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Drowning Towers

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  253 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Francis Conway is Swill--one of the millions in the year 2041 who must subsist on the inadequate charities of the state. Life, already difficult, is rapidly becoming impossible for Francis and others like him, as government corruption, official blindness and nature have conspired to turn Swill homes into watery tombs. And now the young boy must find a way to escape the app ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 387 pages
Published December 31st 1996 by Avon Books (first published 1987)
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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Sparrow by Mary Doria RussellAnimal Farm by George OrwellSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
Arthur C. Clarke Award Winners
19th out of 31 books — 43 voters
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Future Book Club Selections?
6th out of 70 books — 6 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sean the Bookonaut
The novel has been out of print for some time, indeed I tried to find a copy a couple of years ago and couldn’t. Thankfully Gollanz have seen fit to reprint it as part of their masterworks series.

So how, after 25 years, does the book hold up?

Remarkably well is the short answer. Apart from a couple of historical errors that have crept in with the relentless march of time, it’s a book that fans of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker series and Anna North’s America Pacifica would enjoy.

It’s a story wit
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Mark
Technically a science fiction title, it is more just near futuristic – and hauntingly plausible. In the coming decades, class stratification leads to sharp division between Sweet (those with jobs and a tenuous grasp at some sense of instable stability, roughly analogous to our present-day middle class) and Swill, the despised underclass forced to contend with sea levels rising around their high-rise towers, massive unemployment and no sense of hope. Billy Kovacs, a tower boss, keeps his world af ...more
Sjancourtz
Jun 10, 2011 Sjancourtz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes grim future predictions
Recommended to Sjancourtz by: no one
One of the all-time best science fiction books ever! Takes place in Australia, in a world where global warming and rising sea levels and a collapsed economy divide people into two groups: the "sweet"--those who have jobs--and the "swill"--those who live on a meager public assistance program in decrepit public housing, scrabbling to survive. This is your future, America. Wake up and do something before it's too late.
Tripp
Me oh my oh, the Australians know how to show the slow slide into apocalypse. Mad Max shows a world not too different from our own, but terrible in its changes. In that movie, the changes are never really discussed, but they are the subtext of the film. Australian author George Turner's Arthur C Clarke Award winning Drowning Towers (known as the Sea and Summer in the UK) tells a similarly bleak tale of life after the decline of civilization.

The book is framed by a story of the Autumn people (so
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Liz Barr
I’ve never been an advocate of the idea that you must be familiar with certain writers and works in order to call yourself a science fiction fan, but sometimes I find a gap in my reading that’s frankly embarrassing.

So it was with George Turner, the Australian, Melburnian author of acclaimed SF and literary novels. Until The Sea and Summer was quoted in Sophie Cunningham’s Melbourne, I had never heard of him.

Born in 1916, he was already an accomplished critic and novelist (winner of the Miles Fra
...more
C.S.
It's been a long time since I've read any science fiction that I could call absolutely amazing. This is a very quiet book that develops slowly and requires close attention to its characters. Turner manages to write about a possible future when climate change (referred to as the greenhouse effect since it was published in 1987)has created a different kind of world.

If I didn't have so much other reading to do, I'd start over again right now, from page one.
Bernardo
Uno no puede evitar relacionar el mundo distopico de Turner con lo que vivimos en la actualidad (Cambio climático y estancamiento económico, pero llevado al extremo, donde se puede ver las consecuencias de la auto complacencia.
Orlando
Estupendo libro. Tengo que admitir que su primer capítulo me desmotivó un poco, pero una vez que el autor comienza "realmente" la historia, esta se vuelve absorvente y profunda. Me recuerda un poco a George Orwell.
Paul
sci-fi: using an alternative/future view of science and reality to paint your picture or build the world that makes us question our own (cf. Drowning Towers)
Kernos
Nearly 3 decades ago the author said this book is not prophetic or a dire warning. He was wrong. It, like 1984, is both. It is perhaps the scariest novel I have read since. Scary because the science, politics and social effects of climate change he shows are all coming true.

This is done using elegant characterization. Billy Kovacs, Teddie Kovacs... will be part of my life from here on—as will the stink of humans.

Turner reveals truths and obvious secrets that today would likely deem him 'terror
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Martin Hernandez
Primera novela de "ciencia especulativa" que leo sobre el tema del calentamiento global. Me niego a llamarla de "Ciencia Ficción" aunque la haya colocado en ese "estante". Esta novela hace un análisis minucioso y arriesgado del futuro cercano, basado en extrapolaciones que toma de la sociología, la economía y la ecología.
TURNER nos presenta el colapso de la civilización capitalista haciéndola coincidir con un abrupto cambio climático. Obviamente resulta bastante dudosa la coincidencia de estos s
...more
Catherine Siemann
Jan 23, 2011 Catherine Siemann rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catherine by: Judith
This book was recommended to me when I was looking for a novel about ecocastrophe to teach; it's very much a pity that it is out of print. It was published in 1987 and the concerns it reflects are still very much in the forefront, particularly economic collapse and ecological catastrophe.

In mid-21st century Australia, there is 90% unemployment, the small and tenuous middle class (the Sweet) are in constant fear of losing their jobs, but buck themselves up with their scorn of the Swill, who live
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Jane
Curious to think this dystopia was written about global warming in the 1980's, Fascinating now. A lot of the other things haven't come to pass yet, but who's to say.

It was written at a time when Melbourne had an empty city centre, high unemployment, dysfunctional high rise housing..

I knew the Richmond flats then.The house my father grew up in was slum cleared to build the Richmond flats mentioned in this book. I had friends who lived in them. They were scary, the lifts didn't work half the tim
...more
Pichicarro
No tenía yo explorada la Sci-Fi australiana y lo he encontrado muy interesante.
La verdad es que, teniendo en cuenta que el invierno está siendo templado pero con violentos temporales siberianos, que el estado está a dos velas y que tenemos un 55% de paro juvenil, no parece ajena ni fantasiosa, y eso que se escribió en los 80.
Por ponerle un pero, me parece que le sobra la parte de la gente del Otoño, aunque supongo que ayuda a dar perspectiva histórica a lo que se cuenta.
Julie
Sep 05, 2008 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all my friends, who'll listen
Recommended to Julie by: Janeen Webb
A must-read for anyone who is not yet concerned about the devastation we are causing to the environment. And it's set in right here in Melbourne. Mainly in Newport, actually... Close to home. A well-deserved winner of the Arthur C Clark award. RIP George.
Jessica
For a book written in the 80's (or almost any time) this fortells future issues from overpopulation, currency devaluation, economic crises, global warming, nuclear crises, and biologic warfare. Interesting book with interesting characters.
Niall519
SF set in my home town! One of Turner's better stories; exploring the social and economic implications of major climate change... written a good while before many others were discussing it.
Lysergius
Compelling and descriptive account of the state of the earth after the eco-collapse.
Arpana
Triggered a rush of insight for me on the nature of Identity.
Mwangangi
This book is depressing. Good read, still depressing.
Noah Temple
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Jan 22, 2015
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SF Masterworks Group: The Sea and Summer, by George Turner 1 3 May 31, 2013 11:59AM  
All politicians should be made to read this book 1 5 Sep 01, 2008 04:33AM  
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George Turner was born and educated in Melbourne. He served in the Australian Imperial Forces during the Second World War.

Prior to writing science fiction, he had a well established reputation as mainstream literary fiction writer, his most productive period being from 1959 to 1967, during which he published five novels. Over a decade after his previous publication of a full length work of fictio
...more
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