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BooksScifi

Insignificant by Mike Morgan (book review).

The year is 2127; the Earth is dying, and nobody seems to notice or care. The United States government refuses to release any honest information about the environment to its citizens, and the rest of the world follows along. All right-thinking people ignore the rebellious few who oppose the status quo.

Our heroine is a female American CIA operative named Mallory McKie. At the start of the book, she’s a devoted follower of the Patriot Party and dedicated to fighting green activist nutters who want to blow up oil refineries. The Patriot Party runs the USA and controls much of the world using their sun screen, a giant umbrella over the Earth that keeps out some sunshine and cools the world. If you don’t obey the USA, they can turn off the screen over your country and make things hot. This technological marvel, they believe, also enables fossil fuel corporations to continue burning oil and gas. However, they seem to have overlooked the role of plankton and oxygen. People are starting to get headaches.

Billionaire Thiago Castillo is all too aware of the crisis, and after years of failing to avert it, he has retreated to his well-staffed superyacht for the end of the world. Christmas is coming, so he’s preparing by playing every Christmas pop song in music history, hence the cover theme. Castillo inherited his fortune and business from his parents, who invented drones to clean the world’s oceans. They did a good job, but, in the end, the pollution was more than they could cope with, and the good air ran out. Luckily for her, Mallory McKie was on a mission to spy on the billionaire when Armageddon started. Smart enough to realise that everything she had previously believed was wrong, she joined his team. She also possesses valuable skills that prove beneficial during numerous crises. Mostly, she can kick ass.

One crisis succeeds another, and every time Mallory and the ship’s crew think they are safe, something worse happens. Her former colleagues and their allies working for the good ol’ USA cause the most trouble. Castillio and his team are trying to survive, but they are also trying to find some way forward, some hope for what remains of humanity in this new world.

There’s a good cast of characters, including sarcastic scientist Emma Rain, nice billionaire Castillio, sweetly simple chauffeur Margo, and various other crew members on the yacht. Near the end, there’s also a megalomaniac villain worthy of any Bond film.

‘Insignificant’ is a solid story based on sound science, with a great cast and a possible doomsday scenario to make you worry. Even so, the novel isn’t preachy. It just lays out the facts in a fast-moving narrative that will keep you turning the pages. The writing is smooth as glass because, although this is his first novel, Morgan has been producing quality short stories for a long time and knows his craft. A lot of invention, thought, and hard work have gone into this, and it deserves a wide readership. Recommended.

Eamonn Murphy

May 2024

(pub:‎ Nomadic Delirium Press, 2024. 299 page paperback. Price: £ 9.60 (UK), $12.00 (US). ISBN: 979-8-32499-611-6. Ebook: Price: £  3.98 (UK), $ 4.99 (US). ASIN:‎ B0D3HJSWYX)

check out websites: https://www.nomadicdeliriumpress.com/ and https://perpetualstateofmildpanic.wordpress.com/  

Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories now and then. Website: https://eamonnmurphywriter298729969.wordpress.com/

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