The citizens of Drayling, a district in the south of the British Friendly Federation, have a perfect life. Everything is peaceful, rational, and well-ordered. Of course, they have no non-administrative contact with anyone outside their district, and religion and competitive sport have been abolished. (An England without football? Count me out.) And there’s also the niggling fact that no one who leaves the district for any reason has ever returned. But there’s always a logical explanation, and hey, it’s a small price to pay for utopia, right?
Unfortunately, after four hundred years of perfection, paradise is starting to crumble at the edges. The Archwitan has died, and his replacement is making changes that threaten the very foundation of the BFF’s way of life. Can the humble, reasonable citizens of Drayling find a way to stop him?
Drayling admittedly gets off to a very slow start. The first hundred pages or so (of a 277 page book) are largely devoted to thoroughly familiarizing the reader with the operation of the BFF, and, oddly, to cricket. Exposition is mostly delivered through dialogue, with the strangely rational characters constantly explaining things to each other. Needless to say, this feels a little pedantic after a while.
I know this doesn’t sound like a rave review, but trust me; this book is full of surprises. I was extremely skeptical about many aspects of Drayling’s “perfect society”, but it really does all make sense in the end. If you have patience with its slow beginning, Drayling will reward you with answers. Except about the cricket. As in life, that’s one thing that’s never satisfactorily explained.
Author: Terry J. Newman
Genre: Science Fiction
Price: $0.99 (Kindle), $12.82 (paperback)