A Journal of the Flood Year

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A Journal Of The Flood Year

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Ely's sardonic futuristic fable, attack-robots serve as watchdogs of a Big Brother government, humans are produced in test tubes and families are a thing of the past. Most people don't have sex as we know it, they ``experience'' in contraptions called stimulators. Those who breed in the old-fashioned way are ``the excluded,'' condemned to jungle colonies and reservations. Baltimore engineer William Fowke is branded a troublemaker in this highly impersonal, ultraconformist society when he reports a seepage in the Wall, a massive dike which holds back the Atlantic, allowing millions of Americans to inhabit an artifically extended Eastern seaboard. For his whistleblowing, Fowke is imprisoned in an ``excluded'' colony, then shipped off to Kansas. His escape to Washington, D.C., and his interaction with Julia, the icy arresting officer who may love him, occupy the second half of a story that we know is headed for cataclysm. In this parable of chilling power and piercing beauty, Ely ( Seconds ) balances the impersonaliity of his many robotlike or emotionally stunted characters with dramatic scenes and black comedy. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Through the ``journal'' of William Fowke, Ely tells a tale of a society of the future obsessed with the individual, a society where intimacy of any kind is taboo. Fowke is an engineer on a giant sea wall built between Nova Scotia and the Florida Keys. The wall is leaking in his sector, and the Orwellian bureaucracy suppresses this dangerous information. When Fowke tries to disseminate the truth, he is labeled an outcast. His odyssey begins as he tries to stay ahead of the law and warn of impending disaster. Along the way he asks himself, ``Was I prepared to sacrifice myself for my tribe?'' His answer is no. His Epiphany at the end results in a change of heart to ``maybe'' at least for his tribe of two (Fowke and the romantic interest). Journal works as a parable; if a reader needs details, however, Journal will not satisfy. Ely fails to explain how Fowke gets from A to B either physically or mentally. How can a man of the 22nd century make a transition from total dependence on technology to survival in the wilderness? Ely never says. This speculative fiction is an interesting diversion but not an essential purchase.-- Randall L. Schroeder, Augustana Coll. Lib., Rock Island, Ill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556112720
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/23/1991
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 20.00 (w) x 20.00 (h) x 20.00 (d)

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