Copyright by Nancy Lieder, 2009.
This is a tale about a houseboat living in the Aftertime.
The pole shift has happened and the waters have risen several hundred feet due to melting poles and glaciers and the heating of the ocean bottom. The rising sea level is happening slowly but steadily, forcing survivors to relocate when they discover the flood is not receding.
Finegan Fine has found a niche in this new world by running a trading boat along the new coastline and up and down ever broadening rivers.
The main theme is the sociological adaptation of the populace to the lack of rescue and rising waters after the cataclysms. Finegan meets survivors from all walks of life:
- the very wealthy who expected to survive in their well stocked enclaves,
- the politically connected who expected rescue on demand,
- the wealthy who thought their bankroll would buy them comfort,
- suburbanites unprepared to be self sustaining,
- those who stubbornly refused to leave their cities and towns and steadily starve to death,
- families who are separated from each other,
- rural folk familiar with local produce,
- immigrants caught a long way from home,
- pedophiles peddlers selling children,
- the handicapped who take hardship in stride,
- military men cut off from their commanders,
- former politicians trying to establish a continuity of government,
- those who turn from their responsibilities and those who raise orphans and care for the aged,
- teens without supervision,
- the deluded who think the good times will return,
- and those trying to maintain slave labor camps.
A second theme is the devastation itself, which is widespread. Florida is under water, trapping those who lingered too long. Coastal subdivisions and river front towns are steadily flooded, often forcing people to repeatedly relocate. Satellites have been torn from the sky, so communications are by short wave radio at best. Rescue is simply not forthcoming.
A third theme is survival techniques. Survivors adapt by eating atypical but highly nutritious foods. They live in makeshift shacks and tents. Electricity is generated from windmills or by pedals. Barter is the mode and the dollar is dead.
A fourth theme is how people react to the crisis - by rising to the challenge and helping one another or by looting and hoarding. Survivors are on their own and must rely on resourcefulness and cooperation with others for survival. Those that mistreat others find themselves without supplies or friends in due time.