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The world is frozen as the long-term result of an invention that allows the conversion of heat to electricity. Thew few survivors each live alone; there aren't as many women as men, so the main character in this story has what amounts to a time-share arrangement with a woman. When he meets her for his year with her, she has a remarkable story to tell about a visitor from space, an alien who has come to warn the inhabitants of Earth to stop using the energy convertor. The planet's libido, he says, is nearly 1. "What?" he asks. "You mean its albedo?" Yes, she replies, it might have been something like that. Where is the alien now, he asks. In the freezer, she says. A few flakes of oxygen fall from the sky.

I read this story in English in an anthology published by the 60s or 70s.

marked as duplicate by Organic Marble story-identification May 3 at 13:16

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This is the Frederik Pohl story "The Snowmen".

It has the joke about libido / albedo in it.

"...We've frozen the Earth solid, he says, and now it's so shiny that its libido is nearly perfect."

I sat up sharply, then relaxed. "Oh. Not libido, dear. Albedo..."

You can read it in the December 1959 issue of Galaxy Magazine (where it first appeared) at the Internet Archive.

Already asked and answered here: Looking for a short story about the icy end of the world

  • 1
    Well, that didn't take long! Thank you very much. I evidently read it in the 1960 collection, The Man Who Ate the World. – Invisible Trihedron May 3 at 13:14

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