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Crawford Kilian.

Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, c1983.
218pp, cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88894-366-0.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

This, the seventh book by Kilian, lives up to expectations for fast-paced excitement. Although set about twenty years in the future when solar flares, increased ultra-violet radiation, and devastating tsunami waves create physical, agricultural, and geologic disaster resulting in economic and political collapse, the novel really deals with the human animal we see here and now. With a locale of primarily San Francisco and Los Angeles, the range of characters may be considered typical. Scientists, movie makers, the military, the recluses make up the list, with race figuring strongly as an issue. It all boils down to survival of the fittest as everyone attempts to carve out his or her turf and defend it. Greed and violence become commonplace in fiefdoms of dictators. The full range of human foibles and emotions parade across the pages which end with a small ray of hope.

Although the characters are not full blown, there is sufficient colouring to make them distinguishable. Dialogue is plentiful and when coupled with non-stop action sequences, makes the novel a light, rainy day read. Readers are left with the guilt of knowing they are part of this human inhumanity and with an unease about the fraility of this physical planet and our inability to do anything about it. Survival, regardless of cost and method, reveals basic drives.

Although not of the literary quality of Lord of the Flies, this novel could be' used with those students who need a high interest substitute, as both address similar themes.

Ted Monkhouse, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, ON.
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