Read Greenhouse Summer Online

Authors: Norman Spinrad

Tags: #Science Fiction

Greenhouse Summer

BOOK: Greenhouse Summer
8.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







“A witty, short novel . . . Spinrad maintains just the right tone of mock-serious concern for the philosophical and theological conundrums faced by the church. . . . It is clear that the author has got hold of a powerful metaphor for transcendence that he intends to push to the limit—with thought-provoking results.”

The New York Times Book Review


“A unique theological dialogue takes shape. In many respects, it’s worthy of the best moral science fiction of C. S. Lewis. . . . Succeeds to a remarkable degree.”

Washington Post



“It’s moving. It’s inspiring. . . . An impressive work, a powerful book by a very good author.”

San Diego Tribune


“A monumental, prophetic, epic novel . . . Norman Spinrad is a hip, worldly, high-tech Nostradamus whose engaging predictions are occurring on CNN as you turn his pages.”

—Timothy Leary


“The novel that shows us all what the best of ‘90s science fiction can be . . . Read it because it’s as good and strong a story as you’re likely to find this year. . . . It will leave you filled with hope and joy.”

—Orson Scott Card,
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction



New York Times
Notable Book of the Year

“Intelligent, well crafted, and gutsy . . . A primer for the survival of the human soul . . . An absorbing and provocative work.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review


“One of the best books written about the human soul, or lack thereof, of [rock] music and its merchandisers. But it is first and foremost an excellent, extrapolative science fiction adventure.”

Houston Post




Norman Spinrad’s science fiction stories and novels have kept him on the cutting edge of the field since the ‘60s. He is one of the big names internationally in SF, a peer of Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Samuel R. Delany, and the late Roger Zelazny. He has had a long and distinguished career. A new major novel by Spinrad is an event in the SF world;
Greenhouse Summer
is the event in 1999.


About a hundred years from now the world is in a lot of trouble. Pollution, overpopulation, and ecological disasters have left the rich nations still rich, but less so, though the party never ends, and the poor nations, the Lands of the Lost, slowly strangle in drought and pollution. New York City is below sea level, surrounded by a seawall. And balmy. The climate in Paris is much like the twentieth-century climate of long-drowned New Orleans. And Siberia, Golden Siberia, is the cropland of the world.


Still, for the international corporations and businesses who make a profit on technofixing the environment, the Big Blue Machine, it is business as usual: sell what you can where you can whenever you can. It is better to be rich. But maybe it is all coming to a terrible end: a scientist has predicted Condition Venus, the sudden greenhouse downfall of the entire planet—but she can’t say when. So now the attention of the world is focused for a week on a UN conference on the Environment in Paris, where all hell is about to break loose. Filled with sex, science, politics, and great parties, this book will be one of the most-read SF books of the year.


Part One — True Blue Blues

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6


Part Two — Glass Houses

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11





Pour le peuple et l’exception française.
Merci pour votre compréhension.








“TO BREAD & CIRCUSES,” SAID MERVIN Appelbaum, toasting her with one final glass of first-class champagne as the Right Stuff flight from Tripoli came out of the holding stack, through the cloud deck, and turned on final toward Newark International.

“To the Gardens of Allah,” Monique Calhoun replied, fixing a virtual grin on her face as she hoisted a virtual glass.

Little did her client know that the tag she had hung on the project was a snide reference to a seedy motel in twentieth-century Hollywood wherein famous literary lions like Fitzgerald and Faulkner had cranked out film scripts for corporate capitalist dream factories under the morally anesthetizing influence of oceans of booze.

It’s people like you who make this job disgusting, Mervin, she restrained herself from saying.

While I, of course, am as pure as the natural snow.

Not that Bread & Circuses’ charter didn’t provide its citizen-shareholders with a moral rationale along with the dividends and fringes.

The Hypocritic Oath, as it was sometimes referred to in B&C circles.

Just as it was the professional duty of a legal syndic to represent the interests of any person or legal entity accused of a crime in any jurisdiction, so was it the professional duty of an interface syndic and its citizen-shareholders to represent the
agenda to the
satisfaction, not its or their own.

As Monique had once again so admirably done.

Mervin Appelbaum was a vice-president in charge of marketing the services of a corporate dinosaur calling itself Advanced Projects Associates.

APA seemed to consist of a suite in a fancy office building in London, a pool of funds or perhaps merely credit lines, and the e-dresses of actual construction syndics to fulfill its contracts. In the hoary old corporate capitalist tradition, it made the deals, skimmed the cream, and did nothing of work-unit value itself.

The deal in question, if not the outfit, had
idealistically Blue up front. Back in the twentieth-century, Muammar Qaddafi, a Libyan generalissimo given to bizarre costumes and financing extravagant projects with his desert jurisdiction’s oil riches, had caused the construction of a massive series of tunnels to bring the waters of interior oases to the cities and towns of the coastal plain where most of the population resided.

As with the earlier and even more grandiosely naive damming of the Nile at Aswan and many later such ill-conceived climatech projects up to the present day, it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

But just as the Aswan Dam had destroyed the fertility of the Nile Valley by ending the annual flooding that maintained it, the Libyan Water Authority had by now long since sucked the oasis aquifers dry.

And while a simple nuclear device might have sufficed to take out the Aswan Dam, drain Lake Nasser, and get what was left of the central African silt flowing back down the Nile, something a bit more sophisticated than a Blue terrorist bomb would be needed to convert a tunnel network leading from dried-up oases to what was left of the flooded littoral population centers into an asset again.

This Advanced Projects Associates proposed to achieve at a handsome profit by building desalination plants at the coast, blasting large craters at the sites of the defunct oases, and reversing the original direction of the pumping operation to fill them, thus creating large
artificial lakes surrounded by newly valuable primo real estate.

It had seemed like a good idea when Giorgio Kang had handed her the assignment. But once again, what had seemed True Blue in Giorgio’s air-conditioned office in New York turned out to be something else again on the ground in the Lands of the Lost.

The flight had been approaching Newark International from the east, over the seafood farms and dismal mosquito-infested swamplands of southern Long Island, where once New York’s main airhub had been sited, back when the Island was a lot wider than it was today.

But when the Dutch engineers had presented their estimates, even an idiot who was not a savant could have calculated that saving JFK International Airport would not be remotely cost-effective. Indeed, even diking-in Manhattan was going to keep the property holders and renters thereof paying off the bonds for the next several hundred years.

Now they were coming down across the Apple itself, Manhattan Island, girded by its seawall, its non-alabaster towers, if not exactly undimmed by human tears, then at least soaring far above the level of the otherwise encroaching greenhouse tide.

One could take this as a metaphor for the Apple’s iron determination to triumph over its natural ration of planetary disaster and remain on the side that was winning by sheer act of economic will, especially if Bread & Circuses was being paid to put such a Green triumphalist spin on it, and the extra expenditure for keeping the Statue of Liberty from going the way of JFK was a typical insouciant New York touch.

BOOK: Greenhouse Summer
8.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

My Struggle: Book 2: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Don Bartlett
Shelf Ice by Aaron Stander
Conqueror by S.M. Stirling, David Drake
East Side Story by Louis Auchincloss