Dave Freer is not your average Science Fiction or fantasy author. His books always seem to have that rare combination of humor, warmth and excitement that make a book all but impossible to put down.
So you can imagine my excitement when Dave asked me if I wanted to read his latest YA effort Cuttlefish.
My response was, “um? yes?”
Fast forward a few weeks (it took weeks because they had to send me the book and I had to clear a couple other things from the review queue first) and the book arrives. Three days later I’m finished with it. (It took me that long because I have to, you know, sleep, and I have a day job. Regardless I ended up at the day job exhausted two days running because I insisted on sitting up to read it way past my bedtime. Yes I have a bedtime, I’m old, sue me.)
I finish it, email Dave: “Done withCuttlefish, expect review this weekend.”
“How did you like it?” he asks.
My response: “Um, sequel? Like, now?”
Now that I have explained the book is great, one supposes I should probably explain what the book is about.
In brief, it’s the mid-1950s, coal still powers the world because no one ever came up with a cheap way to synthesize ammonia. (Believe it or not, ammonia underlies nearly every major industrial process we have and the process for making it was discovered more-or-less by accident by a german scientist — or quite possibly his wife — in the early 1900s.) Some decades before melting icecaps caused by all the burning coal caused an immense methane burp and furthered the melting. Things have been cooling off for some time, but as of the mid-50s London is mostly drowned, the communists never came to power in Russia, America is still mostly a provincial backwater and the British Empire still rules most of the world thanks to their stranglehold on coal and the natural nitrates needed for munitions and fertilizer.
Into this world comes Tim, a young cabin boy on the renegade submarine Cuttlefish and Clara Calland who is escaping the British aboard the sub along with her mother. The precocious teenagers manage to get into a lot of trouble, and save the day a couple of times along the way.
I won’t go into much more detail because, well, I want you to read the book.
Suffice to say this is typical Freer. Plenty of adventure, dry, sly humor and a few things to say on the nature of people and freedom.
Look, just buy the book. It’ll be out in July from Pyr. Yes it’s YA, so what? So’s Harry Potter and this is just as much fun.
Filed under: Reviews