Friday, 21 October 2011

The Map of Time by Felix J Palma

Wonderful historical romance (in the broad sense) with a time travel twist. H.G.Wells is the central character who links three tales of time travel. To my mind the first two tales are better than the last but all are imbued with a wonderfully Victorian sense of adventure. In the year 2000 for example we have a dashing British officer battling metal clad automatons with a cavalry sabre.

The extremely high quality of the english translation (by Nick Caistor) is also noteworthy. The writing is vivid and captivating. At no stage did it feel like I was reading a translation.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Flood by Stephen Baxter

Forget the 10m rise in sea levels predicted by proponents of global warming. What if the waters kept rising until every piece of land on the planet was submerged. Baxter's terrifying novel postulates vast sub surface aquifers busting through and flooding the planet's surface over a few short decades.

The back story to this novel relates the experience of a group of former hostages who somehow live long enough to experience all the stages of this extinction level event. The real story though is Baxter's description of the collapse of humanity in the face of overwhelming natural forces. I found it genuinely scary and it brought home to me how precariously balanced out existence really is.  At first I was disappointed in the portrayal of the surviving members of humanity fighting over ever diminishing scraps of land rather than investing serious efforts into a transition to a water bound world but to be honest this is probably a correct prediction of our response.