Thursday 1 July 2021

This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise


This Fragile Earth is set in a 'near future' Britain but, to be honest, it could be just around the corner. In this setting people are, pretty much as they are now, dependent on computers, gadgets, tech. Everything can be controlled by a click, a swipe, an app and as you'd expect, when these things start to go awry everyday life goes to hell. People have no access to their money, the food they have soon goes off as the tech fridges stop working, the water and power soon fail and people cannot even get in/out of their homes (electronic access and egress). 

 When the police and army are seen patrolling the streets and people start going missing Signy decides it's not safe in London any more and sets off on foot with her family (partner Matthew and 6 yr old son Jed) for her old family home in the Northamptonshire countryside in the hopes things will be better there. 

 This book really ticked all the boxes for me. I've long wondered what will happen when the tech we all depend on stops working and Wise handles this really well. The way people panic and regress to more animalistic ways quite quickly feels pretty much spot on. 

 As for the characters Signy and Matthew worked well as they are really only still together for the sake of their son (so more friends than lovers) but I wasn't so sure about Jed (I think he annoyed me too much at times) but for the most part their group dynamic worked. 

 The tech they depended on felt feasible and not too far fetched which is probably what makes the setting quite unnerving and the early scenes where this was introduced to the reader was done really well. It's remarkable that this is a debut novel. 

 One final thing I will say, if I owned a movie or TV company I would be wanting to snap this up straight away 

A well deserved 5/5*

Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour, Gollancz for providing the review copy and please have a read of the posts by the other bloggers involved (below) 

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