Flood - Stephen Baxter - NEW Book
The above effects are catastrophic, and exceed current estimates of climate change- related sea level rise. In the opening chapter, four main characters (Lily, Piers, Helen and Gary) are liberated from a "Christian extremist" Catalonian terrorist bunker in Barcelona after five years of captivity, in 2016. At this point, sea level changes have already submerged Tuvalu, a low lying South Pacific island, whose inhabitants have been evacuated to New Zealand.
However, as a tidal surge hits London and Sydney, scientists become aware that this cannot be explained solely by the consequences of climate change. Oceanographer Thandie uncovers the truth- that the seabed has fragmented, and there is turbulence that can only be attributable to the infusion of vast subterranean reservoirs of hitherto hypothesised but undetected oceanic masses of water.
Over the next three decades, steadily rising waters inundate the whole world, as the main characters struggle for survival in a vastly altered environment. Lily and her sister Amanda, as well as her children Ben and Kristie experience the flooding and abandonment of London, and refugee resettlement in Dartmoor, but the rising floodwaters make that only a temporary respite, and in 2019, a tsunami obliterates western coastal cities in England, Scotland and Wales. At the same time, New York is demolished by an Atlantic tidal surge, and Washington, D.C. is evacuated. For the next twenty years, Denver becomes the capital of the steadily diminishing United States, which fragments as individual states assert their own survival needs.
By 2020, much of the eastern United States is underwater, as well as Sacramento, California, on its western coast. Axys Corporation CEO Nathan has a contingency plan for survival of an affluent western minority, which involves evacuation to the mountainous Peruvian Andes. Lily and Piers tag along to the settlement, where Nathan discloses that he is aware of the extent of global inundation, which will not stop until all land on Earth is submerged, apart from the Greenland and eastern Antarctica ice sheets. As the United States is eroded away, a contingent of refugees heads south, and seizes control of the former elite settlement, but "Ark Three", a Queen Mary sized ocean vessel sets sail in 2035. By then, little of Western Europe, Russia, the Americas, Oceania and Africa remain above the water.
However, as it heads for Tibet, Nepal's Maoist rulers have devastating news- Tibet is ruled by a Khmer Rouge-like regime that practices human slavery and cannibalism. Ark Three has nowhere to go, given that the floods are now lapping around the Rocky Mountains. Seaborn piracy is rife from those refugee seaborn populations who have taken to scavenging the refuse from the posthumous remains of human civilisation, who ultimately board and destroy Ark Three. By then, over five billion people have perished from the floods.
By 2048, the Andes, Rocky Mountains and elsewhere have been submerged. Tibet's regime is no more, and Australia, North America, South America, Africa, and most of Asia except for the highest mountains in the Himalayas have been flooded. As Lily settles into life as a sea-dwelling survivor, Piers, Nathan and Kirstie die in staggered succession. The novel ends in 2052, as a group of survivors watch the submergence of the peak of the former Mount Everest. Lily has survived, and wonders what the grandchildren of her old hostage comrades from three decades ago will make of post-deluge Earth, now at a new environmental equilibrium, with a vast global storm system that is reminiscent of those on Jupiter and Neptune.
Civilization is virtually dead at novel's end. Survivors continue to exist only on the rafts and some decrepit surviving former navy vessels. By the end of the novel, extinction seems certain for humanity on Earth. However, we learn later in the book that Ark Three (the aforementioned ocean liner) was one of many projects created by Axys and a few other groups. One of these (Ark One) was a starship project, which was taken over by the remnant government of the United States, and launched as the floods reached Colorado. In 2052, a solar eclipse occurs, just as a massive burst of light is sighted near Jupiter and the survivors realize it must be the Ark utilising a gravitational slingshot trajectory around the gas giant, to accelerate its way to the stars. On Earth, the children of the rafts, raised on the water, are building their own aquatic culture.
As they prepare to leave the former site of Mount Everest Lily realizes something. She sailed on Ark Three, and Ark one is a starship. In closing, she asks "What is Ark Two?" The question ends the novel, and sets the scene for Baxter's sequel, Ark.
About the Author Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter is a prolific British hard science fiction author. He was born and raised Roman Catholic. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering.Strongly influenced by SF pioneer H. G. Wells, Baxter has been a distinguished Vice-President of the international H. G. Wells Society since 2006. Stephen Baxter's fiction falls into three main categories, each with a very different style and tone.
His Xeelee Sequence stories are set in the far future, where humans are rising to become the second most powerful race in the universe, next to the god-like Xeelee. Character development in these stories takes second place to the depiction of advanced theories and ideas, such as the true nature of the Great Attractor, naked singularities and the great battle between Baryonic and Dark matter lifeforms. Examples of novels written in this style: Ring, Timelike Infinity.His present-day Earth stories are much more human, with characters portrayed with greater depth and care. They typically indulge in "if only" whimsy or outright alternate history, dreaming about what humanity could achieve in the exploration of space. NASA features prominently, and a great deal of research has obviously been done into its internal structuring and methods.
However, these novels have a much darker tone than any of his other stories and do not often portray much hope for humanity as a moral species. Examples of novels written in this style include his NASA Trilogy, includingVoyage (winner of the Sidewise Award for Alternate History), Titan, and Moonseed); and his as-yet unnamed disaster series, including Flood and Ark.
Each novel of the Manifold trilogy is focused on a potential explanation of the Fermi paradox. His "Evolution" stories are a later development and show an increasing interest in the evolution of humanity. These seem to have their origins in stories of his other writing styles, such as Mammoth and Manifold: Origin. The novel Evolution is an example of this style.Baxter also covers numerous other styles: his Mammoth stories, ostensibly for children, are often of great delight to adults, while The Time Ships (an authorised sequel to The Time Machine) is generally taken to be one of his greatest novels. It won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the BSFA Award, and was nominated for other major science fiction awards, including the Hugo Award.
In February 2007, Stephen Baxter was announced as the author of what was to be the 100th story for Big Finish Productions' Doctor Who audio series. Earthstorm was originally scheduled to be released in late September 2007, but has been delayed indefinitely, according to a May 2007 announcement on the company's website. Stephen Baxter has also written non-fiction essays and columns for such publications as Critical Wave and the British SF Association's Matrix.
Flood - Stephen Baxter - NEW Book
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