Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain is not destined to become a summer blockbuster nor is there adventure on every turn of the page. If there was, I’d think the book was pretty weird and missed the point completely. As it stands, this is a really intriguing start to a trilogy with a powerful ending that matches the rest of the book.
There’s something about the goings on of Washington that really interests me, but I never had the chance to explore the scientific side to politics, or the very little that politicians seem to know about science. This novel sort of acted like a scientific/political procedural complete with meetings, offices, talking, and meetings. There was even some interesting stuff about biology that didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with the story, but was still interesting to read about.
Now I do have gripes with the book. Like Kingsolver did in Flight Behavior, there is some rambling on about things that really meant nothing to me. What does breast pumping and Charlie’s sex life have to do with anything? It was just black on a page to me at that point. In fact, most of Charlie hanging out with Joe at the park was pretty pointless to me too, and I forgot about until just now that Charlie, at one point, saved Joe from getting hit by a car. It just wasn’t important to the story and might as well have never happened.
Still, Forty Signs of Rain is my favorite of all the books we’ve read so far, and I’m actually interested in finishing this trilogy and picking up some other works of Robinson. Just the way people talked to each other about the science and the politics was very interesting and made me want to keep reading. It also succeeded at making climate change and global warming realer than any other book so far.