Forty Signs of Boredom

Kim Stanley Robinson’s third-person narrative “Forty Signs of Rain” is the living embodiment of a literary precautionary tale that follows the lives of the novel’s main characters, and the divesting effects of a storm which happens in the end. In this sense, the precautionary tale morphs into a “call-to-action” commentary to Congress and all levels of Government to enforce legislation and pass mandatory climate effective Precautionary Principle Laws. It is important to note, Precautionary Principle is a regulatory outline for policy-making that anticipates how homosapiens’ interferences with the planet will effect existing and future life, atmospheric layers, land/soil variances, rain/snow fall, and sea levels: in an attempt to construct positive, proactive solutions to offset any negative results. Succinctly, this is why FEMA exists, because it is extremely complicated to create and implement an effectively agreeable precautionary outline; many factors must be considered and specialists consulted.

There are five key elements to consider in designing Precautionary Principle Laws: (1) Anticipatory Action: this is the dominating justification point as it mandates that all individuals within the communal area (Governments, businesses, community groups, and the general public) have an implied shared responsibility to take preventative measures to thwart any harm to the community; (2) Right to Know: the community has an inherent right to full disclosure of accurate information on potential health and environmental impacts associated with the selection of products, services, operations, and plans designed to offset negative occurrences. The burden to supply this information falls on the governing agencies, not with the general public; (3) Alternatives Assessment: this obligates the agencies, FEMA for instance, to evaluate multiple alternative rebuild and resource distribution proposals with the least negative impact on human health and the environment, including the alternative of doing nothing; (4) Full Cost Accounting: this is the financial feasibility to enact an outlined response to a disaster; there is an obligation to consider all the reasonably estimative expenditures, including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, cleanup, eventual disposal, and health risks costs, even if such costs are not reflected in the initial price; as well as, the short and long-term benefits and time thresholds; (5) Participatory Decision Process: decisions applying the Precautionary Principle must be transparent, and constructed with the best available science and all other relevant information. With this in mind, the construct of “Forty Signs of Rain” is just as complicated as preparing this type of doctrine.

Whereas the vast majority of literature has one main protagonist, the complication of “Forty Signs of Rain” lays in the fact that the novel has several essential characters that create its storyline, and assists in the progressive flow and development of the tracing climate-change theme. Given that this book is the first in a trilogy, it is not uncommon for the plot to be inundated with descriptive details to build the story’s foundation for readers. However its formation of facts, imaginative prose, and multiple characters’ developments are what makes the novel difficult to focus on with any cognitive concentrated efforts of interest, for which there was none. There are various plots and characters’ developments that become convoluted and difficult to keep track. However, from the onset of the first page of the novel it is clear that this story is about climate-change. Robinson’s book is devoted to the negative effects climate-change is having on environments globally, this is why the setting is Washington DC in the National Science Foundation (NSF). The author cleverly focuses the narrative around climate-change in the United States by inserting the need of a small, economically depressed island nation, Khembalung, and how climate-change has caused ocean levels to rise putting its citizens in grave danger. By developing the storyline of helping a less fortunate nation before their climate-change problems become those of the United States, Robinson brings to light the responsibility that congress has to take the issue of climate-change more seriously; thus, emphasizing the need to create and mandate a more effect financial budget that will allow the United States, and all world nations, to act more responsibly with regard to the issues of negative climate-change by enacting an effective Precautionary Principle Plan.

Due to the elaborate, overly developed, compound, background themes and individual characters’ descriptive formations, this is not a book one should consider as an introduction to the genre of cli-fi; only fans of sci-fi and cli-fi would consider this book worth reading. This review contains the same amount of enthusiasm as did the experience of reading this novel, which is lackluster and uninspiringly poor. Comparatively, “Forty Signs of Rain” is a poor, incompetently executed, horrendous rendition of multi-sequenced characterized dramas such as the movies Crash or 11:14, both movies were interesting and enjoyable to watch unlike reading this book.

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