Flashes of Brilliance, but Ultimately Uninspiring

Review of novel for Audible

While it took great courage (and ten years?) for the author to tackle this topic, I admit I wouldn’t recommend this ambitious novel to friends or students.

To begin with, the complexities of “climate change” were oversimplified. Soil science and the destruction of soil’s living layers by agribusiness weren’t even mentioned until Chapter 38, and incompetent industrial monocropping with GMO seeds for staple crops is the primary reason dust storms are increasing in severity–formerly rich, life-infested earth has literally turned to dust. The persistent toxins from pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizer then pollute the groundwater, and are found in the tissues of every human being on this planet.

Not to mention the huge percentage of pharmaceutical agents which are excreted into the groundwater, creating destructive toxins and xenoestrogens responsible for everything from the dramatic drop in sperm count and motility to endometriosis. If you drink unfiltered tapwater, you are consuming your neighbors’ residual medications, which are not filtered out by municipal water systems. Also, the sudden exponential increase in UV radiation is just as dangerous for plants as it is for people…famines are definitely on the horizon. The carbon capture focus of The Deluge is inadequate.

I digress, but I did expect these components of our current disaster to be addressed by a novel of the near future. Another problem for me was the lack of appealing female characters. The male characters were usually more sympathetic and less strident. And there wasn’t a single romantic relationship–of any sexual dimension–that felt compassionate and true. The autistic mathematician’s experimental starvation of his infant son was appalling. Try limited calories as an adult–fine–but this test of his growing infant made me dislike this formerly interesting character intensely. I remember being hungry as a child, and it is inexcusable for all children, everywhere–especially as an experiment!

Finally, after slogging through so many hours, I had hoped that future indicators would create both urgency and hope. Instead, I felt a great letdown. The “future” was basically the present, minus electric vehicles (which require destructive lithium mining) and the extensive use of olivene (which actually erodes very quickly once it appears on Earth’s surface) as a carbon sink. Much more effective to reforest lost acres with hardy tree crops such as bamboo, which can be turned into everything from construction material to clothing. Hemp is also a hardy crop tolerating adverse conditions. Living plants are more effective and productive carbon sinks. “ReGreening” Earth and protecting groundwater will help prevent the water wars predicted by many futurists. Unfortunately The Deluge barely touched on the lack of potable water, NOW, in many parts of the world, and our own United States. I have to say that despite my love for long novels, I wouldn’t buy this one in paperback or hardcover.

#review #TheDeluge #tropicaltoes.net


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