monsters
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The fallout from a passing comet contains a biological pathogen, not a virus or a living organism, just a collection of amino acids, but these cause animals to revert to the age of the mega-fauna, when monsters roamed Earth. Part of the blurb from Monsters by Peter Cawdron

And so, when the fall of man came, the Luddites rejoiced. For them, man’s demise was a vindication of their ideals, a moment full of spite and bitter rejoicing. Peter Cawdron-Monsters

Reading is far more than picking words off a page. It is to breathe in another soul, to walk in their shoes. When you read, you lose yourself and inhabit anothers life, the life of one that went before you on this Earth Peter Cawdron-Monsters

NOTE: This is an edited review:
After speaking with Peter, I do feel that my take on the second half of the book may have been too harsh. He does make a good point that it was important to learn about how humanity begins to change, how they begin to find their way. I did some rereading and decided that I have a better grasp of where he is going and what he was doing with his characterizations. I am leaving my previous review in place – others may find that the information is useful, but I do want to note that I have raised the book’s review status by a point based on our discussion and a rereading of the second half of the book. Either way, I don’t regret reading the book, and his world development was spectacular, something that is always important to me. Read it. You will draw your own conclusions.

I was originally drawn to the book by its cover. A simple pen-and-ink sketch of the skull of a Smilodon, a Pleistocene epoch saber-tooth cat, it caught my attention as the description of the book drew me in. For the first third of the book, I was not disappointed.

In many ways, Monsters starts off in an unusual but very interesting manner, as apparently ancient newsprint becomes the introductory vehicle for the history of the collapse of man. This is not your typical dystopian novel, where zombies rule the earth. Instead, the story starts out innocuously, as a passing comet, Comet Holt, appears in the night sky. Fragile bits of newsprint recount how Holt grows in the sky, and lit up the sky, its twin tails “breathtaking to behold”. The subsequent breakup and dispersal of over half of the comet into the Sun came with volatile disintegration across space, and the subsequent showering of the Earth with tiny, breathtakingly beautiful showers of dust lighting up the stratosphere.

Cawdron’s description of these events is beautifully done, and pulled me deeper and deeper into the tale, as the biological pathogens in the cometary dust, “The Sparkles,” for all their breathtaking beauty, begin an insidious correction to life on Earth. The subsequent changes to the world economy are only the beginning, as dust in the upper atmosphere wreaks havoc with the weather, bringing on a new ‘mini ice age’, dropping humanity further and further back into a new stone age. The outcome of this is as could be expected, as man desperately scrambles to survive, falling back into a medieval superstitions and religious zealotry. Books and science are outlawed, and environmental changes run rampant.

Excellent. The story arc for this part of the book was exceptional, and kept me totally engrossed. There were, of course, problems with the timeline of the fall of civilization and the rapid evolutionary changes, but this is fiction, and these sorts of things are to be expected though not embraced. The rapid disintegration of humans, from sophisticated, thinking beings to savages was much more believable in its rapidity given the very nature of the human animal and it’s natural savagery. As Nazi Germany, the Catholic Inquisition and the reign of Pol Pot attest, man is easily lead and easily drawn into barbaric mob mentality, lacking anything approaching “humanity”. In Cawdron’s book, as in reality, MAN is the true monster. . .

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