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When avalanching glaciers thrust a massive Antarctic ice sheet into the open ocean, the captain of an atomic submarine must risk his vessel to rescue the survivors of a smashed polar research station; in Washington the President’s top advisor scrambles to spin the disaster to suit his master’s political aims; and meanwhile two intrepid newsmen sail south into the storm-lashed Drake Passage to discover the truth.

Onboard the submarine, as the colossal ice sheet begins its drift toward South America and the world begins to take notice, scientists uncover a secret that will threaten the future of America’s military power and change the fate of humanity.

And beneath the human chaos one brave Blue Whale fights for the survival of his species.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

As though connected by rods, Kate and the two men turn south. South, toward a marvel that is part of the everyday existence here. It is a cliff, a hundred meters high, that thrusts up out of the ocean. They still call it ‘The Barrier’.

It is the seaward edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

Not a level sheet, the Shelf is an icescape where plates the size of suburban neighborhoods shift with the seasons, shaped by the slow processes of wind and tide.

But now Kate can see swift movement where there should only be frozen stillness. All across the southern horizon, the edge of the world lifts. Atlas has shifted his grip on the globe and there is a shockwave in the ice.

214 pages, Paperback

Published October 1, 2016

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About the author

Craig Russell

2 books5 followers
My SF novel 'Fragment' is published by Thistledown Press.

"A wonderfully thoughtful eco-thriller from one of Canada's best writers. Bravo!"
-- Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night

Analog Magazine's reviewer, Don Sakers says:
"...once you start, you won’t be able to put it down until you reach the end. The parts featuring the whale Ring are compelling in their depiction of an alien mind and society. And the action is nonstop."

Charles de Lint's review of Black Bottle Man: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2016/cdl16...
"I read the book in pretty much one gulp, then went back to savor some of my favorite parts... but lord, this is a fine bit of writing. Highly recommended."

Very cool to have a review of Black Bottle Man published by the Saskatchewan School Library Association in their Spring 2016 issue of The Medium.
here: http://ssla.ca/The%20Medium%20Issue

Three new reviews of Black Bottle Man:
In issue #4 of Obir Magizine:

News about Black Bottle Man.
- Gold Medal winner of the 2011 Moonbeam Children's Book Award for YA SF&F.
- Available in Canada as an e-book @ http://www.greatplains.mb.ca/e-books/
- A Canadian Children’s Book Centre *starred* selection in "Best Books for Children & Teens: Annual 2011".
Finalist for:
- the 2011 Prix Aurora Award for best English SF&F novel.
- The 2011 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award.
- The 2011 Winnipeg Public Libary 'On the Same Page Award'.

Read reviews:
- the Australian book review blog, Buzzword Books:
- Saskatoon Star-Phoenix book-reviewer, Beverley Brennna's archive:
- CM Magazine (The Manitoba Library Association):
- the Peroosnik book blog:
- the Off the Shelf blog:

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for L.G. Cullens.
Author 2 books74 followers
February 15, 2021
• • • — — — • • • fragment a novel by Craig Russell

A quick read, the story is bit outlandish in part, even dead wrong on at least one scientific fact, and overly optimistic. But, damn, the author captured DC and the corrupt politicians it attracts in a candid depiction.

It was an entertaining read.
Profile Image for Maria Logan-Montgomery.
299 reviews3 followers
August 5, 2018
At the request of the author, Craig Russell, I read Fragment, a novel of the new climate-fiction genre, often referred to as "cli-fi". Highlighted by Yale University's Climate Connections as important books on this topic, Fragment is now on the short list for the Michael Van Rooy Award. I thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing story.

Pushed into the ocean by a shockwave in the Antarctic, a massive sheet of ice, a fragment the size of Kentucky, is carried northward by ocean currents. All marine life in its path is killed. A polar research facility and an American military base are destroyed. Only three people survive: scientists from the research facility.

The lead advisor to the U.S. President spins the breaking story as much ado about nothing, buries the information of the destruction of our Antarctic military base, and tries to capture the “foreign” (New Zealand) scientists before they can spread the truth. Meanwhile, the Fragmenttravels into the Pacific Ocean and on into the Caribbean, where it shears off the top of a volcano, causing floods and fires. Meanwhile, a Blue Whale helps the survivors and fights for survival, and two journalists brave the storms of the Drake Passage to find the truth.

The Fragment provides much food for thought as we humans continue to abuse our planet and its animals. It should give pause to those who continue to ignore the science of climate change and its causes.

Fragmentis exceptionally well-written, and is a valuable book that I encourage everyone to read. I expect it to win many awards.

What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
Only one thing: Occasional single-sentence paragraphs. This is a big no-no, except in dialogue.

Look for me online as The Grumpy Book Reviewer.
4 reviews3 followers
June 9, 2017
This book is great! It reminds me of Robert J. Sawyer in that it's quite short but deals with two disparate large plots (the iceberg and the whale language). It's a very compelling ecocritical story, and I'll be sure to teach it in university-level classes on Literature and the Environment. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Christine Hart.
Author 9 books173 followers
May 20, 2017
In a world coming to grips with climate change, a sci-fi eco-thriller like Craig Russell's Fragment resonates with a gut-churning fear that fiction might possibly predict the future.

In Russell's world, respect for nature and disdain for human greed and malice are easy for the reader to adopt. I never expected to read an eco-thriller that would also generate surges of emotion, but Fragment achieved this as well.

No eco-thriller would be complete without a dramatic depiction of the devastation brought by epic disasters. Russell doesn't shy away from a graphic account of the financial, structural, and geological devastation, with the associated lives lost.

But we also need stories like Fragment to share hope, and Russell doesn't disappoint in this critical area. That this hope takes the form of inter-species cooperation with whales around the world gives the reader admiration for the power and beauty of the natural world.
Profile Image for L.T. Getty.
Author 10 books331 followers
December 31, 2016
I tell myself not to constantly compare one work to another by the same author. I expect authors to try different styles and don’t want the same rehashing. I prefer the previous book, although I’d recommend both. The story of Russell’s Fragment is set in motion when a monstrous iceberg, known as The Fragment, breaks off and starts moving. We all know the metaphor of the iceberg (how much bigger they are underneath, etc.) I have an honest hard time imagining the scale of this monster.

That being said, while initially introducing us to a varied cast aboard different ships and a submarine (scientists, a reporter, military personnel) it almost reads like an adventure story, but pulls back somewhat. That isn’t to say we don’t have harrowing escapes and subterfuge, but that isn’t where the story’s focus is.

Fragment is told from a much larger cast than Black Bottle Man, which includes communication with the largest mammal currently living – a blue whale. This idea is where the story shines – trying to communicate with a sentient being in a manner that both whale and human understand, as well as a method that allows the different whales to commune with one another, eventually. In truth, I thought the action sequences and fall out from the ecological disaster that would be caused by the iceberg felt rushed and like we were too far from it - that as a reader I felt that we got a taste of these ideas and could have delved deeper into them. The focus became the communication with the first whale to communicate with man – Ring, a male blue who essentially goes to war with the Americans because their sonar maps pose a threat to US security with their deep sea machines. In general, I didn’t feel like I knew enough of the human characters apart, but given the nature of the story, that wasn’t essential for my reading.

All in all a pleasant read, and I will also give kudos for an environmental message that doesn’t seem forced – that humans acknowledged whale hunting and that even if we were to prove it to everyone, there would still be pushback (hey – look at what we continue to do to one another!). There were a few things I could nitpick (for instance, orcas are matriarchies, but seriously – if I wasn’t doing my own research for a different novels, like heck I would know that) but overall anything technical is simplified for the audience. You’ll learn a bit about submarines and marine life, but if that’s your focus I would probably recommend some non-fiction foremost, and then enjoy this novel.
Profile Image for Cristina Varanda.
26 reviews5 followers
October 28, 2022
"The whale rises, holding him up out of the sea, just as he had seen Ring do for Kate, refusing to dive out of the pelting rain of pumice.
The man places himself on hands and knees over the blowholes, to shelter the whale from the falling ash as best he can.
When the end comes they are cemented together.
As one, a strange conjoined beast, they fall away into the depths."

Simply wow.

I've read this for uni. Didn't give more thought at first, felt the sense of obligation while reading, but all of a sudden I found myself waiting for a free moment, even a bus ride to just read more.

What a deep sense of hope. One of those books that keeps you longing for more.

I am not one to recommend books for I feel there is always that sense of "it was better in my head" but I feel like this is a must read for everyone.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 1 book11 followers
November 9, 2016
The story is captivating. Craig Russell does a good job of fleshing out his cast of characters, especially the ones we’re going to spend a lot of time with. Ring in particular felt like a well-developed person, who just happened to be a whale.

The stakes start out high and get higher all the time. I couldn’t stop turning pages, especially in the last half of the book, which I read in a single sitting.

The ending, while compelling, felt like it could be fleshed out somewhat. Several disasters involving the Fragment’s unstoppable force vs. an island’s immovable object were delivered in a few paragraphs, and it felt rushed.

It’s an eco-disaster novel with political overtones, and it’s a first-contact novel, all in 200-and-a-bit efficient pages.
Profile Image for Wendy S. Delmater.
Author 14 books14 followers
August 4, 2017
Oh, I simply LOVED this book!

One caveat, a word of warning: it’s a head-hopping book, with multiple points of view, so if that’s something you’re not fond of you’ve been warned. That being said…wow.

This is a well-researched story, that starts with a disaster in Antarctica that has far-reaching, global implications. It’s a “what-if” sort of book that asks the question, What if a multi-glacier iceberg larger than the entire country of Switzerland broke loose and made its way north?

Okay, that’s a thriller but it’s not science fiction, yet. The speculative element that makes this story SF is not a buried spaceship either. It involves whales. Buy this. Read it. Hope to God they make a movie out of it. It’s awesome. RECOMMENDED.
Profile Image for Debbie.
180 reviews1 follower
April 20, 2017
I read this for work because I work in a library and Craig was scheduled to present his book to our patrons, but I'm glad I took the time for this book. I enjoyed his first novel, Black Bottle Man, so I was prepared to enjoy this title as well and I did enjoy it. Besides, I've never shied away from a little science fiction.

Really, this could happen. At the rate our polar ice caps are melting, why couldn't a chunk break away and change our oceans and shorelines forever?

I recommend this book as it raises questions for each of us to consider as well carry on with our lives.
21 reviews
September 27, 2016
Highlighting two important environmental issues in an entertaining and action packed story, Fragment is a wonderful read. Russell weaves the many expected, and one very unique perspective into a compelling storyline.
Profile Image for Terra Wolski.
103 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2019
Read as #41 out of a 52 book/year challenge - Book from a Local Author!
The Scientific part sounded pretty accurate to me! I feel a lot of research needed to be done to write this!
A to-the-point read .. not pages of extra words for nothing - as some other books I Have read - so I appreciate that!
Cant say I have ever read a book from the perspective of a whale before!
Profile Image for Edward Ferrari.
102 reviews1 follower
April 7, 2018
Fairly major flaws throughout, the main one being characters that are two dimensional and underdeveloped.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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