From Publishers Weekly
In his idea-filled, forward-looking first novel, noted essayist Florman (The Existential Pleasures of Engineering, etc.) shows only passing concern for the nitty-gritty of daily survival in a postapocalyptic world. The story opens with a cosmic "Bang!," when a comet crashes into the Pacific on Christmas Day, 2009. The few people who survive are those fortunate enough to be nearly on the opposite side of the earth. The most notable group consists of a collection of top engineers taking a seminar cruise in the Indian Ocean. Landing in South Africa, these optimistic "Can do!" types quickly cooperate with the mixed communities of so-called Inlanders, trading their knowledge for food and salvaged materials. Establishing "Engineering Village" as their home, they plan on making it the hub of a second Industrial (and later, electronic) Revolution. Much of the book is concerned with the planning needed to reconstitute the lost industries and social structures of the survivors' former lives. Even when the daily fish catch is stolen by the divinely mad pirate leader Queen Ranavolana, their first impulse is to put together a meeting with a "clear, focused agenda." Interleaving a recounting of the new colonists' struggles with selections from the journal of their recording secretary, Florman tries to personalize his story. But, lacking realistic conflict, his narrative remains only a blueprint of an upbeat vision rather than a solid foundation for this hopefulness.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
After a cataclysmic asteroid strike destroys most life on Earth, a cruise ship filled with vacationing engineers and a community of South African villagers sole survivors of the disaster struggle to recover what they can of the world they knew. The author of several paeans to the science of engineering (The Introspective Engineer), first novelist Florman puts his talent as a raconteur to good use in a tale reminiscent of the expository fiction of sf's early writers. Though characters frequently take a backseat to ideas, this story of survival and hope at the end of history belongs in large sf collections and is suitable for YA as well as adult readers.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.