One of the best perks of the job of bookseller is that publishers send us free review copies of upcoming books in the hope that we will stock them in our stores. They can be very creative when they want us to notice a particular title among all the other freebies on offer.
When Flood by Stephen Baxter came in with another set of review copies it immediately caught my eye as it was wrapped up in a sealed, clear plastic bag with URGENT and Evidence Bag written on it. The book itself was stained with make-believe watermarks on the edges and on the cover was the the following text:
DATE: Planet Fall Plus 15 days (2115 AD)
Mission: Deep Water Retrieval Voyage 3, evidence lot 12445(b)
Recovered by: Deep Sea Submersible Evolution 1
Source: Central London collapsed tower block
Depth: 4000 meters
Subject: Account (unofficial ?) of global inundation between 2016 and 2050(?)
We have several titles in stock by this prolific author who recently collaborated with the late Arthur C. Clarke on the Time Odyssey series (Time’s Eye, Sunstorm, and Firstborn), but I had never read anything by him. Because I thought the way this book was marketed really clever, I decided to give Baxter’s latest a try.
As is often the case, the marketing trick was more exciting than the book. The premise is great: global warming causes sea levels to continue rising until major cities flood – a global catastophe with plenty of potential for a good story.
At first I thought I just needed to get into the story, with the various characters being presented in the first few chapters, but soon I became really bored and just couldn’t care less what would happen to Hellen, Gary, Piers and the others, or even our precious Earth. This is not good as I am very interested in environmental issues and am an avid advocate of cleaning up our act to make sure that there will be a habitable world for generations to come.
I didn’t like the characters, I didn’t like the setting and went on hoping to get to the good part(s) but there are other books on my shelf waiting for me and many more coming out soon and there is just too little time…
Maybe it’s just me and you are one of the many who have read other books by Stephen Baxter and enjoyed them. Maybe you will like this one too: If you do, let me know! Because even though I didn’t like it; I have ordered copies for stock and they should be appearing on the Amsterdam shelves round about now.