It is the year 2250. The polar ice has melted and sea levels have risen. With Cape Town gone and Table Mountain an island, the Tekkies cling to a lifestyle long gone and carefully guard their island from outsiders. But their resources are running out. They look to the land that once was Africa ? now known as "Out" ? where a few remaining people have managed to survive the massive drought by turning their back on 23rd-century technology and following a simple lifestyle based on ancient knowledge. They are the ...
It is the year 2250. The polar ice has melted and sea levels have risen. With Cape Town gone and Table Mountain an island, the Tekkies cling to a lifestyle long gone and carefully guard their island from outsiders. But their resources are running out. They look to the land that once was Africa — now known as "Out" — where a few remaining people have managed to survive the massive drought by turning their back on 23rd-century technology and following a simple lifestyle based on ancient knowledge. They are the River People. One day, Rain, their princess, and her lion cub, Saa, are seized by the Tekkies in order to gain the River Peoples' secret of harvesting the rain. To do that, they plan to make Rain part of a terrible ceremony to restore the balance of the world. This chilling, thought-provoking science fiction, featuring the fresh setting of a futuristic South Africa, is beautifully told for young teenagers.
Gr 5–8—This is the story of Rain, a young woman abducted from her African village and taken to The Island, which was once a mountain at the tip of the continent before the ocean waters rose. It is now inhabited by Tekkies who have chill chambers, flashing screens, and other things to amuse them and keep them comfortable. They are served by abductees like Rain. Her one duty is to care for her lion, Saa, who was kidnapped. Tekkie Sharon is sometimes friendly toward Rain but doesn't hesitate to let her know that her grandfather is one of the founders of The Island. Rain wishes to take Saa and return to her village but has no idea how to escape. Then she meets a boy named Ghau and a mysterious old man, Writer. Beake has written a dystopia so slight that the year appears only on the end flaps. It is also unclear why the technologically reliant lords of The Island have decided that a human sacrifice will help solve their problem of dwindling resources. Strong writing and an interesting protagonist in a dire situation will be enough for some readers. Others may wish for a more fully realized tale with more backstory and further explorations of characters' motivations.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
In this sketchy, incoherent, near-future tale, a child named Rain and the lion she has raised are stolen from an inland village for some never-explained Sacrifice by "Tekkies" inhabiting The Island, a former mountaintop surrounded by risen seas. Aside from vague references to "the Wild," "Drylands" and air-conditioned "chill chambers," the author does little to set up either the scene or the back story, nor does she ever reveal why Rain or the lion are considered so significant. Instead she focuses almost entirely on Rain's unhappiness and confusion through disconnected encounters with Island residents, and then she engineers a highly contrived escape for the girl and lion as their former prison is totally destroyed for unknown reasons. The deadly effects of global warming certainly make a cogent theme, but this effort to take it up seems to have been, at best, phoned in by a veteran South African author who usually offers much more careful and sensitive work (Song of Be, 1993, etc.). Goodness knows, there's a raft of other eco-disaster tales out there for readers so inclined. (Science fiction. 9-11)