fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsEngine Summer by John CrowleyEngine Summer by John Crowley

Fey, muted, beautiful. The story of Rush-that-speaks is a bildungsroman that will haunt you long after you have read the last page. Engine Summer follows the charming and inquisitive Rush as he grows up in his enclave of ‘True Speakers,’ one of the few groups of humanity left after an apocalypse has destroyed most of civilization. It then follows him as he ventures out into the world to see what strangeness it may offer, and in the hopes of finding his lost love.

Don’t expect to find the mutant zombies or flesh-eating reavers of many other post-apocalyptic stories. Instead prepare to see with Rush the melancholy remnants of our society which are given new strangeness and wonder when viewed through his eyes. Tied to this are the strange people we meet; those who survived the cataclysm and continued to live their lives, forever changed by the harsh reality of the end of civilization.

The ways in which these groups choose to meet the challenges presented by this world mark each of them in significant ways, and as Rush witnesses these things he is changed by them, becoming both more, and less, than he was when he started his journey.

Engine Summer is one of my very favourites by Crowley (I seem to prefer his early work to his later) and I highly recommend it to any and all.

Engine Summer — (1979) Publisher: In the dim future, several catastrophes have reduced Earth’s population to a minimum and the survivors have divided themselves into separate and isolated cultures. Rush That Speaks, a member of one of these cultures, The Truth Speakers, discovers the existence of a splinter group who preserve secrets from the past and discovers a means to his own immortality


  • Terry Lago

    TERRY LAGO, one of our regular guest reviewers, is a Torontonian who, like all arts students, now works in the IT field. He has been a fan of fantasy ever since being introduced to Tolkien by his older brother when he was only a wee lad, though he has since branched out to enjoy all spectrums of the Fantasy genre and quite a few of the science fiction one as well. Literary prose linked with well-drawn characters are the things he most looks for in a book. You can see what he's currently reading at his Goodreads page.