by Jake van Der Kamp
Chameleon Press (e-book)
Jake van der Kamp writes the avidly read 'Monitor' column in the South China Morning Post's paper's business pages. He is also a novelist of range, intelligence and vivacity. Seven Dwarfs is a work of science fiction that fuses fairy tale, Douglas Adams and some penetrating political satire. It is the 23rd century, and earth has spent its oil reserves and ravaged the planet, much to everyone's bafflement: 'Why did our forebears do it?' asks Professor Anton Borough. 'It's hard to fathom that mindset now.' Turning to the sun for power, humanity creates a series of satellites to farm solar energy. Only, working conditions are so brutal that the inhabitants rebel and form seven breakaway colonies named after Snow White's diminutive friends. The plot examines how mankind's more than usually fractured population re-organises itself along cosmic lines. A disgruntled United Nations, under the command of an evil queen, sends a Solar Naval commander, Wilberforce ('Will') Proudfoot, to bring the rebels to heel. The plot and central characters emerge a bit slowly. But once you get oriented, Seven Dwarfs offers a lively, if sobering glimpse into our future.