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~DOWNLOAD KINDLE ☯ The Long Winter ☨ THE LONG WINTER Is The Terrorizing Story Of What Happens When A New Ice Age Devastates The Northern Hemisphere, When Civilization Disappears Into A Voiceless Polar Night, When Men And Women Turn Into Wolf Packs In Their Agonized Struggle For Survival
I found this re release of this SF novel a few weeks ago, during the sales of an English bookshop in Brussels, Belgium In other words, were it not priced lower, I probably would not have bought it, or not immediately.The premise looked interesting climate fiction cli fi in vein of e.g Kim Stanley Robinson and others See, for example, his Science in the Capital trilogy Winter is extending its tentacles in northern Europe and America As hell freezes over, because the sun is giving off less and less heat, entire populations incl politicians are forced to move out of their countries and seek warmer shelter in the south, like Africa and South America Asia seems to be of no concern in this book, or I must have overlooked it Beware spoilers I ll just hide the next blocks of text view spoiler The focus lies on two couples which have one thing in common cheating partners Then again, women are considered products, submissive and such In other words, the classic women fall for macho types And so, at some point, they indeed switch partners And new love is established But anyway, the move to Africa then White people try to settle there, find jobs, etc There is racism, of course The book was written in the 1960 s Black people and white people don t like each other racism is alive in Europe as it is alive in Africa White people take on jobs, for which, in Europe, black people would be hired waiter, driver chauffeur, all those little jobs which require not much schooling or critical thinking You could fault the book or the author for the racist input, but racism is still alive, everywhere in the world it doesn t mean one must approve of it, of course , although there has been and still is resistance and opposition.Andrew Leedon, a journalist, and his new found love Madeleine David s former partner have fled to Africa, Nigeria Of course, as all is frozen up north, this also affects financial actions and trade Sterling is not accepted, so they can t access the money that was sent to them, and have to survive on the limited sum they could bring with them As a result, they can t do otherwise but rent a very cheap house in the slums Tightly packed groups of people, an unrelenting heat, not much security, a lack of basic comfort and infrastructure, and so on Totally inhuman conditions to live in.Both do manage to find jobs, albeit badly paid, and have to save a lot to be able to afford something Carol, Andrew s cheating wife, also fled to Africa, found a job social secretary view spoiler prostitution hide spoiler This is a difficult book for me to review, not only because it is a disturbing story but I also can t decide if it is prescient or whatever the opposite of that would be.The story of how the world reacts to a new Ice Age starting is very reminiscent of the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow except that it is British and was written 30 years before the film came out There is one scene where American refugees break down the border fence to get into Mexico that was very similar to scenes in the book, except that it was played for a cheap laugh and this book is anything but funny In many ways the book is a reflection on our difficult colonial history and it s legacy and continued effects on many countries Africa in particular still struggles with that legacy, which is appropriate to the book given that Nigeria is a major setting for the mid part of the section Our British history of racism with our former colonies is played out in reverse in this section, and I can t help feeling that our protagonists rather get what they deserve in this part, even if they never directly caused any of the issues played out in the book Africa, the dark continent was colonised in part because of the deluded notion of white superiority and the need to save the poor black people from themselves While this middle section is successful in making us feel uncomfortable, is it sandwiched between two parts that that don t work as well The first part sets up the love triangle between our three main characters and provides the background to the oncoming Ice Age, but it is a studied piece that turns out to be pretty dull if you are not into looking at the lives of white upper middle class people The final part go all in for action as the Nigerian Government decides to mount an expedition to the now frozen UK, using a squadron of hovercraft that have fallen into their hands This makes a kind of bizarre sense given the terrain the expedition needed to traverse, but is mainly in the book because hovercraft were a big thing in the 60s, which is the era in which the book was written There is a brief stop off on the island of Guernsey which seeks to highlight the kind of racism that the expedition is likely to face in London, which is their final destination The ending was somewhat disappointing because it was depressingly predictable what would happen when a white man who has lost everything finds a way to come home and regain his lost status In the end, our main protagonist may have learned something about how others have to live, but it doesn t look as if he is going to put that lesson into practice and try to make a better world with it All told, this is an interesting book to read but tends to fall back on racial cliches a little bit too much to make it a relevant one to today s issues with race and the nature of society. 1 2Mediocre, myopic post apocalyptic novel Altered solar radiation leads to mini ice age in northern climates England becomes arctic We follow 3 upper middle class Brits as they flee to Africa In a nice touch, Christopher has these wealthy Brits becoming the servants and concubines of their formerly colonized Africans.Too much time is spent on the uninteresting relations of the 4 main characters upper class sexual meanderings dull reading in the 21st century Not enough close to zero world building as in, how does one survive in the new arctic countries What happens to everyone What happens to animal plant life.In the final section, an African expedition on Hovercraft another nice touch explores the new frozen London.I recommend Wyndham s The Day of the Triffids for the ultimate post apocalyptic London exploration. Essentially The Death of Grass but with snow instead of a disease that kills grass The whole thing reads like the worst nightmare from the world of The Daily Mail, white people subservient to black people Swingers Shock after shock just keeps on coming for the upper middle class softies. The premise of this book is excellent a change in solar radiation leaves the world several degrees colder and in the midst of an ice age England becomes ice bound and government control collapses Those with money and opportunity flee to Africa, while looters and murderers roam most of England Central government attempts to retain control on central London, but the rest of the UK is excluded Beyond climate change and its effect on our ability to survive, other issues are covered Love and relationships run throughout the book, but importantly is the discussion of racism Those who flee the UK for Africa become second class citizens forced into servitude or prostitution It is not always treated sensitively as a subject, but does raise interesting questions which would have been even topical at the time the book was written.All in all a well written book, although the final chapters seemed a slight disappointment. An odd one The first part is a domestic drama, with trivial affairs and betrayals playing out in 1960s London while, in the background, a severe decline in the heat emitted from the sun causes society to incrementally unravel Part two takes place in Africa, where our protagonist, along with the wronged wife of his friend, flees to take advantage of the hotter climate, but finds himself subjected to the same humiliations and disadvantages that black men suffered in his own country Part three sees Andrew return to England with the Africans on a fleet of hovercrafts, persuaded to join a reconnaissance mission by the possibility of locating his ex lover Remember when hovercrafts were cool I do, just about.The domestic drama feels like it takes place over a matter of months, while the apparently concurrent social collapse seems to progress throughout many years a weird misalignment that it s hard to get over The social commentary, while well intentioned, betrays an extremely simplistic and reductive understanding of race relations And the characterisations are sketchy and fail to convince I was surprised to discover that John Christopher s The Death of Grass which I loved was actually written a few years earlier While superficially similar to The World in Winter, it is a much focussed, confident and mature piece of work. The most anemic, gutless, milquetoast protagonist I have ever read in this genre I thought maybe this would be the guiding motif of the novel the spreading cold of the northern hemisphere and its peoples, the loss of emotional heat, a Nietzschean disdain for the loss of willbut no, it never goes anywhere Competent prose, and not much else. After I read The Death of Grass six years ago I was blown away But I didn t go on to read anything else by him there didn t seem to be much else still in print But when browsing the local bookshop the other day, my eye was was caught by the striking covers on the Penguin Worlds series which included a reprint of The World in Winter I had to pick it up.This is another piece of apocalyptic fiction where we witness the collapse of society, this time because of a reduction in energy coming from the sun triggering another ice age But the story does not merely tread the same ground as The Death of Grass It did touch on the fragility of civilisation and how quickly it can all come tumbling down as well as exploring how, just as quickly, all our moral standards are forced to change But there was a definite shift in focus here as the author explores how such a catastrophe might affect the relationship between the 1st and 3rd world and how there might be a reverse in fortunes, effectively exchanging places.As northern Europe and America are plunged into perpetual winter they quickly collapse into barbarity The African and other countries quickly rise in prominence Those Europeans lucky enough to escape south find out what it is like to be refugees with next to nothing, facing discrimination and exploitation Will the African nations become the colonisers, the remnants of the north the savages The shifting relationships between the protagonist, his wife, his friend and friend s wife is also a central focus of the book He has to deal with upheaval in both his personal life as well as his place in the world at large.There were perhaps one or two flaws The pace at which the new ice age descended I find hard to credit There is also perhaps a lack of detail explaining how it happened and its wider effect on the world outside of the immediate experience of the protagonist But these are minor criticisms of an otherwise outstanding book that is can still teach us a thing or two around fifty years after it was first published. John Christopher, as always, is great for an engaging sci fi potboiler you burn through in a couple of days This one s an apocalyptic story about a calamitous weather event causing a new ice age which renders the northern latitudes inhospitable, similar to the film The Day After Tomorrow, and I enjoyed it a lot It s also Christopher s most nakedly political book, but discussing that will involve spoiling the entire plot, so duck out now if you want to read it.Scene London in the early 1960s Men are men and women are women, and the first act of The World in Winter, while briefly mentioning the news stories about the sun s radiation dipping, is mostly about the emotionally cold protagonist Andrew, his new friend David, and the love quadrangle that emerges between themselves and their trophy wives Carol and Madeleine scotch and soda, sitting rooms, suspenders, it s all very quaint in a Mad Men sort of way, with an emotionally stiff British slant As the scale of the crisis becomes clear and the British government introduces rationing, David a senior civil servant urges the others to emigrate to tropical climes, where he will eventually follow When the situation worsens, with a military cordon around a snowbound central London and the temperatures steadily dropping, they follow this advice, and the second act follows Andrew, Carol and Madeleine as refugees in Nigeria the British pound worthless, European migrants lucky if they can get basic labouring jobs, Andrew and Madeleine reduced to living in a slum The third act follows Andrew after the new normal has set in and he joins a Nigerian hovercraft expedition which is probing back into England for a possible re colonisation effort, attempting to beat the other African states in a sort of Scramble for Europe Yes, hovercrafts Britain thought they were going to be the Next Big Thing in the 1960s my only memory of old school Doctor Who is Tom Baker engaging in a risible hovercraft chase Now, there are plenty of people who consider this a racist book and I can understand why But I think it s important to separate product of its time racism i.e words like Negress from a fundamentally racist worldview or assertion This is, after all, speculative fiction So what is Christopher speculating, beyond the catastrophic events of a new ice age It s obviously a thought experiment in turning the tables, in asking a white reader how they would feel if they were a penniless refugee in a country that resents their presence even topical, these days but also in ultimately asking how a weak and impoverished Britain would feel if the shoe were on the other foot and it was Nigeria colonising London under the guise of aid and charity.The answer to both of those, of course, is obvious But it s the stuff between the cracks that makes it interesting, and while reading this in the 21st century you re constantly waiting for the shoe to drop for Christopher to say something terribly racist or portray Nigerians as hopeless buffoons He does brush up against this at times, though nothing depicted as negative Nigeria having a bribery riddled culture, an undisciplined civil service or a society rife with tribal affiliations is presented as something inherent to the race There was something I couldn t really put my finger on, though I did think for a moment near the end of the book that he d finally showed his hand Abonitu turned to look at him A black man Some years ago, in your Parliament, one of your leaders said that all Africans are liars But for Epimenedes paradox, I would say that also Abonitu, an African, says that all Africans are liars There is no paradox, really, of course To be a liar is not to lie with every word one speaks And we are murderers, too, and cheats and tyrants Some of the time On the face of it this seems outright racist, and no less so for Christopher putting the words into the mouth of a well educated Nigerian character But this segment comes directly after the expedition has just escaped frozen Guernsey, which has been turned into a petty little kingdom ruled over by a violent, ruthless white man Neither Christopher the author nor Abonitu the character believes that white men are not also capable of being liars, murderers, cheats and tyrants This may be a sci fi potboiler but you still need to read between the lines.It was during those last few chapters, after the encounter on Guernsey when Abonitu takes control of the shambolic expeditionary force, that it clicked for me I looked back at a book in which the brutish lout who now rules Guernsey turns out to have been the groundskeeper, tormenting his former employer and governor, a decent chap who s known simply as the Colonel in which a Nigerian princess is extremely kind and helpful to Andrew and Madeleine, while a lowly bank clerk savours their misfortune in which the two white British members of the hovercraft expedition are portrayed as rough drunkards with working class accents hope you can flogging well swim, china in which a British Army captain with only a slight Yorkshire accent does his unpleasant but professional duty in tear gassing the East End oiks who attempt to mob his patrol while he protects those lucky souls behind the barrier in central London in which Andrew fits quite comfortably into Nigerian society after he luckily secures a well paid job and gets a penthouse with paid staff.So, like most Englishmen of his generation, Christopher s chief subconscious prejudice isn t race it s class Even at the end of the book, when Andrew ultimately chooses to stay in London and help ward off African colonisation attempts after he has clubbed Abonitu on the back of the head and taken him prisoner he and Abonitu still speak to each other cordially and cheerfully as though they re on the playing fields of Eton in the months before World War I It s all very fundamentally 20th century British in a Wyndhamesque sort of way.And like the works of John Wyndham, The World in Winter both an interesting book and a very entertaining one dated but still immensely readable I think I polished this book off in two sittings I really need to track down the rest of his back catalogue.