This Fragile Earth

This Fragile Earth

SUMMARY – The 10-second review

This Fragile Earth | Susannah Wise

This Fragile Earth is an interesting, readable novel that kept reminding me of the old dystopian/eco-novel Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart. The stories are totally different, but the tone of voice and the implicit plea to take care of our precious, fragile planet, are similar.

The story is believable (suspension-of-disbelief-believable, not realistic-scenario-believable) and the world-building is well done. The world is toxic, bees have been replaced by drones, many service providers (medical staff, police, etc.) replaced by robots. But in many ways the world is just as we know it. I like when futuristic novels are grounded in reality, and this novel does this well.

Signy is living in London with her partner Matthew and their young son Jed. In a moment, the world begins to descend into chaos when all electricity, water supply and machines stop working (that bit is believable, and frightening!). With no money to buy food (cards don’t work) and as people become desperate and violent, she and Jed head North (by bike) to go to her mother in the fictional hamlet of Warston.

It’s a well written novel with action, anxiety, hope and plenty of heart, that keeps you gripped from the start. It’s very impressive for a first novel. The eco theme comes across as genuinely heartfelt.

I’ve been addicted to dystopian novels since I was a teenager: I’ve read hundreds of them. After living through a pandemic now for more than a year and a half (and it’s not going away any time soon), while watching the climate go out of control (as I write, rain is bucketing down, in July, in a country already ravaged by floods a couple of weeks ago), this whole dystopia stuff is beginning to seem way, way, waaaayyyy too real.

Is it fixable?

My thanks to Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.

This Fragile Earth is available from all major booksellers.

You might also like: When the Lights Go Out | Carys Bray

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