Cold As Ice by Charles Sheffield

Note: I don’t have a New Arrival, and the Current Reading is the same as last week. So I offer you this review, as I just finished rereading the book.

Cold As Ice by Charles Sheffield, Tor 1993 paperback, cover illustration by Vincent Di Fate, science fiction novel

“Every war begins with a first encounter, a first blow, a first casualty. That is the shot heard ‘round the world.”

Cold As IceTwenty-five years before this novel begins, there has been an interplanetary war, human vs. human, and nine billion people have been killed. This story is about a very few of the survivors, people with some special skills.

Cyrus Mobarak, the man who perfected the fusion engine and head of the manufacturing empire which has managed to make them small enough to fit under your sink, wants to bring human settlement to the seas of Europa. The problem is the seas are an ecological preserve, protected by the strongest-minded planetary leader in the system. Three special people are caught between them in the struggle to determine the future of the moon and perhaps of mankind.

This was my third reading of the book, and I remembered some but not all of the characters and plot. Another book, The Ganymede Club, is a prequel written after this one. I’d recommend reading it first, though this stands alone just fine.

In my opinion Charles Sheffield is one of the better hard science fiction writers around these days and I seem to like everything I read of his. This was no exception – obviously, since this was my third reading – and is one of his best books, though it breaks no new ground in the genre it provides a good solid story and is enjoyable reading. Many of Sheffield’s books have a blurb on them comparing his writing to Arthur C. Clark, and I think it’s a fair comparison, certainly true of this book. Recommended.

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5 Responses to Cold As Ice by Charles Sheffield

  1. Carl V. says:

    Third reading? So not a book you enjoy then? ;)
    I would snag this JUST for the Vincent di Fate cover. His images have the ‘wow’ factor that I enjoy from John Berkey’s illustrations but have a unique crispness to them that makes me want to own books with his covers.

    This one sounds like one I would enjoy very much and Sheffield is one of may sf authors I have yet to try. I’m keeping a running list of books to track down at local used bookstores. You’ve just added this to my list.

  2. Redhead says:

    I’ve only read one Sheffield, Aftermath, and I remember really enjoying it. Thanks for bringing him back to the front of my mind!

  3. I have some of Charles Sheffield’s books, but I’ve never read one. Time to change that over Winter Break. Like Carl, I’m a fan of Vincent di Fate and John Berkey.

  4. cgramlich says:

    I’ve read some stuff by Sheffield but not this one. I’ll have to give it a go.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I must admit that (unfortunately) it sounds interesting enough to try.

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