Read The Sea and Summer by George Turner Online


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 apFrancis 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.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 J.G. 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, 1988...

Title : The Sea and Summer
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ISBN : 9780586203583
Format Type : Hardback
Number of Pages : 499 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Sea and Summer Reviews

  • S.B. Wright
    2019-02-05 14:26

    The novel has been out of print for some time, indeed I tried to find a copy a couple of years ago and couldn’t. Thankfully Gollanz have seen fit to reprint it as part of their masterworks series.So how, after 25 years, does the book hold up?Remarkably well is the short answer. Apart from a couple of historical errors that have crept in with the relentless march of time, it’s a book that fans of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker series and Anna North’s America Pacifica would enjoy.It’s a story within a story – the survivors of an a slow apocalypse looking back at the end of the Greenhouse culture. We are introduced to an archeologist taking a playwright around the crumbling monoliths of the Greenhouse culture. Vast city towers that held 70,000 plus people each. These are the autumn people living in the age where the earth is rapidly cooling toward another ice age. The Archeologist has written a novel that makes a narrative from her discoveries and thus the reader is drawn into the tale of a group of pivotal personalities that see out the beginning of the downfall of our culture, the Greenhouse culture.A didactic novel written in the mode of science fiction realism, in literary terms, its tone feels very similar to English works like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, its bleak forecast and representation of the poor reminded me a little of A Clockwork Orange. The Sea and Summer is undeniably Australian though and really should be on the reading list of every Australian science fiction writer.Turner does note in his afterword that:Nobody can foretell the future.In a world of disparate aims, philosophies and physical conditions the possible permutations are endless; few guesses aimed beyond a decade from today are likely to be correct, even by accident.The comment above me made me smile because I think Turner got a lot right in The Sea and Summer, maybe it was pure luck, maybe it was a well rounded knowledge of trends or just an understanding of human nature, but his 2040’s has the rich with large flat screen entertainment terminals that sound a lot like the Smart TV’s that you can buy now (if you happen to be lucky enough to live where you can get suitable internet service). The broadening gap between the rich and the poor (or Sweet and Swill as they are termed in the book) is happening. Even the conspiracy at the heart of the novel was apparently voiced by one of Australia’s richest business women yesterday.The books central message, observation, warning on climate change goes largely ignored today. Our next likely Prime Minister for example seems confused by the reality of the situation. The Sea and Summer is not depressing though, realistic in its observation of humans and the disasters we can bring upon ourselves, but also hopeful.The Sea and Summer won the Arthur C Clark award in 1988 the second year the Award had run. Turner had earlier won the Miles Franklin for his mainstream work The Cupboard Under the Stairs. Some awarded books fade from our consciousness, some we can look back on and wonder what the voters and juries of yester year were smoking. Not so with The Sea and Summer, this book deserves its award nomination and deserves to be read. I’d recommend it as a school text if I didn’t think that forcing teens to read it might result in an aversion to it by virtue of it being a prescribed text.This book was provided by the publisher.

  • Mark
    2019-01-25 13:09

    Technically a science fiction title, it is more just 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.

  • Martina
    2019-01-30 13:07

    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 were more parts 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 much more thrifty and economical lives. One can only hope the same for humanity.

  • Sjancourtz
    2019-01-17 09:32

    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.

  • Tripp
    2019-02-03 13:29

    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.

  • Estibaliz79
    2019-01-19 10:29

    Una vez más, he tenido ciertas dudas a la hora de valorar esta novela. Sé con certeza que se encuentra en el 3.5, y aunque tal vez pueda superarlo un poco, me ha parecido que las cuatro estrellas serían excesivas.Como novela distópica o postapocalíptica, resulta interesante sobre todo en su construcción de la sociedad en un mundo que se derrumba, y en la aproximación realista a las causas de tal derrumbe, en el que todavía se encuentran los personajes inmersos en la novela dentro de la novela. El arranque es potente y la introducción de los personajes atrapa el interés del lector con efectividad; sin embargo, para mí la cosa ha perdido un poco de fuerza una vez que se empieza a dar vueltas a la trama en sí de la novela, más allá de constructos de decadencia. A tal punto que algunos personajes me han empezado a parecer menos coherentes o atractivos. Reconozco que el problema pude ser mío (de concentración), pero lo dicho: me esperaba más después de una parte inicial tan potente.En definitiva, lectura interesante y amena, que recuerda un tanto a la serie "Silo" de Hugh Howie siendo fácil establecer un paralelismo silo-torre... aunque esta claro que donde "Las Torres del Olvido" gana en originalidad por antigüedad, la trilogía de Howie vence en personajes y trama que atrapa.

  • Catherine Siemann
    2019-02-16 09:17

    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 some more emphasis 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 of . . . oh, the current economic downturn and the likelihood of our not changing our behaviors enough to deflect the severity of the global warming trend.

  • Alistair
    2019-01-21 09:10

    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.

  • Steen Ledet
    2019-01-28 12:15

    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.

  • Liz Barr
    2019-01-17 10:09

    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

  • Brant
    2019-02-06 11:18

    This was a good book, but it was missing….something. The population - and the planet - are ravaged by climate change and changing technology. The people are fractured into several groups: the low-class, jobless Swill, living off of the Government in cramped high-rise towers; the elite Sweet, living in mansions and doing their best to forget about the Swill, and the Fringers, the poor souls on their way from Sweetdom to Swilldom.The story focuses on a particular Fringe family, the Conways; the two teenage sons Edward (Teddy) and Francis are of particular interest. Each boy reacts to their new Fringedom differently, making different choices throughout their lives. I don't want to spoil anything so I'll keep the plot details to that.Like I said earlier, this is a good book - you should read it - but I felt it had a few flaws that detracted from the overall story. The story is told from the points of view of several different characters. However, the author doesn't give us any particular reason to care about any of the characters until almost 2/3 of the way through the book - and even then, there are really only two characters that seem worthy of any emotional attachment. Along those lines, the plot is sort of ambiguous until about the same point, where it becomes pretty good for a few chapters and then sadly fizzles out to an unsatisfying ending. One final, but minor, nitpick is that this is sort of a story within a story, which just seemed unnecessary - the book would have stood on its own without the opening "outer" story. Despite all this, the book has some great concepts and plot-points, which keep it a solid 3-star good read.

  • Bill
    2019-02-05 14:09

    Nearly 3 decades ago the author said this book is not prophetic or a dire warning. He was wrong. It, like 1984, is both. It is perhaps the scariest novel I have read since. Scary because the science, politics and social effects of climate change he shows are all coming true. This is done using elegant characterization. Billy Kovacs, Teddie Kovacs... will be part of my life from here on—as will the stink of humans. Turner reveals truths and obvious secrets that today would likely deem him 'terrorist' and assassinated by drone strike or by mysterious disappearance. I bought it online, am writing this, so the NSA and bankers know I've read it. Should I worry?

  • J.G. Follansbee
    2019-02-02 11:20

    This review was originally published on my blog. Who wrote the first climate fiction novel? The small cadre of writers and editors interested in this new branch of science fiction cite J.G. Ballard’s 1962 novel The Drowned World as one of the first, if not the first, novels to explore how humanity copes with a warming world. But Ballard’s novel was published long before human-caused climate change was identified in the 1980s. In his world, an uptick in solar radiation melts the ice caps and floods the coasts. People are merely victims of an uncontrollable solar cycle.But who published the first fictionalized speculation on the impact of human-caused climate change on the planet and human civilization? That mantle falls on Australian George Turner, author of The Sea and Summer (published in the US as Drowned Towers), published in 1987 before the phrases “global warming” and “climate change” hit the popular culture. For writers who want to tackle climate change in fiction, Turner’s novel is the prototype for showing the possible interplay of rising sea levels, destructive droughts, and dying ecosystems with other long-term cultural trends on the course of human history. All climate fiction writers should read this novel.Turner follows the classic science fiction technique of speculating on the impact of new scientific ideas or discoveries on the human future. By the early 1980s, the preponderance of evidence showed the world was warming due to extra CO2 in the atmosphere, what Turner identifies as the “greenhouse effect,” a term which should have stuck because it brings home what happens when solar radiation is trapped in a greenhouse gas-soaked atmosphere. Although Turner does not specifically blame industrial civilization for the warming, he repeatedly chides the ancestors of his characters for failing to react appropriately and prevent the worst of the warming’s effects. The failure is characterized as a missed opportunity by men and women who prefer to deny what’s happening or simply muddle through like they always have. Turner portrays extreme weather events and floods caused by encroaching seas as visible, inexorable events that force his characters to adapt and adapt again. Nature is still in control, and the name of the game is survival.The Sea and Summer also unwittingly presents a metaphorical framework for today’s worries over growing income inequality. In his Melbourne of the mid-21st century, society has forked into the rich, powerful “Sweet” and a mass underclass known as the “Swill,” the brilliantly named human dross herded into high-rise tenements that—if Turner had lived to see them—satirize the high-rise condos for the wealthy that fascinate Americans in today’s west coast cities. Trapped between these extremes is the Fringe, interpreted through 2014 eyes as the shell of a dead middle class and a half-way stop to permanent poverty. In the novel postscript, Turner points to automation and a creaking financial system as the causes for the class bifurcation, but reread, it’s an elegant, emotionally accurate construct for the economic anxieties expressed as the 1% versus the 99%. The framework is important because it demonstrates that climate change means more than lost species and sea wall-topping hurricanes.Turner’s masterpiece, a winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, shows his origins as a literary writer. The main character is Billy Kovacs, a thuggish “tower boss” with a soft center who longs for respectability. He falls in love with Alison Conway, the widowed mother of two boys whose father kills himself after losing his job, dropping them into the Fringe. The Conway boys, Teddy and Francis, neatly switch roles as sympathetic support characters, while Nola Parkes, an entrepreneur turned corrupt bureaucrat, shows how people compromise to keep their places in the social strata. The characters are all believable. Turner stumbles by leaving a key narrative conflict, a clumsy genetic engineering story, until the last half of the book, which devolves into conspiracy theory about how the powerful might try to protect themselves from the impoverished if push comes to shove. Turner also grafts on an unnecessary sub-narrative taking place a thousand years in the future. The “Autumn People” chapters add little to the story.The Sea and Summer is often mentioned in the same breath as Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, which catalyzed English-speaking society’s anxiety about nuclear war. Unlike On the Beach, which was published 12 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and made into a movie, the Sea and Summer came out just as global warming emerged as a popular subject, although evidence about long-term impacts were seen as speculative. It failed to have the same impact on the global warming discussion as Shute’s novel had on nuclear war’s thinkability. Turner’s book was even out of print for years after his death in 1997, and only recently came back as part of the SF Masterworks series published by UK’s Gollancz, an imprint of Orion Publishing. The Sea and Summer’s revival should help it take its rightful place as a foundational work in a climate fiction canon.

  • Bernardo
    2019-02-09 14:10

    Uno no puede evitar relacionar el mundo distopico de Turner con lo que vivimos en la actualidad (Cambio climático y estancamiento económico, pero llevado al extremo, donde se puede ver las consecuencias de la auto complacencia.

  • Orlando
    2019-02-02 12:13

    Estupendo libro. Tengo que admitir que su primer capítulo me desmotivó un poco, pero una vez que el autor comienza "realmente" la historia, esta se vuelve absorvente y profunda. Me recuerda un poco a George Orwell.

  • Julie
    2019-02-01 11:26

    A must-read for anyone who is not yet concerned about the devastation we are causing to the environment. And it's set in right here in Melbourne. Mainly in Newport, actually... Close to home. A well-deserved winner of the Arthur C Clark award. RIP George.

  • Paul
    2019-02-02 08:33

    sci-fi: using an alternative/future view of science and reality to paint your picture or build the world that makes us question our own (cf.Drowning Towers)

  • Torsten
    2019-01-29 10:16

    Best example of climate fiction I've 25 yrs old but mostly feels prophetic rather than dated

  • Michael Baumgartner
    2019-02-04 13:30

    Turner extrapoliert heutige Trends. So gibt es durch die konkurrenzbedingte Rationalisierung immer mehr Arbeitslose, bis sie in der Mitte des 21. Jahrhunderts neun Zehntel ausmachen. Durch die Versorgung dieser Massen machen die Industriestaaten bankrott, das Währungssystem bricht zusammen. Hinsichtlich der Arbeitslosigkeit möchte ich anmerken, daß ich mir schwer vorstellen kann, daß die Menschen die Entwicklung bis zu diesem Stand einfach hinnehmen werden. Jedoch haben die anderen Entwicklungen eine große Wahrscheinlichkeit. Erzählt wird in einer sehr präzisen Sprache von verschiedenen Bewohnern Melbournes, Australien. Turner läßt die Figuren selbst erzählen. Durch die verschiedenen Perspektiven entsteht ein sehr lebendiges Bild vom Alltag in einer Gesellschaft, die in zwei Klassen geteilt ist. Den "Positvlern", die in relativen Wohlstand leben, und den "Negativlern", die ohne Arbeit in riesigen Hochhäusern, den "Türmen" ein von Enge, Gestank und Gewalt geprägtes Leben fristen. Doch Turners differenzierte und tiefe Sicht in gesellschaftliche Zusammenhänge und menschliche Verhaltensweisen verhindert Schwarzweißmalerei. Die Welt der Negativler wird nicht als Hölle geschildert, sondern mit eigener Ordnung, die auch positive Aspekte hat und in der Menschlichkeit und Unternehmungsgeist ihren Platz haben. Im Zentrum der Handlung steht der Lebensweg zweier unterschiedlicher Brüder, die als Positivler mit ihrer Mutter in den Randbezirk zwischen den Wohngebieten der Klassen ziehen, nachdem der Vater entlassen worden ist und sich umgebracht hat. Während die Mutter die Geliebte eines Turmbosses wird, gehen ihre Söhne unterschiedliche Wege, um dem Abrutschen ins Negativlertum zu entkommen, bis sie auf dem Höhepunkt der Handlung konträre Rollen bei einem gefährlichen Geheimprojekt des Staates einnehmen. Die Charakterisierungen der Figuren sind sehr gelungen. Hier zeigt sich Turners literarische Meisterschaft. Das Bild von der eigenen der Figuren, das dem Leser durch deren Erzählen vermittelt wird, wird ergänzt und manchmal auch konterkariert durch die Schilderungen der anderen Personen, so daß ein glaubwürdiges Bild entsteht.Die Rahmenhandlung weist den Text als Roman einer Jahrhunderte später lebenden Historikerin aus, die diesen Text nach historischen Aufzeichnungen geschrieben hat und einem Bühnenautor als Anregung für ein Stück über diese Zeit zum Lesen gibt. Ironischerweise gibt dieser ihn mit dem Hinweis auf seine Nichtdramatisierbarkeit zurück. Mit dieser Verschachtelung des Textes und der Nachschrift, in der Turner seinen Roman als ein mögliches Zukunftsszenario bezeichnet, erzeugt Turner eine Distanz, die Raum für eigene Überlegungen und Gedanken läßt. Dem Leser bietet sich ein komplexes und sehr gedankenreiches Werk dar, das aber keineswegs verbissen wirkt und sehr gut zu lesen ist. Sehr empfehlenswert.

  • Mel
    2019-02-08 08:31

    Published in 1987, The Sea and Summer (Drowning Towers in the USA), but for a few anachronistic omissions (for example, mobile phones), could have been written today.The story, set in an imagined mid to late 21st century is told from a future perspective, by an archaeologist historian turned author. When I say imagined, it's not that much of a stretch!The collapse of civilisation as we know it, has already occurred with population and global warming especially, cited as the main causes. We find ourselves in a society divided between the haves and have nots: 'sweets' and 'swills' respectively. What follows is a thriller of familial betrayal, government corruption, poverty, criminality and collusion. We discover that the collapse is not yet complete, there is still further to fall.The story is the vehicle for the wider themes (environmental threats, our response, the failure or shear inability of governments to act, what cost survival etc.) What sets it apart, are the really well drawn characters, and the very many pithy, prescient and quotable passages:"....'they' knew; back in the 1980's 'they' were warned but 'they' were busy. 'They' had the nuclear threat and the world population pressure and the world starvation problem and the terrorist outbreaks and the strikes and the corruption in high places shaking hands with crime in low places, and the endless business of simply trying to stay in power"Doesn't that strike a chord? As the author tells us in the postscript, "the sea and the summer is about the possible cost of complacency". That was written nearly 40 years ago and still, the tide is rising.There are a few intervals in the action, where I felt the presence of a clumsily constructed soap box, inserted without warning and as hastily withdrawn. But for the most part, I was drawn into the narrative and although I knew I had been invited to think about the topics tackled, I did not feel lectured. A very good read that I would recommend to everyone.

  • Athena
    2019-02-11 14:17

    A few months ago I discovered George Turner. For someone who loves science- fiction, not to know George Turner is frankly embarrassing. My only excuse is that The Sea and the Summer does not feel like a science-fiction. It is so closely based on extrapolation of proven scientific facts that it is difficult to describe it as science fiction at all. The plot is not great but the structure of the story is interesting and complex. There is an intense human feeling throughout the book; the novel is character-driven rather than plot-driven.Born in 1916, George Turner was already an accomplished novelist before he started writing science- fiction in the late ’70s. The Sea and the Summer first published 30 years ago, in 1987, but it still holds remarkably well. The story sets in mid-21st century Melbourne; global warming, rising temperatures and sea-levels (from the greenhouse effect) combined with automation and economic collapse has created a caste line system between those with jobs “the Sweet”, and the unemployed welfare takers “the Swill”. The Swill (90% of the total population) live in big towers, in enclosed overpopulated enclaves at the edges of the cities, with just enough to survive on. It is a vertical slum in the Greenhouse Years.There are also the people who live in “the Fringe”, a place between the two camps where the people who lose their jobs end up before being absorbed by “the Swill”. It is there, in the Fringe where the two brothers, Teddy and Francis Conway, end up after the death of their father. They react differently in this change; Teddy passes a special exam to join a special police force, and Francis uses his talent for numbers to join the back market working for a Sweet wealthy businesswoman.George Turner examines several issues in this novel. Overpopulation, environmental destruction, economic collapse, and the inability of our societies to distribute resources and opportunities in a fair and equitable manner. There is also a second shorter story with the main story, that takes place in the distant future. Humanity has survived the Greenhouse Years, and is preparing to face another Ice AgeThe Sea and Summer is not an entertaining story. It is a vivid, remarkable and uncomfortable account of life on the edge.The novel won the second Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1988.

  • Nicholas Whyte
    2019-02-05 15:31 confess that I knew nothing of this book or of the writer, and had no expectations whatsoever; and I also confess that I really liked it. It's set in a dystopian Australia of the near future (though the story is told with a framing narrative of researchers from the not-quite-so-near future looking back and trying to work out what was going on, a device I usually love). Society is divided between the well-off Sweet and the proletarian Swill, and the central characters are a family who slip from the former to the latter, with a specific plot strand around the exposure of a massive plot by the government against their own people - though really I feel that as much as anything the setting is the story. Australia is quite a good venue for post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian fiction, come to think of it. I have seen only one of the Mad Max films, but just a moment's reflection brings up Tank Girl, the Australian K9 series (nominally set in London, though I don't think anyone is fooled), The Year of the Angry Rabbit, and more seriously On The Beach.Anyway, The Sea and Summer is well-executed, at least partly a critique of the present day (in ways that still need the same critique thitty years on). I'm a bit surprised I hadn't heard more about it, and will keep an eye out for Turner's other work.

  • Ignacio Navarro
    2019-02-01 13:10

    Se plantea como "El mejor heredero de Orwell" y la verdad es que se puede apreciar su influencia en toda la obra. Al ser de 1987 tiene en mente otro problemas como la superpoblación, la economía o la guerra nuclear. Es un libro que empieza bastante bien, contándonos el futuro a la obra principal para comenzar con la historia principal.Tiene un buen comienzo, describiendo los problemas de la sociedad y enseñándonos ligeramente a los personajes. La novela avanza poco a poco, por veces bastante lentamente. Aunque es una buena historia, se alarga demasiado el final, le sobran facilmente 50 páginas, con un final muy distópico sin duda alguna. En resumen, una buena idea para una historia, pero se pierde demasiado por sus páginas. Podría haber dado más de sí. Aún así es un digno heredero de Orwell.6,5/10

  • Matthew
    2019-02-16 10:33

    There are remarkable ideas in this book, and its visions of economic collapse, the separation of the small minority of people that there is work for, and the rest who are permanently unemployed, as well as its presaging of the rise of the oceans due to climate change are all precocious for when it was written. I can see how the book won praise in its time for the ideas alone.As a piece of literature its value is far more doubtful. The author seems incapable of leaving character development to action, and what the reader is burdened with instead is a kind of prose transfer of the author's character psychology notes. No piece of character development is left to the reader and so there is for the reader essential nothing to do, and this book, with all of its great ideas, nevertheless, becomes just a chore to get through.I skimmed the back third of the book.

  • Bbrown
    2019-01-16 14:20

    The type of mediocrity this book represents is probably familiar to you if you read science fiction: it's a dystopia generated by taking a current problem with society and extrapolating it into its worst possible outcome. Thus did book burning beget Fahrenheit 451, did Christian fundamentalism beget The Handmaid's Tale, did Collectivism beget Anthem. Turner does the same operation using global warming, with mediocre results. Not that it's just about global warming, as Turner instead throws overpopulation, heightened class division, and an authoritarian government into the mix. The result is mediocre, in part because of the uninspired premise and setting, but also because the cast of characters works against that setting, and because Turner fails to say anything about what may be the central topic of this book.In the future, rising temperatures lead to the polar icecaps melting, so sea levels are on the rise. Simultaneously, world population has increased to a staggering ten billion, so that the world is overpopulated and all resources are scarce. Also, there is a clear division between the wealthy 10% who have jobs and live in protected enclaves, and the 90% that live on welfare and in massive condominium complexes. Also, people are becoming less educated, with most of the ignorant populace no longer knowing to read, or do math, or repair broken things. Also, automation is putting people out of work. Also, there is state controlled media that feeds people lies, and the totalitarian government is a surveillance state. Turner throws a lot of unoriginal ideas into his setting, with all of them having been done before in the genre in one fashion or another. He also takes only the worst of each of these developments and ignores any positive implications a development might have: all citizens are provided with high-tech screens that the government uses to feed the populace propaganda, but these screens apparently cannot provide any educational information, as one of the main characters must scrounge for books. With automation increasing and basic needs covered by the state, you might expect this world to have a bustling service economy, or at least people with hobbies, but no, the only actor we are eventually shown in the population at large is an oddity. At one point, with everything breaking down, one of the characters states that they could train 60,000 repairmen, but the idea is refuted by another character saying that society couldn’t afford the wages for 60,000 – Turner seems to have forgotten that he had already introduced a successful barter economy into this setting! Everything is introduced as a way to make this future setting as undesirable as possible, and Turner does so with no subtlety.Turner shows himself to be against subtlety throughout The Sea and Summer, most notably when he tells us what to think of the characters – no less than four people tell us that Francis is unlikable, instead of Turner making us dislike him on our own. Doing that without being over the top may have required more skill than Turner had, but it’s hard to praise him much for the path he took. The characters are inherently a detriment to the book, because there are so few of them. This is supposed to be a world bursting at the seams because of overpopulation, but the entirety of the book has about a dozen characters total, that all know and interact with each other. Billy lives in a tower of over 50,000 people, but the book makes reference to the idea that a stranger to that tower would be recognized and dealt with violently, as if anyone would have all 50,000 people memorized. Turner needs to make the world of the book feel overrun with people, but he accomplishes the opposite, the world feels empty most of the time despite Turner continuously telling us it isn't.Perhaps the single biggest problem of the book is that it either isn't about anything, or else doesn't say anything of note concerning what it is about. The main thing Turner seems to be writing for is to show the dystopian world of the future, as a broader conflict (a possible government conspiracy) only arises in the last hundred pages of the book, with a "bad guy” appearing in the last fifty . Sure, the book tracks the progression of a family that goes from upper class to poor, with one brother entering the government security service and the other becoming a minor criminal, but it feels as though Turner has us follow these characters mostly to provide points of view through which to absorb more of the world. If you disagree and think that the family members are more than just proxies through which to explore the setting, then the book falls into another problem in that it doesn't have anything to say about families. The book certainly mentions families often, with every adult male besides the bad guy being explicitly referred to as a father-figure, and even the frame narrative (that has its own problems) features family relationships, but at the end of the book I was left without any new insights into family, and without any clear understanding of what Turner wanted to communicate about family (if he even had anything in mind).The Sea and Summer is so very bland that I'll never recommend it to anyone, it follows a tired model of dystopias, throws too many old ideas at the wall, has a cast of characters that felt sparse when the world should have felt overwhelmingly full of people, and has nothing of note to say. It wasn't particularly boring, though, so it makes for an acceptable mindless read. 3/5.

  • Chris
    2019-02-14 08:17

    This is very much a book about concerns. And whilst some of the ideas are rooted in the 80s, the worries it has for the future feel very contemporary and well explored.Unfortunately one area that is suffers from this is the narrative. It has a frame that I find unconvincing, a story that is a bit and characters that are not fully fleshed out.But still worth going into for a tale of ideas.

  • Dean Lombard
    2019-02-05 10:32

    Awesome book. Just so very good. Great characters, great story, and such an authentic vision of Melbourne in the mid-21st century’s after decades of inaction on climate and economic change. Highly recommended.

  • Ian Porter
    2019-01-30 15:33

    Published in Australia in 1987 as "The Sea and Summer", I just finished rereading this dystopian look at climate change, population and inequality ... set in Melbourne. A fine book, dark and thoughtful. I actually look out at the towers of the title, huge housing blocks, from my office window.

  • Melissa
    2019-02-08 12:14

    Worth the readLess action than I️ typically like in a “pleasure” read but still an amazing piece of dystopian literature. I’m glad I️ read it.

  • Jon
    2019-02-10 08:12

    I started this expecting an environmental science fiction novel but it quickly turned into a social commentary on the sweet (the haves) and the swill (the have-nots). The sweet consider the swill to be swill because of character defects. The swill are lazy, stupid, entitled etc. Does any of this sound familiar? And should a swill somehow become a sweet, everyone understands that they're still swill underneath it all. And should a sweet become swill it's because they deserved it. They were never really sweet to begin with. But when you get down to it how much of a difference is there really between the two? Society is breaking down due in part to overpopulation (the swill might be expendable though, right?) and climate change and when you mix all of that together you end up with a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters for the most part though are insufferable and unlikable.