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.”
Twenty-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.