“The end result was that overexploitation, of resources, of people, remained a constant threat… For those who knew how to benefit, all they had to do was attune themselves to the new order of things, the fittest adapting for survival.”
– The Swimmers
An eco-dystopian, Weird speculative fiction, this eerily premonitory tale imagines what could happen if both capitalism and climate change go unchecked.
It is the 2300s, and Earth is now transformed from centuries of abuse. The oceans are filled with plastic, animals have mutated into monstrosities, and the jungle swallows up entire villages in one night. The rich have only gotten richer and have moved into the Upper Settlement, a space station on the edge of the atmosphere. Everyone else is doing their best to survive on the inhospitable Surface. The Swimmers follows the story of Pearl, a girl living in what was once Andalusia, as she “navigates the complex social hierarchies and monstrous, ever-changing landscape”.
Simply put, the writing is gorgeous. The author describes everything beautifully, and I was entranced from start to finish. There is no hand holding when it comes to world building, yet the world is where this book truly shines. You are dropped into a place that is both alien and uncomfortably familiar, a place you can see vividly in your mind’s eye.
This book is more character-focused than plot-focused, though the plot and conclusion did leave me reeling. Without giving too much away, Pearl’s evolution was a joy to follow: from a scrappy kid without direction, to a woman on a mission to find the truth and improve her community.
I highly recommend this to fans of the Southern Reach trilogy and anyone who likes character-driven books with immersive worlds.
Thank you to Titan Books and Edelweiss+ for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. The Swimmers will be published on February 16th, 2021.