Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blind Traveler Down a Dark River

I started reading Robert Bennett’s “Blind Traveler Down a Dark River” without any pre-conceived notions. I didn’t look at the blurb, the preface or other reviews. With a paper book, I probably would have read the back cover first, but this was an e-book, so I just plunged in.

I read the first chapter about the CEO of a company that was trying to combine the best qualities of steel and plastic. So far, so good. I mean, why not? A very sensible idea and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done yet.

The guy had his problems: a drinking domineering wife and a trade union that wouldn’t quit. I liked him from the start and I was sad to realize he was not to be the main character, when around came a visually-impaired man whose story this actually is (and who’s responsible for the title of the book).

That’s when my grip on reality started to loosen. I’ve worked with GPS, I’ve even driven a car with a navigation system, but do the blind really use GPS to find their way around? And those driver-less buses, maybe they indeed exist overseas?

The writing was so believable and so unlike the conventional Science Fiction style, that it took several GPS experts, together with the book’s blurb, to convince me that this was, indeed, a futuristic setting and the year was 2021.

The premise of the book is simple: imagine a blind man who’s dependent on all this futuristic technology. Imagine the technology going haywire. Imagine him witness a murder… without actually being present at the scene.

A great premise. A very good book.

(The Blind Traveller is available in paperback.)

No comments: