Writer: Paul E. Hardisty
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Environmental Thriller
Publish Date: 16th February 2023
Reviewed By: Dean Asquith
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, in a last-ditch
attempt to stave off disaster, a government of youth has taken power in North America, and a poncy of institutionalised ageism has been introduced. All those older than the prescribed age are deemed responsible for the current state of the world, and are to be 'relocated',
their property and assets confiscated.
David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to 'new accommodation' in the abandoned southern deserts - thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker.
Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape.
But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…
Climate catastrophe portrayed in the most impactful, heartbreaking fashion.
Paul E. Hardisty has presented a quite frankly, frightening portrayal of the climate crisis and the potential for humanity to well…lose its humanity. This isn’t a traditional horror story, nor is it in that genre but this book scared me more than any horror book. Because this is real. It’s an emergency that is apparent right before us and the human race is heading towards a dark future. Paul instils the fear into your mind from the get go and that fear provided a base foundation for my read through of this novel.
The story itself as a novel is utterly superb, a not quite dystopian view of the future and its devastating effect climate change has on the world and its inhabitants, not only the human ones.
This story for me is in three parts, an initial scene setting part, followed by the entrapment and finally the ‘adventure’ part for lack of a better term. My whole mind set the scene in my head as that of the game ‘Fallout’ . I imagined the whole world that Paul has built to be a desolate and bleak looking landscape devoid of greenery with the almost futuristic looking youth government and their soldiers crawling over it like an infestation. The latter stages of the book had a feel of almost Jurassic park. I imagined lush green and blue landscapes, abundant with life and optimism that earth will recover. Almost like Gaia themself had returned to restore our beautiful world.
The characters are rich and deeply well constructed, each providing validation for their existence in a variety of ways, each of these equally skillfully crafted into the story. The story is told from the point of view of David who will imbue his persona to your own person and force you to feel his emotions.
Paul is an utterly exceptional author who deserves the highest plaudits. This book should be read in schools and colleges, it needs to be studied for its relevance and impact. I had such strong emotional responses throughout the book due to its intensity and real world scenarios.
A passionate tale of climate catastrophe and humanities differing emotional responses to hardship The Forcing must not be missed. Everyone that loves books or the environment should read this.