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THE DROWNED

The Future is Murky

By J.A. Waters, author of From the Moon: Home

Oct 24, 2015: Humanity floats on. Earth is flooded and they have no choice to do otherwise. Great communities of drifters cling together with the help of water-trees and superstition. Huddled together in the shallow seas, suspicion and taboo are the shields wielded against a harsh world.

The Drowned follows the life of Gwyn, an introverted drifter living with an alcoholic father. Together they make the best of their little raft in the years after losing family to storms and disease. This world’s planetary ocean is unforgiving, and dead occasionally drift by as reminders of those that were lost. The only hope is to live to the next day.

Yet, there is one place that might offer a change. Many drifter communities have a tutor from the last dry city. The tutor speaks of a chance to enter that world. In that distant city, perhaps Gwyn will find a worthwhile future.

This is a story of survival and loss, classism and prejudice. With prose that’s often poetic and a wealth of internal vs. external conflict, the story flows well and is easy to read. A drowned earth is the haunting backdrop to a story about finding acceptance and fighting entrenched systems.

Some themes are used heavy-handedly, and many are often one-sided in their portrayal; so enjoyment of the story may be dependent on political, social, and general beliefs. The world could probably be fleshed out a little more, but that seems due to the author prioritizing plot development versus world building. Despite that, there are plenty of hints at what’s become of this watery world and how the people are surviving.

Four stars total. One star for clarity / readability, one for originality and interest, half for cohesiveness and setting, half for characters and development, one for enjoyment.

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