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)
It is the year 2250. The ice has melted and sea levels have risen. Cape Town has disappeared and Table Mountain is now an island inhabited by the Tekkies, who cling to a lifestyle long gone in the rest of the world and keep their island for themselves. But their resources are running out. They look to the land that once was Africa - known as Out - where a few remining 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. Rain, a princess of the River People, and Saa, the lion cub she cares for, are seized by the Tekkies. They want the knowledge of Rain's people. They want to know how to harvest the rain. She is to be part of a terrible ceremony to restore the balance of the world
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Sharon moved her gum from one side of her mouth to the other. 'Two brown slices and a red vegetable,' she said.
'Two brown slices and a red vegetable!' Sharon was irritated, I could tell. Sharon often was.
The woman serving looked annoyed.
'That'll be three carbon credits,' she said grumpily.
Sharon tossed her shiny yellow hair over her shoulder and winked at me.
'It was only two and a half CCs yesterday,' she said.
'It's warmer than yesterday,' the woman said nastily. 'Three species gone since Friday, they reckon. Brown slices cost more.'
Sharon considered. 'And the red veg?'
The woman smirked. 'Same thing, really,' she said. 'Everything's getting dearer - dear.' She laughed. 'It's all right for you rich kids. Some people haven't seen a red vegetable, never mind a brown slice, in years.'
Sharon fingered through her wallet and found the carbon credits. But her mouth had a sullen twist to it that didn't augur well for the rest of the afternoon...
Sharon is the only person here who is friendly to me - sort of - when it suits her. I have been here for just four moons, although it seems like years, but the others still look away when they see me, won't catch my eye, won't smile at me. Sharon does… sometimes… even though she is a Tekkie and Tekkies have another kind of life. One that has a lot to do with beeping machinery and small flashing screens and signals telling them when to recharge their ion extractors or plug in their enhancers.
The rest of us just get on with it, here on The Island, putting up with the blinding light that reflects endlessly off the pink sea and the warm wind that blows - and blows and blows - from the south-east most months of the year.
Once, Sharon let me go with her into one of the chill-chambers - just for a minute - so I could feel what it was like. It was strange in there and I wasn't sure if I really liked it. Tekkies lay around on smooth plastic couches and the light was dim and soft. Air that was so cold it was white came chilling out of the vents in the walls, swirling in front of the lights and dampening the sleeping Tekkies who lay there with their eyes closed and smiles on their faces.
I was only there for a short time, and yet the hairs on my arms prickled, and I shivered. It was too dark - too cool - not real. And although the blast of heat and bright hit me like a stone when we stepped outside again, I welcomed the warmth.
For a moment… just for a moment… I remembered another kind of cool. The cool of river water and cold stones, the cool of black shade on hot afternoons, the cool of a palm leaf fanning gently; the cool of a hand on my forehead and the cool of my mother's voice…