Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Mark Morris
Published by Leisure Books
It seems every author these days has their own take on how the world is going to end, so much so that it’s almost become tiresome, a plot contrivance if you will. The end of the world saga has become almost as predictable as ghost stories or vampire tales. Sadly, Mark Morris’ latest work slides into the category of same old, same old, as well.
Morris’ first Leisure release, The Immaculate (review), was one of the most impressive novels I had read at that time, so when The Deluge showed up at my door I was excited to see how Morris had followed it up. The background is interesting enough; one day for no discernable reason the world is flooded. The water lasts for two days then goes just as mysteriously as it came, leaving anyone who managed to survive alone and unsure of what to do with their lives.
The story brings together a father and daughter, a young man, a former policewoman and an elderly couple as they try to make the best of what’s been laid out in front of them. At first all seems as normal as it can be, no strange threats other than some pesky survivors who have either lost it or believe they were left behind for a reason handed down from above; mostly they just deal with the loss of everything they’d come to know throughout their lives.
But as they move from the UK to Scotland so the father and daughter can try and reunite with their family, they have their first run-in with a strange new life form that’s appeared on the planet. They can look like us but when threatened, they show their true form; that of a hard-to-look at multi-angular blob … thing… to be honest it’s never really described too well since its victims aren’t supposed to be able to look at for it too long without it becoming more vague, so you’re left to make up your own mind what it might look like.
All they know about these things is that they use some type of electro shock on our bodies to drain us of energy before consuming us whole. Then, they mimic the person they just ate; good way to integrate your way into a species, I suppose. The survivors confront the aliens while in human form at one point and ask them, point blank, what they want with their world. “To survive just like you” is their only response. Of course, the details of how they’re going to survive are left a bit vague.
Eventually the entire crew does make it to Scotland, hole up in a castle that was the girl’s former private school, and begin to live a normal life again. That is, until the aliens decide they’ve had enough and are ready to make their movie.
One of the cooler aspects to The Deluge is that nothing is laid out or over-explained for the reader. We’re just a clueless about what happened to the world as the survivors of it are, and the alien’s intentions with us remain a mystery throughout. What’s not very cool, however, is how long it takes us, the readers, to get anywhere. The whole book seems like a series of non-events until the very end when all hell breaks loose, even when the survivors come into contact with the aliens for the first time or run across those aforementioned crazy survivalists. Maybe it’s just the way Morris writes the action scenes, the voice he uses just never conveys anything truly dangerous is going to happen.
So it’s not the author’s best work, nor is it his worse it’s just … well, kind of average. And personally I don’t think an end-of-the world epic should ever be considered average, do you?
2 1/2 out of 5
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