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Charles Green
Charles Green

The Science Behind Flood: A Novel of the Apocalypse by Stephen Baxter



Flood by Stephen Baxter: A Review of the Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Novel




If you are looking for a thrilling and realistic sci-fi novel that explores the consequences of a global catastrophe, you might want to check out Flood by Stephen Baxter. Flood is a 2008 novel that depicts a near future where the Earth is submerged by rising sea levels caused by the release of massive amounts of water from deep underground reservoirs. The novel follows the fate of a group of former hostages who witness the gradual destruction of human civilization and try to find a way to survive in a hostile and changing world.




Stephen Baxter Flood Pdf 12



Introduction




In this article, I will review Flood by Stephen Baxter and discuss its plot, themes, and comparison with other works. I will also share my personal opinion on the novel and whether I would recommend it to other readers.


What is Flood about?




Flood is a hard science fiction novel that imagines a scenario where the Earth's crust is fractured by seismic activity, releasing huge amounts of water from hidden reservoirs that have been trapped for millions of years. This causes the sea level to rise rapidly, flooding coastal cities and eventually covering most of the land surface. The novel spans over 40 years, from 2016 to 2059, and shows how humanity tries to cope with the unprecedented disaster and its social, economic, political, and environmental impacts.


Who is Stephen Baxter?




Stephen Baxter is an English author who specializes in science fiction and alternate history. He has written over 50 novels and hundreds of short stories, many of which have won or been nominated for prestigious awards such as the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. He is known for his rigorous scientific research and his ability to create plausible and imaginative scenarios based on scientific theories and facts. Some of his most famous works include The Time Ships, The Long Earth series (with Terry Pratchett), and The Xeelee Sequence.


Why is Flood relevant today?




Flood is a novel that deals with a topic that is very relevant today: climate change and its consequences. Although the cause of the flooding in the novel is different from the one we are facing in reality, the effects are similar: rising sea levels, extreme weather events, mass migration, resource scarcity, social unrest, and ecological collapse. The novel also raises important questions about how we as humans respond to such challenges: do we cooperate or compete? Do we adapt or resist? Do we despair or hope?


Summary of the Plot




The novel begins in 2016, when four hostages are rescued by a private security company after being held captive for five years by a militant group in Spain. They are Lily Brooke, an engineer; Helen Gray, a nurse; Gary Boyle, a journalist; and Piers Michaelmas, a diplomat. They are taken to a yacht owned by Nathan Lammockson, a billionaire who hired the security company. On their way to London, they witness the first signs of the rising sea level: flooded ports, submerged islands, and refugees on boats.


The Release of the Subterranean Water




As the novel progresses, it is revealed that the cause of the flooding is not global warming, but a geological phenomenon that has been triggered by a series of earthquakes. The Earth's crust has cracked, allowing water from deep underground reservoirs to escape to the surface. These reservoirs contain more water than all the oceans combined, and they are under immense pressure. Once they are breached, they release a torrent of water that cannot be stopped. The sea level rises by several meters per year, and scientists estimate that it will eventually cover the entire land surface, including Mount Everest.


The Collapse of Civilization




The rising sea level has devastating effects on human civilization. Millions of people die or are displaced by the floods, and many countries collapse or go to war over the remaining resources and territories. Infrastructure, agriculture, industry, and communication are severely disrupted, and diseases and famine spread. Some people try to build floating cities or arcologies on higher ground, while others resort to piracy, cannibalism, or suicide. The hostages and their rescuers form a close bond and try to survive in this chaotic world, moving from place to place and facing various dangers and hardships.


The Survival of the Hostages




The hostages have different reactions and coping strategies to the situation. Lily Brooke becomes obsessed with finding her children, who were taken by her ex-husband before she was kidnapped. She also develops a romantic relationship with Nathan Lammockson, who uses his wealth and influence to protect her and the others. Helen Gray becomes a humanitarian worker, helping refugees and victims of the floods. She also falls in love with Gary Boyle, who becomes a successful writer and broadcaster, documenting the events of the floods. Piers Michaelmas becomes a religious leader, preaching a new faith that sees the floods as a divine punishment and a sign of the end times.


The Search for a New Home




As the sea level continues to rise, the hostages and their friends realize that they have no future on Earth. They decide to join a project led by Grace Gray, Helen's sister, who is a scientist working for NASA. Grace has discovered a habitable planet orbiting a nearby star, and she has built a spaceship to take a selected group of people there. The spaceship is called Ark One, and it is launched from an island in the Pacific Ocean in 2052. The novel ends with Ark One leaving Earth's orbit, while the remaining humans face their inevitable doom.


Analysis of the Themes




Flood is a novel that explores several themes related to science, nature, humanity, and survival. Here are some of the main themes that I identified:


The Power of Nature




One of the themes that Flood emphasizes is the power of nature over human civilization. The novel shows how nature can unleash forces that are beyond human control or comprehension, such as the subterranean water reservoirs that cause the floods. The novel also shows how nature can adapt and evolve in response to changing conditions, such as the emergence of new life forms in the flooded world. The novel suggests that nature is not benevolent or malevolent, but indifferent to human fate.


The Fragility of Humanity




Another theme that Flood highlights is the fragility of humanity in the face of natural disasters. The novel shows how human civilization is vulnerable to collapse when faced with environmental challenges that threaten its existence. The novel also shows how human society is divided by conflicts and inequalities that hinder its ability to cooperate and cope with the crisis. The novel portrays human beings as selfish, greedy, violent, and irrational creatures who often act against their own interests or those of others.


The Hope for the Future




A third theme that Flood explores is the hope for the future despite the bleak situation. The novel shows how some human beings manage to overcome their despair and find meaning and purpose in their lives. The novel also shows how some human beings manage to innovate and create solutions that can help them survive or escape from the flooded world. The novel portrays human beings as resilient, courageous, compassionate, and creative creatures who can still dream and aspire for a better future.


Comparison with Other Works




Flood is not the only work of fiction that deals with the theme of global flooding. Here are some other works that I compared Flood with:


Flood vs. Ark




Flood vs. The Drowned World




The Drowned World is a 1962 novel by J.G. Ballard that depicts a post-apocalyptic world where global warming has melted the ice caps and flooded most of the land surface. The novel follows the adventures of a biologist who studies the new ecology of the submerged world. The Drowned World focuses more on the psychological and philosophical implications of the flooding than Flood, and it presents a more surreal and symbolic vision of the future.


Flood vs. Waterworld




Waterworld is a 1995 film starring Kevin Costner that portrays a dystopian world where the polar ice caps have melted and covered the entire Earth with water. The film follows the exploits of a mutant mariner who helps a woman and a child who possess a map to the mythical Dryland. Waterworld is more of an action-adventure film than Flood, and it features more fantastical elements such as mutants, pirates, and jet skis.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Flood is a novel that offers a realistic and compelling scenario of what could happen if the Earth was flooded by rising sea levels. The novel is well-researched and well-written, and it explores various aspects of the crisis and its impact on human civilization and nature. The novel also raises important questions about how we as humans deal with such challenges and what kind of future we want for ourselves and our planet.


What did I like about Flood?




What I liked about Flood was its scientific accuracy and plausibility, its vivid and detailed descriptions of the flooded world, its diverse and complex characters, and its gripping and suspenseful plot. I also liked how the novel made me think about the current issues of climate change and environmental degradation, and how they affect our lives and our future.


What did I dislike about Flood?




What I disliked about Flood was its bleak and depressing tone, its excessive length and repetition, its lack of humor and optimism, and its unsatisfying ending. I also disliked how the novel portrayed human beings as mostly selfish, violent, and hopeless creatures who could not overcome their flaws or cooperate with each other.


Who would I recommend Flood to?




I would recommend Flood to anyone who enjoys hard science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, or disaster fiction. I would also recommend Flood to anyone who is interested in learning more about the possible effects of global flooding and how it could change our world and our society.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Flood:



  • How realistic is Flood?



Flood is based on scientific facts and theories, but it is not a prediction or a projection of what will actually happen in the future. The novel exaggerates some aspects of the flooding scenario for dramatic effect, such as the speed and magnitude of the sea level rise, and the existence and size of the subterranean water reservoirs. However, the novel does reflect some of the current trends and issues related to climate change and sea level rise, such as coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, storm surges, mass migration, resource conflicts, etc.


  • Is Flood part of a series?



Flood is part of a duology by Stephen Baxter that also includes Ark (2009). Ark is a sequel to Flood that follows the journey of Ark One and its crew as they travel to another planet in search of a new home. Ark also features some characters from Flood who remain on Earth or join other projects to escape from the floods.


  • What are some other books similar to Flood?



Some other books similar to Flood are:


  • The Swarm by Frank Schätzing (2004) - A novel that depicts a global catastrophe caused by an unknown intelligence in the ocean that unleashes massive waves, tsunamis, earthquakes, and storms.



  • The Day After Tomorrow by Whitley Strieber (1994) - A novel that depicts a global catastrophe caused by abrupt climate change that triggers a new ice age.



  • The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (1953) - A novel that depicts a global catastrophe caused by an alien invasion from the deep sea that melts the polar ice caps and floods the world.



  • Where can I find Flood online?



You can find Flood online in various formats such as PDF, EPUB, MOBI, or audiobook. You can also buy a physical copy of the book from online or offline bookstores. Here are some links to some online sources where you can find Flood:


  • Flood by Stephen Baxter : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive



  • Flood: A Novel of the Apocalypse: Baxter, Stephen: 9780451462718: Amazon.com: Books



  • Flood by Stephen Baxter - Goodreads



  • How can I contact Stephen Baxter?



You can contact Stephen Baxter through his official website, his email, or his social media accounts. Here are some links to his online platforms:


  • Stephen Baxter - Official Website



  • stephen@stephen-baxter.com - Email



  • Stephen Baxter - Home Facebook



  • Stephen Baxter (@stephenbaxtersf) Twitter



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