The movie, The Day After Tomorrow, produced by Roland Emmerich, and the book, The Sixth Winter, written by Douglas Orgill and John Gribben, both deal with sudden climate change – the sudden onset of an ice age. They are both appropriate for review in an era that could prove apocalyptic, an era that may see sudden changes in the way our planet operates in quite a number of ways, including dramatic climate changes.
The Sixth Winter was written in the late 1970s and reflects the era it was written in. The protagonist, a climatologist named Stovin, uses a portable electric typewriter to do his reports and brings his work to a Cray One super-computer, Razzle Dazzle, the only one of its kind available for meteorological work. He winds up in the Soviet Union where an “outrider of the future”, an isolated tornado of ice where the jet stream takes a dip from the stratosphere to the surface of the planet, brings the cold temperatures of space and death and disaster to the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia. He had been requested by name by Soviet authorities, and he had brought with him a wolf zoologist who is his romantic interest, Diane Hilder, and a half Eskimo from Alaska, a former USAF pilot named Bisby.
He stays at the home of a young Russian climatologist named Soldatov and his wife, Valentina. They are ultimately joined by a Soviet Foreign Ministry employee, also a KGB agent, named Volkov, whose main job is to keep an eye on the Americans, particularly Bisby, who as a former air force pilot is considered a threat. It turns out that they have to make a dangerous journey across snow and ice to America as the snows and winds of the new ice age tear apart the infrastructure of the northern hemisphere. They also tear apart the social structure of eastern Siberia where Chukchi tribesmen decide to leave and go east towards Alaska, deserting towns, cities and cooperatives, killing ethnic Russians and kidnapping their women.
In this dangerous situation, the particular skills of a man trained to be a high altitude Eskimo, Bisby, shine forth as he brings the group to safety a few miles from the island where he was raised and warned by an Eskimo shaman to not return to.