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The Aviator Paperback – September 12, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gareth Renowden is an award-winning writer, photographer and truffle grower based in the Waipara Valley, New Zealand. Gareth's most recent book, The Aviator, the first in a new series set in The Burning World, was published in 2012. His book on climate change, Hot Topic - Global Warming & The Future of New Zealand, was published by AUT Media in 2007, and shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ's inaugural science book prize. The Truffle Book (Limestone Hills Publishing 2005) won the Special Jury Award at the 2007 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing, and he was the keynote speaker at the 2007 Oregon Truffle Festival. He publishes the influential Hot Topic blog (http://hot-topic.co.nz/), covering climate change science and politics in New Zealand.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Limestone Hills Publishing (September 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987669737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987669735
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,540,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gregory T. Laden on October 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Aviator by Gareth Renowden explores a post-apocalypse world where the apocalypse is not nuclear war or a large object hitting the earth, or even an outbreak of zombi-ism, but rather, climate change. The story itself is an excellent read and even qualifies as a page turner. But there is another element that readers don't need to now, but would enjoy knowing: The author has the science on climate change right.

The truth is, a future Earth with continued climate change could look a lot of different ways, but the planet ala The Aviator is a reasonable approximation of a switched over climate, brought to us by someone who knows the science well. I'm less sure about the interaction between Artificial and Regular "Intelligence" depicted here, but it does produce an interesting interaction between fictional tropes. Climate change is real and unfettered could easily look like it does in this book. Artificial Intelligence is, in my mind, still imagined, and the use of the concept in Renowden's book is highly speculative. So, we have an interesting mix of higher and lower probabilities mixed together with what is otherwise a well imagined and very well told story regardless of the science fiction itself.

I have truly enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This science fiction novel is set in a post-catastrophe world - in the not too distant future. Hardly an unusual scenario but I found its approach to the question of post-catastrophe social organisation intriguing. How would society reorganise after social collapse brought on by a world-engulfing crisis? In this case one of the possible outcomes of climate change? The usual scenario is some sort of tribalism, and usually a warring tribalism. But would it be that simple? After all, humanity would still have reservoirs of knowledge. Surely that would make simple tribalism unlikely?

Gareth Renowden's solution is simple. Consciously or not he has simply extrapolated the ideological or issue-advocacy obvious in today's internet blogs and forums into the post-catastrophe society. Today's digital "silos" become tomorrows tribal groups. And, yes, they are just a inward-looking, suspicious and hostile to others as today's silo communities are. Except they have real weapons. These tribal groups, or ideological ghettos, give scope for some nice irony and humour in the book.

Renowden's post-catastrophe societies include the inevitable fundamentalist religious communities. But also communities based on artificial intelligence, technophobia, libertarianism, cynical "green" politics and so on. And, yes, there is even a climate change denial community - actively denying the world-wide catastrophe had anything to do with human-caused climate change. In fact still warning about an imminent ice-age (naturally caused of course)!

So you can imagine the scope for irony and humour there. Especially as Gareth Renowden is an author the climate change denial community love to hate. And they don't hold back on expressing that hate.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The backdrop for this story is the not-to-distant future where climate disruption has collapsed the global economy and forced various groups to splinter off while competing for the limited resources available. Captain Lemmy and his ultra-modern airship fly around the world on various missions where the author takes the reader for several thrill rides (who doesn't want that airship, right?). Lemmy's co-pilot is a very sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) called Jenny that is wired into his bio-system. They need each other to function so the story gets quite interesting when Lemmy falls for a real flesh and blood human being and the AI gets jealous. A love triangle between humans and AI is a great twist on the standard plot.

For those of you into climate change science, Renowden weaves climate disruption into the fabric of the story throughout the book and pokes fun at deniers such as Heartland Institute. I laughed out loud in the airport when reading that particular section of the book.

This book has it all: Action, suspense, a bizarre love triangle, and a good dose of easy-to-understand climate science. The Aviator is a great read for those with little climate change background but also for those of us down in the technical weeds of the science. Highly recommend.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found The Aviator an enjoyable read and look forward to the next volume. As in all good SF, the underlying issues are serious, but Renowden's writing is fluent and his humour and satirical eye when applied are sharply entertaining. The book certainly spans the globe, and familiar New Zealand settings shifted into a much-changed future state were intriguing. I liked how the relationships between Artificial Intelligences and humans were developed. It's an entertaining piece of fiction, but leads the reader to consider the kind of future we are setting up for ourselves, and in that respect, it contains real heft. Good price too!
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Format: Kindle Edition
A funny, insightful and witty look into what the future could hold should catastrophic climate change come to pass. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction or is interested in climate change.
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