Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Dead Water Zone - Kenneth Oppel

Dead Water Zone
Kenneth Oppel (blog)
Harper Collins
Browse Inside
ISBN 9780006485612


This book is very different from anything else from Kenneth Oppel that I have yet read. It is a speculative fiction that reminds me of
much of Robert A. Heinlien's works that I read years ago in High School, or Frank Herbert's non-Dune books. It is intriguing and sublimely written.

The story is about Paul, a young athlete, has gone in search of his brother, a genius who has gone missing in Watertown, a dilapidated floating second city of those who live outside regular society. Paul is looking for Sam and keeps feeling like he sees him or feels him but has yet to actually find him. Paul meets a young woman named Monica who helps him navigate this world he has never known. Can Paul find his brother and save him? Does Sam want to be saved? Or will the Dead Water Zone consume everyone who enters its area of influence? No one knows where the Dead Water comes from, only that those who drink it are changed. They seem to be stringer, faster, have better eye sight and they also seem to go crazy.

This book was an incredible read. With twists and turns you do not expect, and surprises around every corner, it has the flavor and feel of classic science fiction. It is a stunning story compressed into just under 200 pages. Like many classic science fiction stories this one deals with themes of evolution, ecology, politics, power and human survival. It reads like it could fit into Frank Herbert's The Eye's of Heisenberg, The Dosadi Experiment or The Green Brain. If it was written as homage to some of the masters of Science Fiction it achieves its effect in a spectacular way. Oppel draws you into a story that has layers you will not unravel until the very end. It is an excellent book by a great Canadian author.

Books by Kenneth Oppel:

Half Brother (2010)
The Devil's Cure (2000)
Dead Water Zone (1992)
The Live-Forever Machine (1990)

Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
This Dark Endeavour (2011)
Such Wicked Intent (2012)

The Silverwing Saga
Silverwing (1997)
Sunwing (1999)
Firewing (2002)
Darkwing (2007)

Airborn Series
Airborn (2004)
Skybreaker (2005)
Starclimber (2008)

Children's Fiction:

The King's Taster (2009)
Peg and the Yeti (2004)
Peg and the Whale (2000)
Emma's Emu (1995)
Galactic Snapshots (1993)
Cosmic Snapshots (1993)
Follow That Star (1992)
Cosimo Cat (1990)
Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure (1985)

Barnes and the Brains
A Bad Case of Ghosts (1993)
A Strange Case of Magic (1994)
A Crazy Case of Robots (1994)
An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (1994)
A Weird Case of Super-Goo (1997)
A Creepy Case of Vampires (2002)

1 Comment:

Nicola said...

I've been meaning to go back and read his first two novels, too. Glad to hear this one is just as good as expected from Oppel.