Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Aviator The Aviator
by Gareth Renowden
Limestone Hills Publishing

Supplied for review by Limestone Hills Publishing

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

The Aviator is Gareth Renowden’s fourth book but his first acknowledged outing in fiction, with his previous works being non-fiction and one, not coincidentally, an extended essay on global warming. The Aviator is also the first book in "The Burning World" trilogy.

The Aviator is a simple tale of Lemuel Newman (Lemmy) and his bio-linked, self-aware and somewhat possessive airship Jenny and their travels and travails in a post-peak oil world (approximately thirty years from now). Curious those adventures are for the world is in partial collapse with large pockets suffering severe economic and environmental dislocation.

Lemmy and Jenny begin their travels trying to find Lemmy’s missing employer by doing a tour of his homes and boltholes, but without success. In the course of this journey they make contact with a high tech enclave in northern California and agree, in the hopes of re-establishing a global internet (which will give Jenny much needed intellectual stimulus), to become a vanguard of two in search of other high tech enclaves.

Against my will this book charmed me. The world is the world, there was no tub thumping decrying the future to come. Nor is the perfidiousness of politicians lamented or bemoaned; that is taken as just one of the vicissitudes of life. No, it was in the way Mr Renowden has created a believable character in Jenny the airship and her relationship with Lemmy, which was very deftly handled. Also I liked his approach to technology and some of the advances posited in The Aviator – well outside the usual and all the better for it.

The Aviator is a surprise of a book, a smoked salmon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a fresh mixed grain when one was expecting stale leavings of white bread around egg and vegemite. I look forward to book two with interest piqued.

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