The Sea and Summer, published in the US as The Drowning Towers is George Turner's masterful exploration of the effects of climate change in the not-too-distant future. Comparable to J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World, it was shortlisted for the Nebula and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best novel, 1988
Still under the control of the United Nations Consultative Parties, this utopian society established in the exclusive city of Ellsworth is governed by an international coalition of scientists known as ICS, more simply referred to as ICE. The governing laws have been set in accordance with the Antarctic treaty, which has continued to ban any exploitation of its prized resources for over a century. But the tyrannical global corporation known as GRANT, has begun to manipulate, extort and even assassinate key party members in order to take control of the most magnificent frontier on the planet for their own self-indulgence. With the recent discovery of an ancient and highly elusive Nazi military installment, members of GRANT’s abducted science team have learned to develop and exceed the technology that would have allowed the Third Reich to conquer the world during WWII. Together with their covert elite force known as the Lynx, they will use this technology of an unknown origin to once again continue the pursuit of absolute power.
In its capital city of Ellsworth, young physics prodigy Bane Elrick is drawn into conflict between Antarctica’s own governing body, the International Coalition of Science and GRANT, a powerful global organization that has seized control of the world’s economy, and now desires to take control of the planet’s last frontier...Antarctica. After inadvertently learning of its profound history and dark secrets, Bane is forced to make decisions that will impact his future, while struggling to save his loved ones from losing the only home they have ever known to GRANT.
Bane is guided by his mentor, Dr. Pierce Gödel, president of the Coalition and a renowned geneticist who lives confined to his self-made endodermic suit, which allows his paralyzed body to continue functioning as normal while preparing his revenge on GRANT for their failed assassination attempt which claimed the lives of his beloved wife and daughters.
Under his preceptor, world renowned physicist, Professor Sergei Isen, Bane learns of an intangible and extremely valuable isotope that can be used dynamically for inter-stellar travel, anti-gravity propulsion, or as a powerful weapon against all civilization.
Throughout his adventure, Bane learns the uglier side of politics, science and life from his friends, mentors and his father, Marlin Elrick, an architectural engineer who tries to guide him toward a more prosperous future. The ghostly memoirs of his deceased mother, a paleo-geologist, lead him as he recalls her cryptic cyphers from his childhood to unravel the secrets of Antarctica’s history, and his own destiny.
Markus Blackmore, a former UN Special Forces agent and commander of the Antarctic Regional Guard, shows Bane the darker side of humanity and how to fight for what he believes in. His nomadic neighbor, Donnar McKinley, a wise but eccentric old man, advises him through troubled times with what at first seems to be equivocal nonsense. All the while being driven by his passion for science, his native land and his love for an esteemed politician’s daughter.
Bane relates his tale to a new denizen of Ellsworth, sharing his accounts of early life and adventures as a scientist, where he was born and raised and his rise to leadership of the world’s most intriguing continent, and sovereign nation of its own...Antarctica.
'Paul McAuley's balanced grasp of science and literature, always a rare attribute in the writer of prose fiction, is combined with the equally rare ability to look at today's problems and know which are really problems, and what can be done about them.' William Gibson
Such is Thomas's life in the serene, semi-primitive world without nations and cities and governments - until the night the starship comes home. Having fled a dangerously overcrowded Earth years before the Collapse and the Twilight that followed, for seven centuries the men and women of the space-going vessel Search have been combing the galaxy for inhabitable planets - their aging processes dramatically slowed by the relative magic of light speed travel and cryogenic sleep. And now, lonely and frustrated, the weary voyagers have returned to a homeworld unrecognizably altered by the relentless tides of time - a world that does not want them back.
A bitter welcome awaits the Searchers, as old Libary gathers Earth's Ordinands and Elders together to tap the terrifying power of the collective unconscious - in preparation of the Carnival night when they will sweep the helpless intruders back to their lonely sky in the name of Holy Science. And it is Soldier who stands in the middle, silent and alone - bound by duty to evict the homesick star-travelers . . . yet cursed by a preordained genetic destiny that has decreed their eviction will mean Soldier's death.
But when strange things start to happen and Jennie becomes pregnant - from a dream - she enters a struggle which threatens her own life and causes her to question everything she has ever learned.
In the year 2069, with the Earth's population dangerously out of control, procreation and the medical treatment of terminal illness are the two most heinous crimes against society. But behind the doors of the top secret Biophysical Institute, an old man has been illegally cured of the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and made artificially younger - to serve the unspecified purposes of Premier Jeremy Beltane, one of the world's most powerful leaders.
A member of the underprivileged "Wardie" class, Detective Sergeant Harry Ostrov has been assigned to serve as a guardian to the mysteriously rejuvenated nonagenarian - and entrusted with a devastating secret that could topple the unstable "Minder" government. But once within the confines of the Beltane family enclave, the dedicated police officer is dragged deeper and deeper into a lethal mire of scandal, corruption, political outrage, and moral dilemma - sworn to silence even as he observes his nation's ruler, a man ultimately responsible for the future of civilization, descend steadily into depression, uncertainty . . . and madness.
He was sick for days — although, somehow, he never doubted that he'd live through the ordeal. Often delirious, he did awake at one point to find two strangers peering in at him from the cabin door. Yet oddly, instead of offering help, the two ran off as if terrified.
Not long after that, the coughing began. Ish suffered chills followed by fever, and a measles-like rash that had nothing to do with snake bite broke out on his skin. He was one of the few people in the world to live through that peculiar malady, but he didn't know it then.
Ish headed home when he finally felt himself again—and noticed the strangeness almost immediately. No cars passed him on the road; the gas station not far from his cabin had an air of abandonment; and he was shocked to see the body of a man lying by the roadside near a small town.
Without a radio or phone, Ish had no idea of humanity's abrupt demise. He had escaped death, yet could not escape the awesomeness of the catastrophe—and, with an eerie detachment, he found himself curious as to how long it would be before all traces of man's civilization faded from the Earth.
At the same time, he couldn't help wondering whether others had survived, and whether even a handful of human beings would