I was going to add my comment on Dyschronia to the dystopian fiction reviews collected here but decided that it deserved its own space on the blog, and perhaps on our bookshelves.
It’s a Australian novel from an author new to me, Jennifer Mills. Both its setting and its mood reminded me of Randolph Stow’s Tourmaline (1963); so did the quality of the writing, which you may take as high praise since I have always liked Stow. But this is very much a novel of our own time, not the early sixties: pollution, corporate amorality and climate change are the existential threats to the fragile township and its residents.
It’s a challenging but rewarding novel and I look forward to reading more of Mills’ work. Most of the rest of what I would have said about Dyschronia has been said in this review in the SMH, so I will leave you in Gretchen Shirm’s capable hands.
Robert Kunzig and Wallace Broecker
Fixing Climate is both interesting and useful but not in the ways that the authors intended. That’s not entirely their fault, since climate science and mitigation have changed enormously in the ten years since it was published.
The book tracks the life and work of Wallace Broecker, who was born in 1931 and was just the right age to become a pioneer and then a leader in the (then) very young field of climate history and (hence) climate change. Continue reading “Broecker: Fixing Climate”
A Guide to Wildlife and protected areas of the Top End
Environment Centre NT, 2017
This handsomely produced book is the result of an ambitious project undertaken by the Environment Centre of the Northern Territory. It will be a valuable resource for years to come, not only for Territorians but for anyone living in, or visiting, North Queensland and Northern WA.
Continue reading “A Guide to Wildlife and protected areas of the Top End”
Carolyn Little, 2015
A book described on its back cover as a “contemporary thriller [which] explores the growing interest in biodiscovery and the modern crime of biopiracy, against the back-drop of the beauty and challenges of the Daintree World Heritage site … and [the] popular resort world of Port Douglas” recently leapt from the shelf of my local library into my hand. It lived up to its promise, too, being both entertaining and informative.
The (perfectly valid) scientific background to the story is a search in the Daintree rainforest for a botanical cure for the affliction known locally as the Daintree ulcer or Mossman ulcer. It is a nasty flesh-eating ulcer with no known prevention or cure, caused by a bug (Mycobacterium ulcerans) related to those which cause leprosy and tuberculosis. Continue reading “Bergstrom’s Orange, Daintree ulcers and rainforest”
Adventures of a Young Naturalist – the Zoo Quest Expeditions
Two Roads, 2017
This substantial volume is a re-issue of Attenborough’s first three Zoo Quest books, recounting his expeditions to Guyana, Indonesia and Paraguay in the late 1950s, “slightly abbreviated and updated from the originals,” as he says in the Introduction.
The Zoo Quests were joint projects of the London Zoo and the BBC in which minuscule expeditions set out to collect wildlife for the Zoo with a TV cameraman recording the process. Collecting expeditions were regular operations of all zoos at the time, and I for one grew up loving Gerald Durrell’s very funny books about similar expeditions, but making one into a TV show was a novel idea Continue reading “Adventures of a Young Attenborough”