Reviewed by: Lale Eskicioglu firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 16 July 2001
Cat's Cradle is one of the rare books I have allowed myself the luxury of reading more than once. It is a brilliant combination of fantasy, satire and science fiction. The work of a genius. If this is not enough to make you want to read the book, then consider this:
You are in Ottawa in the early days of 1998. Ontario, Quebec and some parts of North-Eastern United States get hit by the worst ice storm in decades. Canada, a country prepared to deal with many different versions and levels of severe weather conditions is helpless against this case. Schools and work places are closed. Trees fall on power lines. No electricity. You look out your window and see a surrealistic scene. Trees, shrubs, houses and cars are covered with a thick layer of ice. It is a different world. Miraculously, your newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen is delivered. The first page and every other page are covered with news and photos of the ice-stricken city. One journalist writes: "It is as if someone has accidentally spilt a drop of ice-nine." The journalist has read Cat's Cradle and knows what ice-nine is. If you had read the book then you would have got the joke. If you hadn't read the book, you wouldn't have a clue what he was talking about. Which one would you prefer?
Cat's Cradle and its ice-9 are literary landmarks. Not knowing them would be like not knowing what "kafkaesque" means.
I am including below a couple of photos of Ottawa's Ice Storm of '98. Many thanks to Craig Breakey for allowing me to use photos from his site (http://www3.sk.sympatico.ca/breac/icestorm/gallery.html).
Photo by John Kevern
Photo by Christine (Poirier) Koch
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