A Shocking Look at Our Future
does one see a thriller that could be called literary, but Brian
Littlefair has managed this feat with Desert Burial, combining
his superb imagination, powerful story-telling instinct, and mind
for metaphor that continually surprises and delights.
is primarily set in Mali which the author notes is now "one
of Africa's more vigorous democracies." This observation from
the author adds a note of irony to his futuristic horror story.
That Littlefair's predictions for that country and the world might
actually come true makes this story both fascinating and devastating.
is a geologist who has finagled his way into being paid by an obscure
US government agency to live with the silent rocks and aquifers
in the heart of eastern Africa. The opening chapters that tell of
the isolation and quiet and mineral deposits he knows are exquisite
and a mind-numbing contrast to the bedlam that is about to engulf
the world with tentacles so pervasive they reach out even to Campbell's
self-imposed isolation in the desert.
are some restrained romantic interests. Campbell comes to know several
women of substance who personify the different ways people might
try to make a positive difference in the world. He comes to know
some men who are doing their best to undermine world order. He learns
a lot in the process.
imaginary (and more clairvoyant than fictional) world is, at times,
difficult to follow. The ins and outs of politics, the underworld,
and the human traffickers aren't immediately clear, but the story
would lose something if the reader stopped to trace every intricacy.
It's not necessary to catch every relationship and motivation to
understand and to love the story. This one was well worth the ride.