BOOK REVIEW: Look into the future in an over-populated world

JAMES Bradley's Clade follows five generations of one Australian family as they struggle to survive in a future dystopia of over-population and climate change.

Against a backdrop of increasing extreme weather events and disease epidemics (sound familiar?), this book is a study of human nature.

The characters are more focussed on their own lives and relationships than on the world falling to pieces around them.

While not every character is apathetic (patriarch Adam is a climate scientist), Bradley paints humanity as ultimately powerless to alter the path we are hurtling down.

Clade is not your typical science-fiction story.

While genetically modified mutants, robots bearing human faces and (spoiler) extraterrestrials all feature in the novel, Bradley shows restraint in his depiction as each chapter takes us deeper into the future. Each advancement is clearly rooted in something which exists in society today, giving the novel an organic feel.

This also helps us to see our own world with fresh eyes, asking the all-important question: where are we headed?

The novel is a good page-turner, with a vein of action-adventure woven through the wider family saga.

Although bleak at times, the book shies away from a wholly catastrophic view of the future and ends on a hopeful note.

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