Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Flood by Stephen Baxter

I've always found Stephen Baxter books a bit puzzling. Some I'm found very easy to read, others a bit baffling. However I'd heard good things about Flood so I approached it with the highist of hopes.

Quite simply it's a awesome read. If ever converted into a film it would be fantastic but I have a feeling that it won't be. To say it's dark is a understatement. There are no quick fixes in this book, no last minute heroics to save the day.

Starting in 2016 the book follows four main characters who were being held hostage in Spain as they are released into a world where the water levels have started to rise and won't stop.

Civilisation starts to rapidly break down as whole populations bolt for higher ground, whilst governments turn inwards struggling to cope and a few wealthy people try make their own plans for survial.

By the end of the novel Humanity seems doomed as all of the land disappears under the raging water ( think water world without the bad acting), a few rafts and aging naval vessels sheltering what's left of mankind.

However a series of projects referred to as the 'Arks' do give hope for the future. Ark One is a starship heading out into the galaxy, Ark three was a massive liner that met a unfortunate end and Ark two? Well that is a question that the last surving main character asks in what must be one of the most blatent attempts at setting up a sequel I've ever seen short of actually using the words " To be continued".

The strength of this novel lies in it's characters. They are 'normal' for one of a better term, people who could well be your next door neighbours. You see the unfolding disaster through their eyes and that's what draws you in as you start to imagine what it would be like for you. Could you survive and would you even want to?

Flood gets five out five from the Gabbling Geek

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