Desolation Road: A Short Story
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The threads he weaves are both of hard SF and fantasy, often skilfully exchanging such tropes without warning but not so as to confuse but to enchant the reader.
Breakdown During Desolation Row
There is humour too, sharp and dry, that lubricates this very colourful work. Now I have dug out my print review and see that I posed the question 'will this new British Author maintain such a high standard? In with the Hugo nomination of River of Gods and of course in we had Brasyl which also in was nominated for a Hugo that it should have won is another story. However in between we had a bit of a slog. You see first novels are often quite good. The debut author writes using his or her best ideas and there are no editorial deadlines.
Therefore, all too frequently, their next novels are simply not so good. He carefully charts each shift in policy by home-grown Leninists but neglects the sources and consequences of the huge, if short-lived, populist movements led by Charles Coughlin, Huey Long and Francis Townsend.
At times, Watkins suggests that the country was on the brink of revolution. Yet the real contest was between an unsteady coalition of reformers and pragmatic radicals on one side and conservatives in both major parties who loathed the New Deal.
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Focusing almost entirely on stories about collective anger also misses a sober reality about the Depression: millions of suffering Americans, spawn of an individualist culture, blamed themselves for their plight. They had assumed that the consumer-driven prosperity of the 's would only expand and did not recover easily or quickly from the shock of economic collapse.
Ian McDonald (Creator) - TV Tropes
The familial crisis of the 30's was as profound as the political one, as marriages frayed and teenagers left home in search of work. The hunger for security under paternal leadership did much to keep Franklin Roosevelt in power, gaining him votes even from citizens who were troubled by the expansion of government during his long years in office. The coming of World War II did more than end the Depression by creating millions of jobs, for those in and out of uniform.
It also liberated Americans from an epidemic of self-doubt. And Watkins's prose often has the intensity and warmth of a photo by Dorothea Lange or a novel by John Steinbeck, artists whom the author clearly admires.
Tag: Desolation Road
At a time when most Americans learn about the past by watching large and small screens, a historian who can write so vividly ought to find a wide audience. The book ends with the author's childhood memory of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. After the radio announced news of the Japanese attack, his mother went to his room and methodically checked each of his toys to see where it had been manufactured. Without realizing it Dr.
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Alimantando founds a town that is not supposed to be. According to the terraforming plans the first towns in the region should not be founded until years later. Desolation Road is a blank spot on the map. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the town still attracts people. A criminal on the run, a babooshka, a mechanical genius, a pilot without a plane, a set of identical triplets in love with the same woman, the list of strange people goes on for quite a wile.
These people, their children and grandchildren will shape the history of Desolation Road and, as time progresses, that of the entire planet. Desolation Road is a strange novel, science fiction with a distinct fantastic element. The setting very SF, a future Mars, with all manner of interesting and powerful technology available. In parts of the novel McDonald doesn't shy away from myth, religion and spirituality though. It give the whole an otherworldly feel.
McDonald's Mars is a place where you expect weird thing to happen. With the town of Desolation Road as the centre of the novel, it does not have any real main characters.
McDonald uses a lot of different characters to show us the different phases of the town's history. Especially early on this can be confusing to the reader.
Personally I think he takes a bit too long introducing the lot of them. It takes quite a while before we leave the narrow focus on the town itself and have a look at the larger picture. That large picture shows surprising parallels with my first fictional encounter with Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.
A series published several years after Desolation Road.