Thursday, July 5, 2012
Survival World by Frank Belknap Long
"Marauder! The desperate men are loose in the world. They come by night, slipping past the guards and around the barriers, driving ever Eastward, until at last they meet the barrier of the poisoned Atlantic. They turn northward, but no matter where they go, the land is turning arid, the fish are dying in the waters, animals are disappearing from the fields. Hunger feeds their desperation, for the world is starving to death, the final result of the work of the polluters. They have poisoned the waters; scourged the soil, destroyed the seeds of viable life... and now the planet Earth draws a shroud of pestilence, waiting for the final moments... waiting to die... waiting until one man no longer submits to the inevitable, and fights back against the messengers of death!"
Sounds cool doesn't it? I thought so. And I bought it on cover and blurb alone. What a mistake. It would indeed be awesome, if that was really what the book contained! That man, which should be rights be the character of Malador from the book, does none of this within the pages of the novel. Three fourths of the novel is spent in near-future earth debating crop reinvigoration techniques and time travel theory. No lie - three pages were spent on whether or not Malador could in fact hypnotize Roger in order to let him out of the locked cell in the time machine. FBL only hints at what this dystopian world of Malador's is like. Hints!
Oh yes, there's a time machine, but it doesn't take them anywhere until the last quarter of the novel. The only cool thing contained is when the crew finds a monolith in the perfect likeness of the gent amongst them responsible for reintroducing wheat to the world. And that happens in the last three pages. Verdict - don't waste your time unless you're a huge FBL fan.