‘Doggerland’

Doggerland is a literary science fiction novel by Ben Smith. It takes place in a future where the oceans have risen and the two main characters (one older, one younger), do their best to maintain an offshore wind farm.

The older one keeps his head down and consumes home-brewed alcohol to numb the knowledge of his insignificance to the soulless corporation that owns the wind farm — and what seems like a desperate and pitiless world on what remains of the land. There’s a strong sense of things slowly falling apart, and a lack of resources.

The younger one is still curious about the world, and what lies beyond the wind farm. The ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of life, which the older one is eager to forget.

The novel is really focused on tone. There’s not much to go on in terms of the characters, an involved plot, or world building outside of the wind farm. This deliberate limitation reduces the scope in some ways, but it also simplifies the story, freeing it up to take on a parable-like quality.

I saw Doggerland as being a retelling of Waiting for Godot rather than The Road. There’s a palpable sense of time going slowly, the sky and the sea, of waiting and momentarily glimpsing the existence of some other reality beyond the present moment, a place blurred between actuality and myth, lives lived and archaeology.


Verdict: Interesting.