Lie of The Land
Michael F. Russell
Polygon Books £12.99
THE way the world ends, in this debut novel from Highland journalist Russell, is not with a bang, but the whimper of a technology app designed to make the world more peaceful.
It achieves its aims far more comprehensively than its makers could have imagined (shouldn’t these things have been tested?) by sending evryon in range into a sleep from which they will never wake up.
Fortunately not quite all the western world is affected and, thanks to a quirk of reception that will make you think twice about complaining about lack of decent broadband, the west Highland village of Inverlair becomes an island of human life in a wasteland of gentle death.
Here Glasgow journalist Carl Shewan finds himself a very reluctant community member. Having campaigned against the surveillance society that precipitated this apocalypse, he now finds himself trapped in the goldfish bowl of a tiny Highland village, viewed with suspicion with the locals who wonder how much he knew about the disaster and making things worse for himself by consistently demanding to escape, even though there is nowhere to go, and refusing to acknowledge the consequences of a brief liaison in the face of the world’s end.
Carl is hardly the most sympathetic of leading men, and Russell’s well written book is less science-fiction than a study of how Carl comes to terms with his place in this strange new world.