It’s an interesting experience to pair John Barnes 1994 multiple award-nominated Mother of Storms with Ian McDonald’s 2004 multiple award-nominated River of Gods. I read both during the same week, alternating between books in order to avoid story fatigue, and found the structural similarities uncanny, and the differences, including my reactions to each, vast.
It’s 2028, and a baby nuke explosion in polar ice (for a reality T.V. show, I think, but I’m not quite clear on it, to be honest) releases clathrate compounds that form a monster hurricane that spawns more monster hurricanes. People die. The tale follows a number of characters including: a vengeful dad, a reality T.V. hottie, a cardboard college boy and his activist girlfriend, a weather scientist, an astronaut in space, his weather scientist wife in the ocean, a businessman, and the president and vice president of the United States, as they seek to either solve the problem, save themselves, or profit from the disaster.
It sounds completely different from the super-tech, culture rich exploration of McDonald’s India in River of Gods, but allow me to list the similarities of these two speculative collages: Continue reading