At over 700 pages another one of Stephenson‘s books asking for a significant amount of time. The last time I read a book by him was almost exactly a year ago*, Fall or Dodge in Hell. This one is all about near future climate urgency responses, where one Texas billionaire takes it upon himself to start doing geo-engineering by launching sulfur into the stratosphere to create a veil, cool the planet and prevent sea level rise. The creation of such facts, and the termination shock tied to abandoning it again before there are more such projects in place, makes it into a new geopolitical reality. That geopolitical reality doesn’t play out in the US but in the Sino-Indian relationship, and the countries making up ‘Netherworld’, all those places around the world that have sealevel rise as an immediate concern. No wonder then that a Dutch royal is one of the characters, making a crashing entrance in Waco, Texas. While the geo-engineering is along the lines of Eliot Peper’s Veil, the various layers of narrative are more along the lines of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future. Nice appearance of the performativity of war. With the geo-engineering backdrop informing the geopolitical narrative lines, it remains a humane and human centered story. It grabbed me quickly, and I enjoyed it a lot.
* This is a first post in the Books section in a year as well, so that previous Stephenson book is almost the previous posting. In between I have been looking at publishing book lists as a way of federating bookshelves. I aim to post more frequently about the books I enjoyed in a few more words than I put in those book lists. Following the book lists will give you a more complete (and timely) overview though.