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

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So, when a copy of Cold People arrived in my mailbox, I knew the author could convincingly set a plot in the harshest climate in the world, as the freezing Russian conditions in Child 44 were expertly conveyed to the reader. The premise of an alien invasion is never really explored, the aliens are never seen and the reason for sending humankind to Antarctica is only ever assumed. They are all on chatting terms with the new President, who imparts news by inviting the population to gather round. When aliens attack and give the human race just 30 days to reach Antarctica, it is the start of a new civilisation for mankind. It's probably relevant to acknowledge that I don't read many dystopian novels or books set in a post apocalyptic world.

The premise is that aliens suddenly arrive in the sky and humans receive messages, though televisions, phones and other tech devices, that they need to go to Antarctica within thirty days or else…. It was more than a little out of my comfort zone, but, having finished it, I feel that there were some things I really liked and some things I struggled with. The book moves through several POVs which was interesting - but a little hard to keep track of the timeline with each.Author Smith has a terrific imagination and the new beings he comes up with are as fascinating as they are varied. The planet’s population is given 30 days to relocate to Antarctica, which will become a vast reservation for the remnants of the species; there they will either die out or adapt, depending on their willingness to work together.

Now the story goes back again to 2023, where a young Israeli soldier, Yotam, is trying to get a flight to the Antarctic. Some of the writing and the unravelling of the plot was wonderfully done, but I struggled with the storyline at times. Of course, not everyone is able to complete such a trip, and there are many casualties prior to arrival. Cold People follows the perilous journeys of a handful of those who endure the frantic exodus to the most extreme environment on the planet.I was intrigued by the author’s scenarios of how the survivors created habitations, workplaces, social structures, and developed food sources in such bleak circumstances. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.

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