Stephen West's Reviews > Vertigo

Vertigo by Bob Shaw
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

it was amazing

In Vertigo (also known as Terminal Velocity) Bob Shaw creates an intriguing vision of a society transformed by the advent of personal counter-gravity devices that allow people to fly like birds. Aeroplane flight is largely abandoned due to the dangers posed by hordes of flyers, hundreds of people are killed every year by falling objects dropped (accidentally or deliberately) by the flyers, and teenagers play deadly games of chicken with unsuspecting commuters.

But to create a good novel, you need more than a well-worked-out idea. The protagonist is a policeman, mentally and physically damaged in an encounter with a nihilistic criminal, who travels to Canada to recuperate. His emotional state is acutely observed as he tries to deal with his fragile condition, culture shock, and rise to the challenges posed by the machinations of a powerful businessman and the feeble response of his host, the local Mountie.

Although this book is sadly out of print, it has been released on the Kindle platform. It is a little gem from a master storyteller.

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