New cli-fi book about future dilemmas

Where We Land

Tim Jones

Where We Land

Poignant and thought-provoking, this timely and topical book is an engrossing read, which can be perused in a single sitting, yet the disturbing (and slightly hopeful) realities and messages of the narrative linger long after you’ve put down the 63-page novella. 

Originally published in 2015 as ‘Landfall’, ‘Where We Land’ is a well-crafted piece of ‘cli-fi’ (new genre climate fiction) that draws the reader into a New Zealand of the near future, where rising sea levels inundating coastal areas and the fleeing of desperate migrants has created a dystopian world of fear, flight, and fight. Against this bleak yet believable backdrop, the story focuses on two main characters, a Bengali boat refugee and a New Zealand volunteer for ‘Shore Patrol’, a home guard against migrants.

Deftly set up, and alternating between two perspectives, the tension-filled plot spirals down towards the inevitable collision of these worlds, revealing fate and fortune, as well as choices and consequences. The reader is brought into the book from the outset, with Jones creating a vortex funnel of woven stories which makes it a riveting read. What will happen to Nasimul in his quest to find sanctuary in this strange land? How will Donna go doing her duty to protect these shores?

Beyond the dramatic tension of the two characters getting closer to an encounter, there are many questions posed by ‘Where We Land’, not just exploration of what the future might hold in a climate-change ravaged world, but the more personal implications and challenging conundrums of what you would do in the same situation. The work addresses these, exposing more uneasy questions and dilemmas, but by focusing on individual predicaments, it makes the global complexities more personal and local. 

The strength of ‘Where We Land’ is its subtle and nuanced approach, which gives the reader space to co-create and ponder this new world full of quandaries and conflict.

The book doesn’t preach or guilt-trip about human-induced climate change, but it adds to the conversation, by looking at the human-level implications and turning the massive problem into something which we can relate to.