Dies The Fire


What would become of our civilization if suddenly, electricity, gunpowder, gasoline and steam engines stopped working? Dies The Fire imagines such a world and forces you to think about how dependent we are today on things that were unimaginable just a few hundred years ago.

Sadly the book runs out of things to say around the half way mark. You are thus forced to endure such minutiae as what sort of food the American protagonists fantasize about in a world where farming the old-fashioned way is the only way to put bread on your table. Then there are detailed descriptions of the Celtic Wiccan rituals; and yes, the food consumed there. Repetitive battle scenes where finer points of using longbows, broadswords, bucklers, targes and other medieval weaponry are illuminated all while explaining how difficult it is to fight when operating under the medieval gear of chain mails, hauberks, visors, vambraces and other assorted wearables.

This seems to be a standard strategy of American fantasy authors for beefing up their works to the level of thickness that is deemed respectable for books of this genre. Take notes from history books and encyclopedias and somehow weave the details into the story. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the story kept moving or if I were living on Venus - for a day of mine there would last 200 Earth days. I am probably being harsh here. But then what do you expect from someone who is ploughing through the 10th book of the Jordan’s Wheel of Time series?

I’ll leave you to reflect on this gem here:

Quite often there was something useful in places like that. Not food, of course, but aspirin, sterile bandages, condoms, toilet paper - newspaper left stains, they’d discovered, and twists of grass could leave you itching for days.

Frankly, in a post apocalyptic world, I would have taken to washing (or since we are talking high fantasy here - laving) by now.

April 17, 2010