Imprint: Head of Zeus
RRP: AU $26.99 NZ $29.99
This is a terrific read which combines a lot of very topical issues into a passionate call to arms in a vital environmental crisis.
Spanning three generations the story of the Kristensen family and their close connection with the great whales, the narrative starts in the present with Abi. Bordering on computer genius, feisty eco-activist Abi has modified the AI device she’s been given to use as part of her winning the Newtek Challenge. She has quite legitimately used it to collect data on bees and other nature aspects as was part of her winning brief but she has also used her IT creativity to alter the AI, dubbed Moonlight by Abi’s little sister, to respond to her commands above anyone else’s and to ignore any communication from Newtek – definitely not legitimate in the eyes of the mega-corporation.
Abi’s eco-terrorism has resulted in the family’s holiday (a bid to curb her passionate recklessness) on her grandmother’s remote Norwegian island where she discovers a whaling connection to the past. Her grandfather’s notes and recordings of the great whales, their migrations and family groups from a past in which he rejected whaling in favour of preserving these animals.
The narrative concludes in the future with Abi’s daughter, Tori, taking up the mantle of protecting, preserving and tracking the remaining great whales with the aid of a now almost fully conscious and independent thinking Moonlight.
This is lyrical and poignant with beautiful writing which compels the reader to fully absorb the implications of current human wilful disregard of warning signs. At the same time, it sends a very clear message about hope and the urgent need for us all to take on board the duty of care we have towards to our planet and all its inhabitants. It is powerful and reflects the author’s own commitment to dolphin and whale conversation as well as his involvement with Authors4Oceans.
You will have many takers for this one and it would work wonderfully with a unit of work focused on these important topics, as well as some interesting discussion (especially in light of recent developments) on ethical use of AI. I could also easily see students leading the way in forming some kind of active alliance to support the efforts in this direction. Highly recommended for astute readers from around 13 years upwards.