Read in the late 1990s in e-book format; don't remember the acquisition source.

A new ice age has started, and the ice is down to roughly the US/Canada border. The US government - and by implication, much of the rest of the world - is essentially controlled by the Greens, and most of what we would consider modern technology is considered unacceptable (though some is "acceptable" to the extent that it allows the government to keep control over the populace). Science fiction, while not actually illegal, is taken as a sign of viewing "unacceptable" technology favorably, and can lead to "re-education" (in a distinctly Soviet style).

A pair of astronauts is attempting to scoop atmosphere to sustain their space habitat, and get shot down, landing on the ice. They are rescued by some "underground" SF fans, and the story centers around the attempts to keep the rescued astronauts out of the government's hands - and eventually morphs into a project to get them home to the space habitat, in spite of the government. There is a "Fen underground railway" of sorts, with signs that fen will recognize but non-fen wouldn't, which are references to what I'd consider 'classic' SF.

I never actually finished the book; that's as far as I'd gotten before a computer crash took out my copy of the e-book. Thus I ask...

What book was I reading?

2 Answers 2


Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn.

From here:


One minute the two space Hab astronauts were scoop-diving the atmosphere, the next they'd been shot down over the North Dakota Glacier and were the object of a massive manhunt by the United States government.

That government, dedicated to saving the environment from the evils of technology, had been voted into power because everybody knew that the Green House Effect had to be controlled, whatever the cost. But who would have thought that the cost of ending pollution would include not only total government control of day-to-day life, but the onset of a new Ice Age

Stranded in the anti-technological heartland of America, paralyzed by Earth's gravity, the "Angels" had no way back to the Space Habs, the last bastions of high technology and intellectual freedom on or over the Earth. But help was on its way, help from the most unlikely sources ....

  • 16
    If you look in the dictionary under "fan service", it lists this book. Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 21:54
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    @OrganicMarble What dictionary is that? Does Fallen Angels have illustrations?
    – user14111
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:16
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    @user14111 - in case you haven't read it, the book was written with an awfully large number of fannish in-jokes, references to real fans, and things that people outside of the (old-style worldcon-going fanzine-reading-and-probably-writing hardcore) SF fan community are unlikely to understand. I mean, I consider myself pretty well acquainted with that community for an outsider to it (e.g. regularly I read the blogs of several well-known members of it) and I had to research quite a few things to understand them.
    – Jules
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 4:18
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    @JeffZeitlin - With reference to "don't remember the acquisition source" IIRC the ebook was included in the CD that came free with one of the David Weber Honor Harrington books, so if you didn't specifically purchase it then it's likely this was where you got it from.
    – Jules
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 4:22
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    ... Yes, just checked, it's on the CD that came with War of Honor (which is archived online here - listed under "Friends of Honor").
    – Jules
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 4:31

Think this is what you're looking for.

Fallen Angels, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn


From Wikipedia:

Astronauts from the orbital society fly a modified scramjet, redesigned to harvest nitrogen from the Earth's atmosphere. Government policy declares that these ships are responsible for the ice age, so the scramjet is shot down with a surface-to-air missile. The pilot and copilot, an Earth-born American named Alex MacLeod and a space-born Russo-American named Gordon Tanner, are forced to crash land in Canada atop the glaciers.
Upon hearing of this, the fan underground embarks on a rescue mission - a group of fans rides north through the Dakotas to rescue the astronauts before they can be apprehended by the Government. [...]
Upon finally reaching their van, the rescuers flee to a small science fiction convention of some 50 fans at a mansion owned by one of their own.

I recalled this story from memory.


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