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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2020
  • 9781912950614
  • 284 pages
  • $16.99
Nick Wood
Author
Water Must Fall
Nick Wood, author
IN A DESICCATING WORLD, WHO GETS TO DRINK? Nick Wood’s debut novel Azanian Bridges was shortlisted for major awards on three continents: Africa (the NOMMO Award), Europe (the BSFA Award), and North America (the Campbell and the Sidewise Awards). This, his second novel, is even stronger. The year is 2048. Climate change has brought catastrophe and water has become the most precious commodity on Earth. Water companies play god and determine the fate of millions. In Africa, Graham Mason struggles to come to terms with the changing world and save his marriage to Lizette, who is torn between loyalty to their relationship and to her people. In Northern California, Arthur Green battles to find ways of saving water and root out corruption, even when his family are threatened by those he seeks to expose. Determined to uncover the truth on two continents, Graham, Liz, and Art are caught up in a new uprising, a desperate attempt to challenge those set on appropriating the world’s remaining water for their own gain. In the FreeFlow Corporation they face a common enemy, but do they have any hope of prevailing against a power that is so ruthless and so entrenched? As the planet continues to thirst and slowly perish, will water ever fall? Water Must Fall is a gripping saga of human struggle, political intrigue, corporate fraud and murder in a near future where water is worth killing for.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Wood’s tale of corporate greed spans multiple countries. Readers will be drawn in by his complex, all-too-real picture of a future dystopia.

Prose/Style: Intricate prose and atmospheric writing pull the reader into Wood's believable and exciting tale.

Originality: Although the idea of water privatization has been tackled before in fiction, Wood gives readers a sense of the global impact of this burgeoning crisis by setting his story both in South Africa and America.

Character Development/Execution: Wood’s tale is gripping; he creates a believable dystopian universe habited by the beleaguered, realistic characters of Graham, Liz, and Art.

Blurb: This unflinching look at the Earth's possible future is a hard, but necessary read. 

Date Submitted: June 01, 2021

Reviews
Prolific South African writer and psychologist Nick Wood deftly portrays an Earth run dry in his vision of an uncomfortably near future. Protagonist Graham, a South African journalist, travels across the globe, including to the Federated States of America, to document the worldwide water crisis. This strains his marriage to Lizette, who’s confronting a painful case of endometriosis, her church’s unyielding views on homosexuality in a time when she’s honing in on her own, and how to best serve a community that resents her whiteness. Meanwhile, Art, a data sweeper, is tasked with finding and stretching the little water available. Can these three overcome their struggles and bring some relief to this parched world?

Wood’s dystopian portrait is not without its rough edges. Despite the first-person narration, the characters’ inner thoughts are constant and can include confusing expository passages. Readers will find some story lines rushed, such as that leading up to Lizette’s outburst in church, and the antagonists are typical: powerful people hell-bent on hoarding all the water they can. But within the rough patches, there’s a diamond in Wood’s writing.

The worldbuilding is fully fleshed out with technology, consequence, and history; a direct line can be drawn from the present day to Wood’s imagined future (via, for example, “the Make America Great wall,” the “new Pence administration,” a “Black Lives Still Matter” poster). Atop the plausible political and corporate machinations are elements more fantastical (such as sentient AI, which in one captivating case has been given the form of a dragon to represent the Chinese water protection god Bok Kai) and spiritual. The book’s relationships are abundantly complex and it does not offer simplistic, easy happy endings. Wood’s dystopian creation, with its warning about global warming, makes for an emotional and satisfying ride.

Takeaway: Fans of plausible sci-fi with a political bent, eager to envision a very near future, will connect with this dystopian environmental novel.

Great for fans of: Omar El Akkad’s American War, Sam J. Miller’s Blackfish City, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: B+

Kirkus

...Together, they speak to unification beyond borders. The message is an important one, albeit not always pleasant to digest.

Well-considered social SF—an engrossing, foreboding, and uncomfortable offering.

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2020
  • 9781912950614
  • 284 pages
  • $16.99

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