Set a near and bleak future where the effects of Global Warming plunge the Earth into near ruin, Maggie Gee’s science fiction novel The Ice People delivers an unsettling vision of humanity through the protagonist Saul and his attempts to survive against an ever changing world.
This story is told from a first person perspective and operates in two different time frames as the relationship between Saul and his lover Sarah remains one of the core struggles throughout.
Having both fallen in love and given birth to their son Luke, Saul’s conquest for both his son and his own sense of masculinity run alongside each other and lead him on a daring voyage across the decaying world outside of London.
The exploration of themes moves at a satisfactory pace as issues around gender and sexuality become subverted through the empowerment of women’s political status and the introduction of Sexbots; an artificial life form designed to quench man’s carnal appetites, once women render them obsolete.
Meanwhile, race and heritage play a huge part of Saul’s identity as he is forced to re connect with his own past which becomes a huge driving force for the tragic events that lay ahead as well as a defining area that molds the complex relationship between him and Luke.
In terms of style, Maggie’s writing came with a fluidity of movement and remains very tangible for most readers to digest. The characterisation was also another strong point as the reader is granted the integrity of Saul’s inner most thoughts, motivations and anxieties, providing a far more enriching experience.
The ending of the novel felt ambiguous, but the style, vision and thought provoking nature of her writing are enough to engage anyone’s interest and keep them thinking for a long time afterwards.
Highly recommended for anyone who want’s to experience a science fiction novel that is heavily rooted in it’s humanity.