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

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When I reached the end of the book I felt a little frustrated because I wanted to know what the aliens were doing with the rest of Earth.

Foremost amongst them is an underlying discourse suggesting that humans might well have been deserving of their fate and, whether this is accepted or not, what could they do to overcome a challenge which presents a real threat to the very future of Homo sapiens on this planet. The people were surviving - births were happening and over time/generations genetic modifications to the environment would have taken place anyway. Smith’s near-future world is wonderfully imaginative and rigorously detailed, the kind of made-up place that feels viscerally real. It's probably relevant to acknowledge that I don't read many dystopian novels or books set in a post apocalyptic world. Because as they cling to life on the ice, the remnants of their past swept away, they must also confront the urgent challenge: can they change and evolve rapidly enough to ensure humanity’s future?But the alien overlords are not the focus of Smith’s interest here; they are no more than a device to effect this revolutionary reinvention not only of human society, but of humanity itself. If we look at the various premises and themes in this novel, we see that the author has created a world where the various humans and their governments believe that: change and freedom of thought/belief will ultimately lead to chaos and revolution; fear of change and of cultural differences cause distrust and alarm - all the knives come out in defense; and aliens and scientific mutations are NEVER to be trusted - because they just want to take over the planet and toss us humans into the freezing ocean, or just plain exterminate us. But there’s virtually no machinery and no human is strong enough to extract it by hand, much less withstand the deadly cold.

We don’t get to learn much about the aliens, but we examine in fine detail the consequences of their takeover of Earth. The whole notion of genetic engineering of people adapted to living in Antarctica isn’t even mentioned in the book summary, but that is the major element of the entire story.I needn’t have worried, there’s a lot more depth here than the elements I’ve described would suggest. Some of the writing and the unravelling of the plot was wonderfully done, but I struggled with the storyline at times. An alien invasion takes over Planet Earth and banishes the human race to the Antarctic where they struggle for survival. It’s so descriptive that rarely have I read a book where I’ve felt I am living side by side with the characters.

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