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Drowning Towers is yet another good entry in the science speculative fiction genre The title ruins the first impression, though, because it sets the tone of doom and gloom way too early For that reason, the title given to the novel inside the novel The sea and summer works much better The sea and summer is very innocent and is very much in contrast with the world the author portrays Turner s vision of the future is grim and dreary it might not be as extreme as Harrison s Make room Make Drowning Towers is yet another good entry in the science speculative fiction genre The title ruins the first impression, though, because it sets the tone of doom and gloom way too early For that reason, the title given to the novel inside the novel The sea and summer works much better The sea and summer is very innocent and is very much in contrast with the world the author portrays Turner s vision of the future is grim and dreary it might not be as extreme as Harrison s Make room Make room , but it still packs a punch The climate changes, the overpopulation and lack of resources are a focal point of the novel, for a job in the goverment means the difference between life living in a normal house and death living in an overcrowded tower Or that s the way Francis, one of the protagonists, views life as getting back into the Sweet regardless of the price Contrary to the blurb, Francis is not the main character of The sea and summer There are several narrators in the book Francis brother Teddy and mother Alison, the rich businesswoman Nola Parks, Teddy s superior in the law enforcement Nick Nikopoulos I suppose Turner wanted to explore how bad conditions in the society can erode the family unit and even destroy it But I was glad that we had a multitude of narrators, simply because I needed a change of pace The characters were mostly unlikeable, especially Francis His behavior as a child was somewhat understandable, but as an adult he was downright loathsome If there wereparts where Francis was directly involved, I would throw in the towel very, very soon into the novel But interesting enough, despite the near ecological disaster on one side and the difficulties a family that had fallen on hard times experiences in a cruel world on the other, and the author manages to convey a glimmer of hope You see, the depressing The sea and summer is a novel done by a scholar who lives in the distant future one of the Autumn people They are living in Earth s autumn, anticipating the new ice age, but they are still there They are still living and trying to make sense of the Greenhouse culture, and I suppose, living muchthrifty and economical lives One can only hope the same for humanity 1987 Australian SF novel about a world wide dystopia caused by global warming, overpopulation and the automation of most jobs Good, but it could ve been better without the story within a story framework. Technically a science fiction title, it isjust near futuristic and hauntingly plausible In the coming decades, class stratification leads to sharp division between Sweet those with jobs and a tenuous grasp at some sense of instable stability, roughly analogous to our present day middle class and Swill, the despised underclass forced to contend with sea levels rising around their high rise towers, massive unemployment and no sense of hope Billy Kovacs, a tower boss, keeps his world af Technically a science fiction title, it isjust near futuristic and hauntingly plausible In the coming decades, class stratification leads to sharp division between Sweet those with jobs and a tenuous grasp at some sense of instable stability, roughly analogous to our present day middle class and Swill, the despised underclass forced to contend with sea levels rising around their high rise towers, massive unemployment and no sense of hope Billy Kovacs, a tower boss, keeps his world afloat through bribery, conniving, and finally, through an act of brutality and calculation that I ve only seen equaled in Steinbeck s Of Mice and Men Fabulous One of the all time best science fiction books ever Takes place in Australia, in a world where global warming and rising sea levels and a collapsed economy divide people into two groups the sweet those who have jobs and the swill those who live on a meager public assistance program in decrepit public housing, scrabbling to survive This is your future, America Wake up and do something before it s too late. This book was recommended to me when I was looking for a novel about ecocastrophe to teach it s very much a pity that it is out of print It was published in 1987 and the concerns it reflects are still very much in the forefront, particularly economic collapse and ecological catastrophe.In mid 21st century Australia, there is 90% unemployment, the small and tenuous middle class the Sweet are in constant fear of losing their jobs, but buck themselves up with their scorn of the Swill, who live This book was recommended to me when I was looking for a novel about ecocastrophe to teach it s very much a pity that it is out of print It was published in 1987 and the concerns it reflects are still very much in the forefront, particularly economic collapse and ecological catastrophe.In mid 21st century Australia, there is 90% unemployment, the small and tenuous middle class the Sweet are in constant fear of losing their jobs, but buck themselves up with their scorn of the Swill, who live in tower blocks and barely eke out an existence on government subsidies When a father s job loss and suicide lead a mother and her two sons from a comfortable Sweet life to the Fringe of respectability, they meet an extraordinary man But, unlike the movie trailer phrasing I ve just used, things are complicated by class prejudice and the continually deteriorating landscape I would have preferred there be someemphasis on the environmental issues as well, but the explorations of how human society might react to the crisis it finds itself in are worthwhile and frightening in the face ofoh, the current economic downturn and the likelihood of our not changing our behaviors enough to deflect the severity of the global warming trend Me oh my oh, the Australians know how to show the slow slide into apocalypse Mad Max shows a world not too different from our own, but terrible in its changes In that movie, the changes are never really discussed, but they are the subtext of the film Australian author George Turner s Arthur C Clarke Award winning Drowning Towers known as the Sea and Summer in the UK tells a similarly bleak tale of life after the decline of civilization.The book is framed by a story of the Autumn people so Me oh my oh, the Australians know how to show the slow slide into apocalypse Mad Max shows a world not too different from our own, but terrible in its changes In that movie, the changes are never really discussed, but they are the subtext of the film Australian author George Turner s Arthur C Clarke Award winning Drowning Towers known as the Sea and Summer in the UK tells a similarly bleak tale of life after the decline of civilization.The book is framed by a story of the Autumn people so called because they await the coming of the new Ice Age or Long Winter who live some centuries from now in Australia Much of the coastal cities are now submerged under the risen seas The Autumn people are disdainful of the Greenhouse people who failed to stop the sea from rising An artist among them using diaries to try to reconstruct how the Greenhouse people live.The Greenhouse people story centers on a Sweet family that has fallen among the Swill The Sweet are the tiny upper class, generally state workers, who have health care, jobs and live cleanly The Swill are the underclass who live in squalor in towers that are routinely flooded by the seas Much of the story is a political drama involving this family.The political story drags a bit, but Turner s point is that people focus on these short term, often political, issues while ignoring the larger problems around them The State is entirely focused on dealing with economic issues when the environment is about to make all of them irrelevant.The slow Armageddon of the book written in 1987 will disturb modern readers The global capitalist economy falls to pieces thanks to failures of the emerging economies and the rising sea slowly eats the world An incredibly prescient novel published in 1987 set in a 21st century Melbourne that is drowning, literally, as the Greenhouse Effect has made chaos of the weather and food production Only the tallest towers and the Dandenongs remain above water as the haves and the have nots battle for survival. Wonderful, thought provoking science fiction from an author I ve never heard of A multi pov novel that uses two separate futures to comment on the inability of representing the whole throug the part, but also the inability of doing anything else The calm, measured unfolding of almost inevitable events builds into a terrifying intensity at the end of the novel. {DOWNLOAD E-PUB} è Drowning Towers ⚠ Francis Conway is Swill one of the millions in the yearwho must subsist on the inadequate charities of the state Life, already difficult, is rapidly becoming impossible for Francis and others like him, as government corruption, official blindness and nature have conspired to turn Swill homes into watery tombs And now the young boy must find a way to escape the approaching tide of disaster The Sea and Summer, published in the US as The Drowning Towers is George Turner s masterful exploration of the effects of climate change in the not too distant future Comparable to JG Ballard s The Drowned World, it was shortlisted for the Nebula and won the Arthur C Clarke Award Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award for best novel, I ve never been an advocate of the idea that you must be familiar with certain writers and works in order to call yourself a science fiction fan, but sometimes I find a gap in my reading that s frankly embarrassing.So it was with George Turner, the Australian, Melburnian author of acclaimed SF and literary novels Until The Sea and Summer was quoted in Sophie Cunningham s Melbourne, I had never heard of him.Born in 1916, he was already an accomplished critic and novelist winner of the Miles Fra I ve never been an advocate of the idea that you must be familiar with certain writers and works in order to call yourself a science fiction fan, but sometimes I find a gap in my reading that s frankly embarrassing.So it was with George Turner, the Australian, Melburnian author of acclaimed SF and literary novels Until The Sea and Summer was quoted in Sophie Cunningham s Melbourne, I had never heard of him.Born in 1916, he was already an accomplished critic and novelist winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1962 before he started writing SF in the late 70s Wikipedia describes his science fiction writing as being remarkable for detailed extrapolation and invariably earnest approach to moral and social issues Joe Haldeman called The Sea and Summer didactic , and apparently meant it as a compliment.My curiosity was piqued, and The Sea and Summer published in America as The Drowned Cities has recently come back into print I bought the ebook and settled in Francis Conway is Swill one of the millions in the year 2041 who must subsist on the inadequate charities of the state Life, already difficult, is rapidly becoming impossible for Francis and others like him, as government corruption, official blindness and nature have conspired to turn Swill homes into watery tombs And now the young boy must find a way to escape the approaching tide of disaster.What the publisher s blurb doesn t tell you is that this is a novel about two brothers, Teddy and Francis As the novel opens, they re little Sweet in a society with 90% unemployment, their father has a job, which means they re lower middle class Then their father is laid off and cuts his own throat, and so the Conway family becomes rapidly downwardly mobile They are not actually Swill, but fringe dwellers, living just a few blocks from the vast skyscrapers that hold the Swill population.Teddy is gifted , so he s swiftly spirited away by the State, to train in police intelligence Francis, left behind, is a skilled mathematician in an age where mental arithmetic has been forgotten, and so he becomes involved with a white collar criminal who needs to hide her records from the government.As a kid in the 80s and 90s, I read a lot of didactic science fiction about climate change I didn t really enjoy these books for one thing, my parents were are climate change skeptics, and regarded environmentalism as a left wing plot, and as a wee child I absorbed these ideas , but in those heady, pre internet days, reading SF filled the gap between episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation The best of those earnest middle grade novels was The Lake at the End of the World by Caroline MacDonald, which surely deserves an entry here if I ever find my copy The Sea and Summer reminded me very strongly of those books It s grim, largely humourless, and contains long passages of conversation explaining human nature I had hoped that Turner s literary background would be reflected in the quality of his writing, and it was, but it was an assemblage of the traits that put me off literary fiction as a genre a narrative that speaks for the characters instead of letting them demonstrate their qualities through dialogue, and, when they do speak, they all sound basically the same.Part of this might be down to the framing device The Sea and Summer is a novel written in the very far future, after humanity has survived the Greenhouse Years and is preparing to face another Ice Age I wondered if we re meant to think the author of the novel within the novel is just not very good, but all the far future characters are written in the same way The far future setting has no narrative of its own, save for one character an Indigenous Australian actor who plays caucasians in whiteface who is seeking to write a play featuring the novel s characters There are lots of earnest discussions about human nature, many featuring a Christian character who, as the stereytype goes, cannot speak without moralising He s thoroughly judgmental and unpleasant, but apparently we re meant to find it appalling that he s studying church history, because what a waste of intellect It s always hard to judge near future science fiction without sniggering at the things it gets wrong Remember the Eugenics Wars of the late 1990s Well, who doesn t But I tried very hard, as I was reading, to separate any feelings of superiority I might have at spotting the wrong history from my response to the story itself.This was difficult, though, because the novel deals with issues that are happening right now financial collapse, harsh austerity measures, chaotic weather and the responses of the characters, and society in general, bear no relationship to reality If millions of people are crammed into 70 story buildings and all but left to rot, is it really going to take decades for social unrest to develop Is it going to be years before people start thinking of re learning the homesteading arts and becoming self sufficient As I write, within 24 hours of the government announcing its inhumane policy of sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, protests were being organised by the inner urban left wing The Swill v Sweet policies affect the urban poor of the western suburbs if we tried treating that demographic the way we treat refugees, there would be riots The novel discusses at great length the extent to which this status quo is deliberately maintained by the government, but again, it s not convincing Coupled with the explanation that the lower classes need to be coaxed into revolution by intellectuals, and the portrayal of the Swill as anarchic and dangerous, I was increasingly uncomfortable with the subtext There are lots of scenes where characters realise to their amazement that Swill are, in fact, people, but there is such emphasis on the special qualities of Billy Kovacs, the Tower Boss who is an object of fascination throughout the book, that it starts to feel tokenistic Our best look at an average Swill is a scene with a 14 year old prostitute, who is animalistic, violent and frankly a bit stupid.The novel s treatment of race, such as it is, is similarly troubling We have the intellectual, elite Aboriginal in the framing scenes, which is a nice change from the usual absence of Indigenous Australians from any future setting I m troubled by the whiteface aspect, but I can t quite articulate how And it s just a one off line that I may be blowing out of proportion On the other hand, in the novel within a novel, we also have a reference to Asians okay, a series of racist slurs moving into central Australia and promptly destroying the environment with artificial weather programs.Later, Teddy recoils from the realisation that his future mentor is ethnic I mean, he s Greek Now, racist bigotry against Mediterranean immigrants was big in the 50s and 60s, but it was dying out in the 80s save for a few last gasps in the form of bad comedy and is pretty much laughable now Nick is a great character, by far the most likeable in the novel, but I m still confused by the attitude towards his Greekness.I don t mean to be ticking off social justice talking points, but I really can t not discuss the women of The Sea and Summer It won t take long, because there aren t many There s the scholar in the framing device Alison Conway, mother of the heroes and lover of Billy Kovacs Nola Parkes, a public servant or businesswoman and Vi, Billy s wife, who is immensely fat gross is one word that s used but also his political confidant Oh, and there s Carol, the love interest for one of the Conway brothers but don t worry, she has a couple of scenes, then vanishes from the stage as soon as they become a couple.Suffice to say, the narrative doesn t really serve women Although I can t say it does a great job with the men, either Much is made of Francis being unlikeable and generally unpleasant, but until the very end, and an incident that frankly didn t match up with his earlier behaviour, he didn t seem like an especially weak or nasty person Desperate, yes, and somewhat conniving, but his behaviour made sense in the context of his life, and seemed quite understandable coming from a young boy and teenager Until the very last moment, his punishment doesn t seem to fit his crime.I think perhaps the age of the protagonists misled me into approaching this as a young adult novel, ie, it wouldn t take it for granted that its audience hated and feared teenagers The lack of sympathy for Francis and apparent support of Teddy, who is essentially a member of a secret police force was confusing.With all these complaints, why did I keep reading Well, stubborness, and a strong sense that I wanted to talk about this book.And it s an Australian novel that s set in Melbourne, my adopted city I really loved the glimpses of the future city even as I wonder, if rising oceans necessitate the building of sea walls, is the central business district really going to be that dry and well maintained , the vast towers dominating Newport and Richmond.There s also a glimpse of the past city, as Teddy walks through the long abandoned Jolimont Railyard, a landmark that no longer exists in 2013 wiped out by urban renewal, not decay.The Sea and Summer was described as a novel of Melbourne that advanced its science fiction presence beyond Neville Shute s On the Shore, updating the apocalyptic city for a new threat I wonder if perhaps Melbourne is due to be destroyed again, fictionally speaking, and what the 21st century approach will look like This review was first posted no no award.net