Breaking News Today

Book Review: Marinus Project Trilogy, Part One – The Golden Towers

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Tassie authors Peter Gutwein and Guy Barnett are on a roll with their latest novel, The Marinus Project – The Golden Towers, the first in a dystopian science-fiction trilogy. Set in the near future, Gutwein and Barnett have created a well-written narrative that cracks along, with plot twists, sinister turns and deep, dark secrets. A giant […]

Tassie authors Peter Gutwein and Guy Barnett are on a roll with their latest novel, The Marinus Project – The Golden Towers, the first in a dystopian science-fiction trilogy. Set in the near future, Gutwein and Barnett have created a well-written narrative that cracks along, with plot twists, sinister turns and deep, dark secrets.

A giant corporation, TasNetworks, is given carte blanche by the government of the day to plan a New Tasmania, one in which jobs and growth will flow from the construction of hundreds of Golden Towers all across the Northern Reaches, an awful place where society’s castaways survive on instant coffee, takeaway food and methamphetamine. These poor people are plagued by roaring winds, and the Golden Towers are designed to take that wind, after it’s been captured by foreign companies to make electricity, and sell the power to the Mainland, a fabled land of good coffee, writers’ festivals, and charity shops filled with barely-worn designer clothes.

The simple people of the Northern Reaches are overjoyed, applauding each new PR release with the clapping of twitching, crudely-bandaged limbs, and many happy, drunken fights in the streets.

But, underneath the velvet seductive prose of TasNetworks’ cleverest PR minions lies a horrific truth; nothing is as it seems. While the people will pay for the Golden Towers (and the mysterious missing Marinus Link), and see their lands destroyed by hundreds of kilometres of wide easements under the towers, with wildlife and forests killed and tourist businesses driven out, the promised jobs are almost all to be given to the waiting legions of FIFO workers, now massed on the Mainland shores. Worse, the people can find no evidence that there will be any local jobs after the towers are built, or even that they might have cheaper electricity in their hovels by which to grow their cannabis.

READ:  Western Australia looks at loosening COVID-19 restrictions

The plot takes a darker turn, as powerless communities are invaded by TasNetworks’ ever-smiling teams of Community Engagement Officers, who force the people into Consultation Workshops, and make them ‘share their concerns’. In a possible and chilling nod to the Chinese suppression of Uyghurs, the people are told the Golden Towers will bring them riches, and cheap power, and that any concerns are ‘wrong thinking’, ‘emotional’ and NIMBY-ism. There is one particularly dark scene in a workshop when a frail old man is accused of the worst crime possible in New Tasmania, being ‘a bloody greenie’, and is then horribly gas-lit by a swarm of recent Dip Comm graduates eager to prove themselves to the Facilitator.

In the wider community, dissenters are slammed in the state-corporate controlled media, and TasNetworks’ PR teams feverishly recycle their promises and claims, while avoiding the real reasons for the Golden Towers.

Meanwhile, in secret meetings held in darkened, unpowered Fire Sheds across the Northern Reaches, an underground resistance forms, and learns TasNetworks’ real reason to cover the land in Golden Towers is to ‘gold plate’ their grid, and resuscitate their horrific debt-to-asset ratio. When a resistance fighter is smuggled back from the Mainland, the underground also learn the government never really wanted to create new jobs and growth in Tasmania because the TasNetworks’ PR team are selling the same promises across the Strait – all the power, and all the profits, paid for by the Tasmanian people, will go offshore, where the real jobs and growth will be. The Northern Reaches are destined to be left covered in rusting towers and football-field wide easements, growing foxgloves and crawling with feral cats, who now glow with excess electricity denied to the people.

READ:  Hackers pretend to be Harvey Norman in email phishing scam

As the cats slaughter the remaining Spotted Tail Quolls, and the Golden Towers kill the last eagles, TasNetworks become an executive shell company, directing the operations of desperate sub-contractors to do any remaining work. Global Labor Hire companies begin to herd refugees from Centrelink Detention Centres into Power Line Maintenance Teams, who are then forced to compete with each other to ‘drive efficiencies’ and lower wages.

New Tasmania is thus brought from the promised utopian heights to the depths of an all-too-real dystopian nightmare – and this is just the first book in the series!

Congratulations to Gutwein and Barnett! This is another cracking read that joins an impressive back catalogue which includes the thrilling adventure, Forest War!, the rom-com Homeless and Lovin’ It!, and the medical drama, Heroes of Ambulance Bay.

I’m already looking forward to the second in the trilogy, The Marinus Project – The Whirling Blades of Death!


B.P. Marshall is a Fantastica Prize-winning debut author.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/04/book-review-marinus-project-trilogy-part-one-the-golden-towers/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=book-review-marinus-project-trilogy-part-one-the-golden-towers

Shares
Share This
Finance Advice 2021