
Tanzey
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic dystopian tale of a new ice age and its consequences. The characters are real and the prose poetic. It was depressing but well worth reading for its contemporary relevance.
Virginia
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Oh my goodness. Where to start. I'm trying to process my thoughts and I really wish Gee had bothered to do the same. I think she took every idea about what could be going on in our dystopian future and mashed it together into one big jumble. This isn't too say that I didn't enjoy the book. I was nearly in the four stars camp, but as the story unfolded, I found my attention wandering.

Here's my problem. We know what's going to happen because it opens with our narrator Saul, alone in his dystopian
...more
Liam
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A little over a month ago, novelist Maggie Gee came to visit the University of Nottingham. I happened to be invited to two talks she was doing, one purely for Creative Writing MA students, and another, more 'open' one for the students within the School of English (although with a strong showing from the third years dystopian module). The latter was hosted by Dr Waddell, a tutor of mine. Both talks were brilliant, and Gee is effortlessly charming.

I picked up 'The Ice People' out of courtesy more
...more
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This sounded like an interesting concept when I spotted it in the bookstore. While the current preoccupation is with global warming and the melting of the ice caps etc, what if the earth actually got colder, and the Northern lands became uninhabitable? Suddenly Africa would come into its own. This is the main theme of this novel, but there are others along the way. First of all, the novel takes us a few years into the future, where society has been split - acrimoniously - along gender lines. Fer ...more
Lisa
Mar 14, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
I'm about halfway through this book and really struggling to finish it. I started reading it a couple of months ago. I just can't stand the main character I suppose. Hmm, nah, I just don't like any of the characters. The main character is weak and whiney. I have many colorful words to describe his "wife" but I'll keep this clean. I guess I'll just pretend the people in this story are the way that they are because the climate is very hot. I would like to know why the author chose to write from a ...more
Pamela Scott
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This counts towards the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016. The category is ‘A Science Fiction Novel’.

The Ice People took a while to get going but once it did I couldn’t stop reading. The novel reminded me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which I loved) at times when Saul, his son Luke and Briony are trying to find somewhere to live. The characters are very well-written, interesting and very real. I hated Saul at times which shows how human he was. The novel really picks up the pace when Saul, Luke
...more
Suzi
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers an interesting perspective on climate change and what the future may look like. Unfortunately I think Maggie Gee's point about our weather systems get lost amongst the dystopian world she draws. Through the unreliable narrator Saul we learn about the decline of human relationships as we know them and the rise of robots (initially designed to help with cleaning). The book is, in fact largely preoccupied with gender roles and the relationships between man and woman and not with we ...more
Fiona
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
3.5 stars. A futuristic novel with flashes of emotional insight, though at times I didn't find the main character entirely convincing. Also, there were just too many different ideas - global warming followed by a new ice age, infertility, segregation of the sexes, the rise of Africa and the fall of Europe, nearly-human robots who can talk and reproduce themselves (and eat animals and humans - she lost me at that point!) - and more. Well written though with a plot that carries you along, and thou ...more
Ellie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ado Mohammed
Nov 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
I feel that giving this book one star is quite generous, I wish I had the option of giving it half a star. First of all, the title " Ice People" is a bit deceptive, because the author didn't seem too sure if the coming ice age is more of a sideshow, rather than the main theme of the book. It seems as if the author wasn't too sure if she wanted the book to be about societal collapse caused by a new ice age, or some kind of robot war against the doves, or even a society falling apart due to variou ...more
sisterimapoet
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-2010
I like these dystopian novels. Not quite as good as Margaret Atwood, but still pretty thrilling and shocking stuff. I think I don't have the same idea of humour as the people who wrote the cover blurb, as I found it far more scary than funny. But I guess there was a wry smile or two at seeing familiar things warped a little and thrown back at us. ...more
Sharon
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Post new ice age type story. I got a little lost with the story it was very involved with the main characters psychological feelings about things that happened to him and the ending had no solution apart from the fact we would revert to savages eventually. Parts were very clever and thought out well, but I felt a lot more explanation was needed. Just my opinion
Elizabeth
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
A good read:
Not mind blowingly wonderful, but a good rip roaring story, which kept me hooked on a day when the Internet was being very "Chinese" and I didn't fancy going out. Starts with global warming and then the earth dramatically starts to cool down. I do rather enjoy these sorts of stories, just for simple entertainment.
...more
Cathy Wood
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING! What a fantastic book! A great story with characters who I feel I know like real people and such vivid scenes that I felt that I was there with them. Even now I can almost hear the ice creaking it's way towards the UK.

I went straight out and bought another Maggie Gee book.
...more
Yvonne
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not a big science fiction fan, but this book kept me reading even though the gender theme was a little too strong and stereotyped.
Melanie
Jul 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
gave up on this as the characters weren't engaging ...more
Susie
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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Maggie Gee is an English novelist. She was born in Poole, Dorset, then moved to the Midlands and later to Sussex. She was educated at state schools and at Oxford University (MA, B Litt). She later worked in publishing and then had a research post at Wolverhampton Polytechnic where she completed the department's first PhD. She has written eleven novels and a collection of short stories, and was the ...more

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