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In a not-too-distant future perpetually on the brink of collapse, catastrophe is our most popular entertainment.
The energy crisis has come and gone. EcoLaw is enforced by insidious cartoon panda bears and their armies of viral-marketing children. The world watches as Pitcairn Island sinks into the Pacific, wondering if this, finally, will be the end of everything. Amongst it all, Max Galleon, anxious family man and blockbuster auteur, lives a life that he cannot remember.
What happens when you can outsource your memories – and even edit them?
When death can be reversed through digitisation, what is the point of living?
If the lines between real and unreal are fully blurred, can you really trust anyone, even yourself?
Listen to the full FBi Radio Book Club recording here.
THE ISLAND WILL SINK
Max Galleon. The world’s leading maker of entirely immersive cinema: blockbuster disaster films that give people the cathartic experience of global annihilation. A father to two children acutely distressed by the world around. A husband only theoretically. A brother to a comatose mystery man. And falling rapidly in love with a doctor who is not at all what she seems.
Convinced he has amnesia, Max relies entirely on electronic prosthesis to take care of the daily work of remembering. A photo-narcissist, he constantly edits the all-encompassing archive until his personal history begins to resemble one of his films – overblown, generic, and best met with skepticism.
In an amnesiac life remaking the same film infinitely is a voyage of discovery. Max likes to sit in novelty bars with his screenwriter partner Jean. But even without a memory Max knows that nothing is what it used to be, least of all nostalgia.
When sad-eyed neurologist Dr Gabrielle Stern proposes a way to connect Max with his comatose brother, he begins to explore the mysteries of inner space. In Max, Gabrielle sees the possibility of a beautiful future in which painful memories can be easily altered or erased. In Gabrielle, Max sees romantic subplot.
But Gabrielle’s interest in the brothers runs deeper, connecting them all to a suspiciously cinematic barn on the outskirts of civilisation, once home to controversial drug cult ‘The Sleepers’. What happens next is like something from a movie.
THE ISLAND WILL SINK pans from Establishing Shot to Romantic Subplot, through Action Sequence and a Director's Cut Ending, slipping in and out of film convention, raising questions about how we interpret narrative in a screen-saturated culture.