Book Review: Daylight Runner by Oisin McGann

Oisin McGann’s young adult novel, Daylight Runner, is a story about a post-apocalyptic ice age that resulted in a vast underground survival project designed to hold a small portion of the world’s remaining population.  Originally released in Great Britain under the title Small-Minded Giants, this tale about a dystopian futuristic world where technological control is wielded by a handful of individuals was just published in the U.S. by HarperCollins.

Imagine a world where every breath we take, each drop and morsel we consume, and the tiniest fragment of waste must be produced or recycled within the confines of a limited space in an underground city.  With outside temperatures across the earth’s surface totally uninhabitable, what would it take to sustain this final sanctuary for the purpose of survival?  The answer is a giant machine whose aging technology must be protected and maintained.

Perhaps the more important question to ask is, “What happens if someone messes with the machine?”

“I’m not fatalistic. I just object to being a cog in the machine,” Ube replied, looking defensive.

“We live in a machine,” Cleo sighed. “Get used to it.”

“You should be careful how you talk, anyway,” Faisal told him. “You mess with the machine and the Clockworkers’ll come for you…”

There have been many novels written within the science fiction genre based on the basic premise of a post-apolocalyptic reality that is maintained by technology.  What differentiates each story is how realistically believable each world is, what results from this bleak phenomenon, and what becomes of the people in that scenario.

While portions of the general theme may be slightly reminiscent of other science fiction books, McGann manages to create new characters and different outcomes.  His development of the technology premise appeared to be intriguingly well thought out.  The majority of the energy within Daylight Runner‘s underground world is created as a result of the motion of individuals walking to and from work and school in their everyday lives, body heat, and other similar natural functions.  The impact of limited daylight affects the depression and suicide rates in the city, and of course most plant-life and wildlife has become increasingly rare if not altogether extinct.

For fans of science fiction or dystopian futuristic themes, Daylight Runner is worth checking out.  This action-oriented thriller is a quick read yet thought-provoking at the same time.  It may even leave the reader contemplating topics such as global warming and the limited resources in our environment a bit more closely.

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