Posted 20 hours ago

Cold People: From the multi-million copy bestselling author of Child 44

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In Hope Town, a ramshackle settlement one group of immigrants creates, the arts are "as important to survival as housing and food. Just as I followed Maggie O'Farrell blindly into her memoir based purely on my love of her writing, Tom Rob Smith beckoned me into his glacially cold dystopian future and I'm glad I followed. However, the focus is not just on the day to day survival of the humans who made the journey, but the future survival of the human race in a place in which they are not meant to survive. The narrator, soon established as Elliot Chase, then zooms out to address the reader directly, introducing the players—most importantly movie star Lana Farrar. In a way we may just deserve the fate depicted, a different species only allowing mankind to live in the coldest continent on earth.

Unlike many other apocalypse stories, Cold People does not discuss the initial attempts to establish a means of survival on the ice but skips ahead twenty years. Once he starts doing things though, Eitan steals the show and the novel ends in a semi-interesting way - except it’s a case of too little, too late, and I’d stopped caring long before that point. My thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for providing an early copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Genetic engineering plays an enormous role in Cold People and is highly controversial in our world as well. Song Fu declares on page 200, “‘For the first time in human history, we had made a world-altering discovery and then declined to alter the world with it.Shortly after Liza and Atto step foot on Antarctica we catch our breath and can’t help but feel for them of the hopelessness of their predicament. I found this a fascinating premise though the thought of those Antarctic temperatures made me want to swaddle myself in blankets. Maybe these virtues couldn't ultimately save them from extinction, but they could make the last decades of people some of the best. The start was slightly confusing but the rest of the book developed into an engaging dystopian read.

I also didn’t like that we don’t learn the purpose of the alien takeover and the complete surrender of humankind without question. Breadth has clearly been prioritised over depth in this book, and the richness of the character’s experience in this strange new world has been lost as a result.

We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006). Cold People follows the journeys of a handful of those who endure the frantic exodus to the most extreme environment on the planet. It is one of those books that I believe will reveal more and more ideas for consideration on repeated examination.

This is a story that really captured my imagination and the author has such a wonderful way with words that I was able to imagine his descriptions. The goal was to develop powerful beings that could withstand the cold and perform jobs that humans could not do in extreme climate. And of course, speculating about each of their futures, but I was wrong on all accounts (which is great, who wants a book to be predictable?Things become slightly more interesting once we’re introduced to Eitan, Yotam’s prize subject, hidden away deep in the ice, though it takes an age to get that character into play. When I reached the end of the book I felt a little frustrated because I wanted to know what the aliens were doing with the rest of Earth. They are all on chatting terms with the new President, who imparts news by inviting the population to gather round. Ooh I love a dystopian thriller and books that make me think about the ways in which we are messing up the planet. they could not] afford for a large portion of the workforce to be imprisoned when there were so few people left.

Once I’d got past the alien invasion (hundreds of space ships filling the sky) I really got into Cold People. OK, so that was a different story, but this one is just as simplistic and the characters just as thin. There are age limits, and those lucky enough to travel will journey in cramped and uncomfortable conditions.

Humans playing god and having it backfire is a classic staple of fiction and Tom Rob Smith’s version of that here is a promising setup of literary sci-fi - the execution though is very underwhelming. The time shift into the future diluted my compassion for Liza and Atto, they were just beginning a relationship and then suddenly they are like an old married couple – she’s busy saving people in the hospital wards and he’s off becoming the fisherman he always wanted to be, all while leaving their teenage daughter to stew in her own pubescent thoughts on her own journey of self-discovery.

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