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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson continues his groundbreaking trilogy of eco-thrillers - and propels us deeper into the awesome whirlwind of climatic change. Set in our nation's capital, here is a chillingly realistic tale of people caught in the collision of science, technology, and the consequences of global warming - which could trigger another phenomenon: abrupt climate change, resulting in temperatures...

When the storm got bad, scientist Frank Vanderwal was at work, formalizing his return to the National Science Foundation for another year. He'd left the building just in time to help sandbag at Arlington Cemetery. Now that the torrent was over, large chunks of San Diego had eroded into the sea, and D.C. was underwater.

Shallow lakes occupied the most famous parts of the city. Reagan Airport was awash and the Potomac had spilled beyond its banks. Rescue boats dotted the saturated cityscape. Everything Frank and his colleagues in the halls of science and politics feared had culminated in this massive disaster. And now the world looked to them to fix it.

Whatever Frank can do, now that he is homeless, he'll have to do from his car. He's not averse to sleeping outdoors. Years of research have made him hyperaware of his status as just another primate. That plus his encounter with a Tibetan Buddhist has left him resolved to live a more authentic life.

Hopefully, this will prepare him for whatever is to come....

For even as D.C. bails out from the flood, a more extreme climate change looms. With the melting of the polar ice caps shutting down the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, another Ice Age could be imminent. The last time it happened, 11,000 years ago, it took just three years to start.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction by author Kim Stanley Robinson.

Listen to all of our Capital Trilogy titles.
©2005 Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Perhaps the foremost practitioner of literary utopias." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Read for the hearing impaired?

What would have made Fifty Degrees Below better?

Narrated by anyone other than Peter Ganim

Would you be willing to try another book from Kim Stanley Robinson? Why or why not?

Yes, but not if its narrated by Peter Ganim

What didn’t you like about Peter Ganim and Kim Stanley Robinson ’s performance?

The Narrator Peter Ganim reads like Steven Hawking's vocal software, with unnatural pauses, and so little inflection it was unbearable to listen to. I tried speeding up to 1.25... that helped a little, but in the end I wished I could return this book. Sad, because I love Kim Stanley Robinson.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Utter disappointment in the performance.

Any additional comments?

none

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Grant
  • Laurel, MD, United States
  • 12-26-09

Avoid this narrator!

The story and characters are interesting enough to keep me engaged but this narrator is driving me crazy. His cadence and mispronunciations make it seem he is reading this for the first time. Ugg!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Fayetteville, GA, USA
  • 04-14-09

Further disappointment

I bought the entire series at one time and now regret it. The plodding story line and the dull narration continues from the first book in this series.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I really dislike the narrator.

He over-enunciates everything to the point where I can't follow along. He takes so long to pronounce each individual word that it's hard to hear the whole sentence. I am struggling to follow along, and I really enjoy Kim Stanley Robinson's work. I'm going to stop listening to the audiobook, and pick up a paperback.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Reader's phrasing is terrible

What disappointed you about Fifty Degrees Below?

The story is only a small part of the novel. Too much time is spent on irrelevant, sophomoric stories about the characters that only trivialize them.

What was most disappointing about Kim Stanley Robinson’s story?

The first of the 3 books intrigued my enough to try the 2nd one, but I'm choking on it. I will not buy the 3rd book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His phrasing seems disconnected from any reasonable punctuation. At times he seems to read a set number of word, pause, read the next set number of words, and go on like this. The meaning gets constantly fouled up by this clumsy phrasing. He does not do this in other books of his I've listened to.

Any additional comments?

A real disappointment because the subject is interesting to me.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Addictive storyline

Couldn't put it down - drove around extra miles, went for long walks, was search for excuses to be by myself to listen.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Domestic comedy, serious underlying climate theme

Would you listen to Fifty Degrees Below again? Why?

Yes, in a year or two because I enjoyed so many of the scenes. Robinson's affection for his fictitious characters is contagious. And so much of the book rings true, at least in my experience with children, scientists and academics.

Which character – as performed by Peter Ganim and Kim Stanley Robinson – was your favorite?

Liked several but would have to say Charlie.

Any additional comments?

Several have commented on the reader Ganim. He narrates very deliberately and I know this irritates some people who want the narration to be very dramatic. I just focused on the content rather than the slow reading style. I think he did a great job on the dialogue, though, using different voices, inflections and accents. As to the underlying theme of the book, Robinson is able to insert important little treatises on climate change and on the role of scientists in society without coming across as pedantic. I liked that.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P. J. Bell
  • 05-13-16

More of the same

More classic Kim Stanley Robinson like reading a story designed to teach you about research papers. The narration does not help and the character while interesting (in there thought processes) are as people just... well... dull! If you are interested in science then go for it if not then probably leave it.

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  • little bobs mum and dad
  • 07-27-14

Frustrating

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would if the story would interest them. If you don't have an interest in ecological issues then you won't stick with the story past the bad narration.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really like Frank. We seem to spend more time with him than anybody else, and his epiphany and change in lifestyle is really interesting.

Have you listened to any of Kim Stanley Robinson and Peter Ganim ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Only the previous book in this series. The story itself is gripping, but the narration really lets the story down, just like in the previous book.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did get involved with the disaster on the Kimbali island. The race against time with the rising sea levels is very tense and involving.

Any additional comments?

If only there was a better narrator. His pacing is really odd, with misplaced pauses and odd phrasing. The robotic voice is really distracting, I don't quite know what the editors were thinking!