Hot Sky at Midnight

Robert Silverberg, Author Spectra Books $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-09248-6
Silverberg's latest is his best novel in some time, returning from the extraterrestrial travelogues he offered in The Face of the Waters and Kingdoms of the Wall to Earth of the relatively near future, which has been polluted almost to uninhabitability. Even in the best areas, people wear breathing masks and inject a product called Screen, which darkens their skin as protection from the sun. Victor Farkas, operative of the megacorporation Kyocera-Merck Ltd., is blind but gifted with hypersensitive ``blindsight.'' He comes to the massive orbital habitat Valparaiso Nuevo in search of a renegade geneticist of legendary skill. On Earth, Nick Rhodes wrestles with a midlife crisis and moral uncertainty as head of Samurai Industries, which is attempting to breed humans that can thrive in the horrendous conditions expected to prevail on Earth. Silverberg focuses on his characters and their ruined world, providing a convincing portrayal of life in a greenhouse effect-cursed future. In the background looms the efforts to save the human race, whether by emigration or transformation. The plot may tie up too neatly, but Silverberg delivers powerful images of a world blighted by ecological abuse, and a satisfying novel as well. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
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