Tuesday, December 01, 2009
PASTWORLD By Ian Beck. London: Bloomsbury, 2009
The year is 2048. Daily life is a bore - except in Pastworld. The whole of London has become a Victorian-era theme park, complete with nightly fog, old-style technology and (robotic) rats and pigeons. Most of the residents have chosen to live in the past, accepting old-fashioned laws, and put up with tourists who pay big money to visit and enjoy the Victorian lifestyle for a while.
The whole thing is run by the sinister Buckland Corporation, which is constantly coming up with new entertainments for the tourists, known as Gawkers.
So what happens when their designated Jack the Ripper gets out of control and starts killing whoever he wants? And what is the mystery behind seventeen-year-old Eve, who can’t remember anything before two years ago and thinks she is living in Victorian London?
This cross between The Truman Show and Westworld is a nicely-gripping thriller. It is fast-paced, bouncing around from one drama to another till all the ends are tied. The pace is speeded up by the shortness of most chapters.
I worked out what was happening well before the end, but I’ve read far more than the average teenager for whom the book is intended. Chances are that they won’t work it out so easily.
Recommended for mid-to-late teens.