2014 October 08 • Wednesday
Before J. G. Ballard's The Drowned World there was this very different take on apocalypse by water, John Bowen's After the Rain.
It seems quite indebted to John Wyndham's end of the world/survival of the species novels (The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes—water again—and The Midwich Cuckoos) but pursued its story in a different direction.
One day it starts to rain and never stops, all over the world. The cause of it is ambiguous. While it coincides with an experiment by a rainmaker, the actual rain appears to begin before the release of the mysterious rain catalyst. It could be a combination of the experiment and natural forces or one or othe other.
The main action is confined to a ship with a handful of survivors who find themselves together by chance. They become a society unto themselves and pass through democracy and despotism to a messianic worship arrived at so gradually and in reaction to such extreme hardship that it's lunacy is perfectly acceptable. (It's also slightly reminiscent of the future of society in George R. Stewart's Earth Abides.)
It's a great book and interesting to read now, as more and more people talk about climate change. The main character is a copywriter and when the rain starts and never stops, the reaction of his employers is that their periodicals must be "flood-conscious".