Drowning Towers by George Turner

Drowning Towers

Francis Conway is Swill—one of the millions in the year 2041 who must subsist on the inadequate charities of the state. Life, already difficult, is rapidly becoming impossible for Francis and others like him, as government corruption, official blindness and nature have conspired to turn Swill homes into watery tombs. And now the young boy must find a way to escape the approaching tide of disaster.The Sea and Summer, published in the U.S. as The...

Details Drowning Towers

TitleDrowning Towers
Release DateDec 31st, 1996
PublisherAvon Books
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia

Reviews Drowning Towers

  • S.B. Wright
    The novel has been out of print for some time, indeed I tried to find a copy a couple of years ago and couldnt. Thankfully Gollanz have seen fit to reprint it as part of their masterworks series.So how, after 25 years, does the book hold up?Remarkably well is the short answer. Apart from a couple of historical errors that have crept in with the relentless march of time, its a book that fans of Paolo Bacigalupis Ship Breaker series and Anna Norths...
  • Martina
    Drowning Towers is yet another good entry in the science/speculative fiction genre. The title ruins the first impression, though, because it sets the tone of doom and gloom way too early. For that reason, the title given to the novel inside the novel - The sea and summer - works much better. The sea and summer is very innocent and is very much in contrast with the world the author portrays. Turner's vision of the future is grim and dreary; it mig...
  • Mark
    Technically a science fiction title, it is more just near futuristic and hauntingly plausible. In the coming decades, class stratification leads to sharp division between Sweet (those with jobs and a tenuous grasp at some sense of instable stability, roughly analogous to our present-day middle class) and Swill, the despised underclass forced to contend with sea levels rising around their high-rise towers, massive unemployment and no sense of hop...
  • Sjancourtz
    One of the all-time best science fiction books ever! Takes place in Australia, in a world where global warming and rising sea levels and a collapsed economy divide people into two groups: the "sweet"--those who have jobs--and the "swill"--those who live on a meager public assistance program in decrepit public housing, scrabbling to survive. This is your future, America. Wake up and do something before it's too late.
  • Cheryl
    1987 Australian SF novel about a world-wide dystopia caused by global warming, overpopulation and the automation of most jobs. Good, but it could've been better without the story-within-a-story framework.
  • Tripp
    Me oh my oh, the Australians know how to show the slow slide into apocalypse. Mad Max shows a world not too different from our own, but terrible in its changes. In that movie, the changes are never really discussed, but they are the subtext of the film. Australian author George Turner's Arthur C Clarke Award winning Drowning Towers (known as the Sea and Summer in the UK) tells a similarly bleak tale of life after the decline of civilization.The b...
  • Catherine Siemann
    This book was recommended to me when I was looking for a novel about ecocastrophe to teach; it's very much a pity that it is out of print. It was published in 1987 and the concerns it reflects are still very much in the forefront, particularly economic collapse and ecological catastrophe.In mid-21st century Australia, there is 90% unemployment, the small and tenuous middle class (the Sweet) are in constant fear of losing their jobs, but buck them...
  • Alistair
    An incredibly prescient novel (published in 1987) set in a 21st century Melbourne that is drowning, literally, as the Greenhouse Effect has made chaos of the weather and food production. Only the tallest towers and the Dandenongs remain above water as the haves and the have-nots battle for survival.
  • Steen Ledet
    Wonderful, thought provoking science fiction from an author I've never heard of. A multi-pov novel that uses two separate futures to comment on the inability of representing the whole throug the part, but also the inability of doing anything else. The calm, measured unfolding of almost inevitable events builds into a terrifying intensity at the end of the novel.
  • Liz Barr
    Ive never been an advocate of the idea that you must be familiar with certain writers and works in order to call yourself a science fiction fan, but sometimes I find a gap in my reading thats frankly embarrassing.So it was with George Turner, the Australian, Melburnian author of acclaimed SF and literary novels. Until The Sea and Summer was quoted in Sophie Cunninghams Melbourne, I had never heard of him.Born in 1916, he was already an accomplish...
  • David Fonteyn
    An early example of a growing number of Climate Change Science Fiction novels (other examples include The Drowned World (1963) by J.G. Ballard, The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy,Sixty Days and Counting (2007) by Kim Stanley Robinson, and The Year of the Flood (2009) by Margaret Atwood - not strictly a Climate Change novel but can be read as such), The Sea and Summer is an Australian novel that is highly acclaimed, having won the Arthur C. Clarke...
  • Brant
    This was a good book, but it was missing.something. The population - and the planet - are ravaged by climate change and changing technology. The people are fractured into several groups: the low-class, jobless Swill, living off of the Government in cramped high-rise towers; the elite Sweet, living in mansions and doing their best to forget about the Swill, and the Fringers, the poor souls on their way from Sweetdom to Swilldom.The story focuses o...
  • Marcus
    Probably only really 4, maybe 4.5 stars for the story itself (it lags somewhat in the middle, but does finish strongly), but I'm giving this 5 stars for three main reasons:1. It's set in Melbourne, and at one point two of the characters visit the "old public library" which is my current place of occupation (I'm especially fond of the passage wherein the mere intimation that the books are "not worth a glance, much less the reverent handling by lib...
  • Bill
    Nearly 3 decades ago the author said this book is not prophetic or a dire warning. He was wrong. It, like 1984, is both. It is perhaps the scariest novel I have read since. Scary because the science, politics and social effects of climate change he shows are all coming true. This is done using elegant characterization. Billy Kovacs, Teddie Kovacs... will be part of my life from here onas will the stink of humans. Turner reveals truths and obvious...
  • Julie
    A must-read for anyone who is not yet concerned about the devastation we are causing to the environment. And it's set in right here in Melbourne. Mainly in Newport, actually... Close to home. A well-deserved winner of the Arthur C Clark award. RIP George.
  • Torsten
    Best example of climate fiction I've 25 yrs old but mostly feels prophetic rather than dated
  • Paul
    sci-fi: using an alternative/future view of science and reality to paint your picture or build the world that makes us question our own (cf. Drowning Towers)
  • Peter Longworth
    The notable issue of this book is in its speculative position on the effects of climate change. The public did not know much about climate change and greenhouse gases in 1987, the year this Australian science fiction book was published. I enjoyed the first 20-30 pages of this 366 page book. These pages set the backdrop of the novel by describing a history of how the earths atmosphere had changed because of the greenhouse effect. The author frames...
  • Leif
    In many ways, this very stunning climate change dystopia is a product of its time - with positive and negative connotations - but it remains terribly, horribly relevant. I mean this not in the novel's specific concern of over-population and most certainly not in its very ugly arrogant masculinity, no. But instead, I say this because of Turner's clear-eyed attempt at understanding the collective failure of state collapse and societal disarray, whe...
  • Mel
    Published in 1987, The Sea and Summer (Drowning Towers in the USA), but for a few anachronistic omissions (for example, mobile phones), could have been written today.The story, set in an imagined mid to late 21st century is told from a future perspective, by an archaeologist historian turned author. When I say imagined, it's not that much of a stretch!The collapse of civilisation as we know it, has already occurred with population and global warm...
  • A Reader
    A few months ago I discovered George Turner. For someone who loves science- fiction, not to know George Turner is frankly embarrassing. My only excuse is that The Sea and the Summer does not feel like a science-fiction. It is so closely based on extrapolation of proven scientific facts that it is difficult to describe it as science fiction at all. The plot is not great but the structure of the story is interesting and complex. There is an intense...
  • Ian Banks
    This novel, one of the earliest novels about climate change written with the knowledge of what we are doing to the planet as a theme, is a grim and dark tale of the near future (a future that is now closer to the present than the publication date). But it contains elements of hope and the idea that humanity as we sort of know it will continue.It's the story of the Conway family who, following the death of breadwinner Fred are reduced socially fro...
  • Nicholas Whyte
    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2718954.htmlI confess that I knew nothing of this book or of the writer, and had no expectations whatsoever; and I also confess that I really liked it. It's set in a dystopian Australia of the near future (though the story is told with a framing narrative of researchers from the not-quite-so-near future looking back and trying to work out what was going on, a device I usually love). Society is divided between the wel...
  • Eleanor
    In his Clarke Award-winning novel, Turner imagines a not-too-distant future (2041) ravaged by climate change. In Australia, the social gap has widened into a chasm: on one side, the Sweet, who retain jobs where most employment has been taken over by automation, and on the other, the Swill, the 99.9% who mostly live crammed into tower blocks and at the mercy of the State. The plot, which is slightly too slow-moving for its own good, at least at th...
  • Kyle
    I read this as part of my project to read 1988 books throughout 2018 (even though, I know, this was published first in 1987--but it came out in my country, the U.S., in 1988, ok). And if part of that project's purpose is to get a sense of what the late 80s felt like, this book is the perfect entry point. I mean, Turner even ends with a postscript on "a number of possibilities that deserve urgent thought if some of them are not to come to pass in ...
  • Andrea Dowd
    Nope nope nope. I did not finish Turner's "Drowning Towers". A story within a story, one timeline stuck in the midst of the first significant push of climate change and rising ocean waters; the other is on the swing side of impending long winter/ice age, whatever you want to call it. Neither story is very interesting as the story lines really are about family and social makeup of familial relationships. The twist is that no one seems all that int...
  • Matthew
    There are remarkable ideas in this book, and its visions of economic collapse, the separation of the small minority of people that there is work for, and the rest who are permanently unemployed, as well as its presaging of the rise of the oceans due to climate change are all precocious for when it was written. I can see how the book won praise in its time for the ideas alone.As a piece of literature its value is far more doubtful. The author seem...
  • Bbrown
    The type of mediocrity this book represents is probably familiar to you if you read science fiction: it's a dystopia generated by taking a current problem with society and extrapolating it into its worst possible outcome. Thus did book burning beget Fahrenheit 451, did Christian fundamentalism beget The Handmaid's Tale, did Collectivism beget Anthem. Turner does the same operation using global warming, with mediocre results. Not that it's just ab...
  • Steven
    Part of the Gollancz Science Fiction Masterworks. Im giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The writing is good while also not being very lyrical. The characters are relatable and interesting, it bounces from one first person narrative to the other, focusing on two brothers. The beginning and end were stronger than the middle, for sure. The very beginning is the strongest point of the whole book. Been meaning to read it for a long time now and Im glad tha...
  • Landon Shimpa
    Wow. This book had strong "Enders Game" vibes for me, though I didn't think it's story wrapped in a way that was quite as compelling. George Turner excels, however, at building a horrific future that I can see our current times heading right for. Using climate change as a catalyst for the new world order was fascinating, and I believe quite successful. Would recommend pretty heavily for most lovers of science fiction.