Climate change is real, and its impact is visible now, as global warming increases and instances of drought, bushfires and heatwaves increase. The Rain Never Came by Lachlan Walter is a story set in post-apocalyptic Australia, where a long drought has brought destruction, lawlessness, and a wild area the Australian Government struggles to control. There is ‘The Brisbane Line’ where the civilised yet live, and it keeps the majority of the population away from the wasteland that the protagonists of the book, Bill and Tobe, still call home. Bill narrates their story while Tobe remains a mysterious character that remains secretive and comes and goes without preamble. Both characters share adventures and struggles because those living in the wasteland need to fight to live and survive daily due to the shortage of water and food.
The story picks pace after strange lights appear in the distance and Tobe, the more adventurous of the two, persuades Bill to check them. These strange lights cause many struggles for the protagonists as their journey towards them is filled with gruesome findings and the realisation that their civilisation is extremely fragile and can end anytime.
During their journey, Bill and Tobe’s friendship is tested; they undergo traumatic experiences and understand how their current situation is a product of the devastating past. The story of the people in the book appears extremely real because the author got the idea to write the book after he moved to his hometown at the end of Australia’s Millennium Drought. The author’s hometown in Newstead is the setting in which The Rain Never Came is set.
The author said that even during the tail end of the drought, people who depended on water for their livelihood walked off their farms, water theft was a serious issue, and the availability of the latest technologies in the country meant nothing. Therefore, through the book, the readers can understand that some human life events are too serious to ignore as they reflect how our lives can change drastically when nature changes.
Therefore, while reading the events in the books take place, you are forced to contemplate the impact global warming is having on the environment and how it will change the course of our future. The themes in this science-fiction book hit home because you can visualise the devastating reality of the characters, as food and water shortage are real-life issues many countries are struggling with today. Therefore, the picture of a lawless and drought-stricken world where Government exerts authority, and the remaining living people strive for freedom is jarring.
The Rain Never Came is among the best science-fiction books in Australia, and you can enjoy reading it immensely if you liked The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, Sea Of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel and Moonrise by Ben Bova. Read it if you want to read a realistic book that agitates your deep fears. The book is excellent because, for most people, global warming and other environmental issues are skin deep, but they are real threats that can impact our futures extremely.