I decided that I needed a break from reading about Iran and faced with a “to read” shelf dominated by other travel books I turned to this chance purchase from Hereford Paperback Exchange’s closing down sale.
A slim novel, with a few too many essential plot-related coincidences in the early chapters, The Cloud Walker takes the Luddite campaigns of the early 19th century British Industrial Revolution and positions them at the centre of a religious belief system, set in a future time when society has turned its back on machinery and invention not once but twice more – both times driven by man’s use of the power of machinery to destroy.
Whilst not an alternate history in the strictest sense, the pre industrial setting, the power of the church and the conflict between the desire of established power to preserve the status quo and the human desire to invent, improve and explore makes this novel read more like a work of historical fiction than science fiction – such science as there is looks at the mechanics of building a means to fly with the rudimentary materials available in a mediaeval/early modern-equivalent era.
Oddly, having finished it I am reminded of Fattypuffs and Thinifers ….
Amazon.co.uk link: The Cloud Walker – Edmund Cooper