by Robie Macauley
When a book has been out of print for a decade or two you have to as yourself why. Plot? Style? Or just badly written? In the case of Robie Macauley’s book, I don’t think it was any of these. I came across this book by accident and it had had several good reviews, so I thought: why not?
I have to say that I found the story, the writing and the vision all very worthy. The theme of a post-apocalyptic world is not a new one, but Robie Macauly’s future Earth has a unique quality about it. There are several tales within the narrative, but the focus of the story is on two men, separated by generations and disaster. One records the days that lead to the eventual collapse of the structures that hold our society in place; the other driven by some unknown force seeks to learn what happened o the man who had gone before.
My only real criticism of this book has to be the back story to the events that lead to the downfall of civilization. There is a reason that successful post-apocalyptic stories centre around big global events such as an asteroid strike, a global pandemic or some form of environmental disaster – the effects have to be global for the story to hold together. Macauley’s vision is based on civil unrest and the break down of all and would, therefore, be limit to a single region at the most. Trying to suggest that the civil war in the US would result in the breakdown of society across the globe is either naive or profoundly egotistical.
However, if you are prepared to accept this admittedly rather large flaw, the book is actually a very good one.
The story is well told. There is plenty of action, some interesting ideas of how the break down might impact on those who come after. The mysterious link between the two characters is never fully explained but did add an interesting element.
Not a bad book. Not a classic, hence it’s demise.