Book Review: “Nature’s Confession” by J.L. Morin

This was not for me. I struggled to keep reading to the end. I eventually made it. That’s because this is global warming fiction. Any book from that category gets a large advance bonus from me for even trying. And the fact that the author kindly sent me an advance review copy, which made me feel somewhat obligated to finish it.

The first thing that irritated me was the lack of a name for the main character. He is called “boy” over most of the book. That’s because in the world of that book, boys don’t get a name before they are fifteen.

That doesn’t make any sense. You would end up with everybody called “boy”, leading to a lot of confusion when grading end of term tests in school.

I am not actually sure that this “boy” was supposed to be the main character. The novel zaps around aimlessly between lots of characters. That works great for me in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, which I read immediately before this book. It didn’t work for me here.

Around page seventy I asked myself if eventually there would be some kind of plot I could understand. I failed to understand what is supposed to happen right to the end.

The treatment of the global warming problem is, like much of the book, hyperbole and caricature. That may work as humor for some people. It just served to irritate me more reading about “CO2 smog” and one head of one evil corporation ruling the world. None of that has any base in reality.

I divide global warming fiction into two categories. Those that try to propose a solution and those that just try to show the problem or use global warming as a world building element.

I am not sure in which category this should belong. There is a solution at the end, which is taking your energy from the souls of dead people. At the end of the book, they fuel some space ships with that energy.

I have been writing about energy issues for some time, but that is the first time I heard someone propose this. It reminds me of James Altucher’s proposal:

I don’t know why nobody has thought of this yet. Just look at the words “Global. Warming.” i.e. The surface of the planet is getting hotter. That means it’s giving off energy. Use photovoltaic strips to harness the energy coming off the planet to reduce our need for carbon-based energy. BAM! Problem solved. 

That one I can at least understand, though I don’t think it would work.

I still don’t know who that “Nature” character is and what evil deed she is supposed to be confessing.

This may work for readers who enjoy satire like Swift’s “Modest Proposal” (which I hate). Just don’t expect a normal novel with well developed plot, characters, and some kind of base in global warming reality.

Link to Amazon page (not yet released).

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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