|The Aviator is Gareth Renowdens
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.
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
Lemmy and Jenny begin their travels trying to find Lemmys 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.