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Flood Paperback – 9 Jul 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (9 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084827
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.6 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A largely old-fashioned disaster tale presented with spectacle and efficient pacing."
-Locus
"A gripping near-future allegory of global warming."
-BBC Focus
"Bold, compassionate, exhilarating, wrenching stuff."
-Niall Harrison, Internet Review of Science Fiction --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

From Terry Pratchett's co-author on the Long Earth books comes the ultimate disaster novel - the world is drowning and there is nowhere left on earth to go.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book begins in 2016 with the story of five hostages held in Barcelona, where it's raining heavily and won't stop. They're rescued by a team sent by Nathan Lomockson - a technocrat and very rich man - but not before one of them is brutally killed. The remaining four pledge to look out for each other from then on. Lomockson himself takes a lifelong interest in each of them, and their fates thereafter are tied in with his. The ensuing events in the novel take place over a span of around sixty years.

The narrative moves forward by chronological increments as the world's water level increases, and continues to rise. The episodic structure suits the book perfectly - it's a neat narrative trick. Baxter provides us with a series of snapshots of important events and details the human reaction to each stage of the increase.

Nathan sets himself up as a would-be saviour of the world. He appears at pivotal points throughout the story as the sea levels rise higher and higher, and we see the impact of important events on his and/or one or more of the former hostages. Although a hard-boiled, nuts and bolts SF writer, Stephen Baxter realises that his book would be nothing if the reader weren't allowed to engage emotionally with the characters.

And even though the characterisation isn't as strong as your average mainstream writer's, it's still good enough to carry the story of the watery death of an entire planet.

If you remember back to your schooldays (a harder and harder job for some of us!) the hydrologic cycle taught us that there is not one extra drop of water now than there was at the time of creation. So where is the extra water coming from? Melting icecaps? That would only be responsible for a limited increase.
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Format: Paperback
This is a plot-driven novel that makes a good holiday read. It is a shame that Baxter struggles with characterisation (indeed this aspect is virtually non-existent). So don't expect any deep psychgological insights - characters are little more than ciphers for plot developments. It is this failing that limits the book's ambitions and prevents it from being ranked alongside apocalyptic classics by John Christopher, Margarer Atwood, Cormac McCarthy and so on. I felt the ending was rather a non-event (clearly a sequel was in mind and this somewhat ruined the potential for any thought-provoking conclusion).
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Format: Paperback
For some reason the end of the world is rarely terrifying. From even the nastiest plagues, the most ferocious wars, the most apocalyptic asteroid strikes or alien invasions there is usually hope - hope of recovery, of rebuilding, a glimmer of light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
The brilliant thing about Flood is the sheer lack of hope. For once you lose the land you lose everything. Any terrestrial species, however brilliant, is doomed from the moment the waves lap around the highest mountains. Baxter at his hard sci-fi best here, providing a plausible mechanism for an implausible catastrophe. The episodic treatment works well and the characters, although a tad cliched (the grizzled old astronaut, a brace of plucky hardbody female scientists, several annoying teenagers) are engaging enough to carry the story along.
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Format: Paperback
The story of a great flood drowning the world is an interesting premise, and could have been a truly fantastic read. Baxter makes a dutiful effort in walking us through the shock felt by the near-Earth's inhabitants when the waters rise and don't subside. I enjoyed the set-up for his protagonists, as they, too, have been separated from this world by a few years and can therefore justifiable be confused. As they learn, we learn, and it helps to avoid exposition dumps (at least in the beginning of the novel).

as we progress, however, it becomes apparent that there isn't really a point to the story, except perhaps 'humans deserve it'. We don't see the human cost of suffering - we're always with the survivors, and they don't seem to spend much time thinking about anyone they've lost. Main characters are killed out of sight, and the constant influx of dozens of new characters, all given equal weight, is disorienting. The human relationships become more and more unbelievable as the story progresses, with mothers refusing to talk to their children even in this drowned world because of who they shack up with, people being passed around like objects, and allegiances changing every chapter. Most frustratingly, a lot of weight is placed mid-way through until the end on the relationship between our protagonist and one of her former hostage friends. A romantic relationship is manufactured out of thin air, and we are later informed that the middle-aged man is in fact in love with the protagonist's niece. Given that the last time we met said niece she was 16, that's a little creepy. (This also follows some other suvivalist also trying to walk off with the girl, a la '28 Days Later').
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By Pete on 4 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Finding this book a bit of a slog, rather longwinded and one gets the feeling there is a lot of padding out of the story. Not really enough pace for me but I am hoping to finish, unless it gets more boring and then it will be consigned to the box in the loft.
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