Jason Mills's Reviews > The Quiet Place

The Quiet Place by Richard Maynard
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Nov 01, 09

bookshelves: born-to-blush-unseen, fiction, science-fiction
Recommended for: pessimists, optimists, SF readers
Read in January, 1990 — I own a copy

A bunch of astronauts return to Earth after a time-dilated voyage. In the decades that have passed back home, civilization has collapsed and the remnants of humanity are (young) savages whose lives are nasty, brutish and short.

Our appalled heroes attempt to put humanity back on its feet. They take wives, introduce weapons and other basic technology, and try to build and maintain a secure community against the attacks from other tribes. They struggle to make any impact and the futility of their efforts is the book's winning achievement. We are left with a sense of the fragility of everything that humankind has achieved: how all of it is dependent on the continutity between generations, and could collapse with a single interruption to that order.

There's a sad pessimism conveyed in the title, in the harshly beautiful cover image, and ultimately in the telling. Maynard's dialogue is wooden and in some other ways the book is a little mechanical and contrived; but its elegaic mood is a substantial saving grace. The book says something compelling, original and disturbing.
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