John T. Biggs’ intriguing apocalyptic sci-fi novel CLEMENTINE: A SONG FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is fast-moving, punchy, and filled with strange ideas–a very entertaining read, though the last act diffuses to a soft resolution.
In this novel, Clementine, a teenage girl living in Oklahoma, hears voices–as if her brain were a receiver for radio signals. Only these radio transmissions are from the future, and they predict the end of the world. This attracts the interest of Carl, a government scientist looking for a way to save humanity from extinction. She runs for it, only to be killed one of Carl’s agents–and then wake up a thousand years later. Clementine but not Clementine, and as for Carl, well, now there’s two of him.
The story rolls out as juicy as this setup sounds (no spoilers there, by the way, it’s all on the back cover). Carl and Clementine are strong characters and solid antagonists, and I found their cat and mouse conflict fun. My only criticism is the last act, while strange in its own right, becomes repetitive toward a diffused conclusion.
Overall, I liked this odd sci-fi story. Biggs is fearless in his writing and knows how to create sympathetic characters. I’m curious now to check out his other work.