The Last Lands
by Christopher Pearce

"The men whooped and screamed as they charged across the paths that crisscrossed the salt marsh and headed towards the Antar, who were taking cover behind the sand dunes."

Pearce's novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where global warming has destroyed the earth, and the survivors have congregated at the poles. In the Arctic are the Narrs, a group that has given up technology and strives to live in harmony with the natural world. Antarctica is home to the Antar. They have built massive domes to live in to escape the poisonous air. The citizens are under the eyes of a strict government that executes as it sees fit. However, tremors threaten to shatter the Antar's domes, and they must find new lands for their people. These groups have been completely unaware of the other's existence. The search for habitable lands will lead to a clash of technology and ideology. In addition, there are individuals in each group whose self-interests are much more important to them than the good of the whole.

Pearce's novel is an inventive look at an earth shattered by global warming. The life at the poles and how the two societies differ is a nice bit of worldbuilding. These differences foreshadow the inevitable conflict between the groups. The author also has some interesting characters with understandable motivations. One protagonist undergoes a small quest within the narrative and develops mystical powers, and there are numerous scenes of action and adventure. Pearce writes in a clean, clear style which moves this short work quickly to its conclusion. Still, several flat characters and sections of the story would have been enriched with greater tension, detail, and development. Overall, though, this is an inventive and adventurous read, quickly consumed, and certain to delight many fans of adventure stories and those interested in visions of an alternate Earth.

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