Kobo Abe’s Inter Ice Age 4 (Book acquired, 1 April 2022)

I was thrilled to find a first-edition U.S. hardback (Knopf, 1970, Book Club Edition) of Kobo Abe’s novel Inter Ice Age 4. The translation is by E. Dale Saunders, and is the only English translation of the novel that I am aware of. The jacket design is by Joseph del Gaudio; I’m not sure if he is responsible for this lovely little embossed image that takes up the bottom-right corner of the cover:

This edition includes five line drawings by Abe’s wife, the artist Machi Abe. Here is one of those drawings:

I’ve had a samizdat e-copy of Inter Ice Age 4 for ages now, but haven’t made it past the first 20 or so pages, but the intriguing, prescient plot has always intrigued me. First composed and published in serialization at the end of the 1950s, Inter Ice Age 4 is set in a world where the polar ice caps are rapidly melting. Scientists genetically modify gilled children to survive this new reality. A proto-AI, a computer that can tell the future is the novel’s central antagonist. Thank god nothing like that’s shaking down these days!

1 thought on “Kobo Abe’s Inter Ice Age 4 (Book acquired, 1 April 2022)”

  1. I adore Abe…. But haven’t read this one yet. I have the same edition. For whatever reason, when I was browsing for copies it was far cheaper than the gorgeous Richard Powers covered Ballantine paperback ed.


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