The Destiny Makers Hardcover – Feb 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This slick, uninvolving novel from the author of Brain Child is set in Australia in 2069, when the world is strained almost to breaking by overpopulation, food shortages and economic collapse. Detective Harry Ostov of the Victoria Police force is selected for two special undercover assignments: guarding the Premier's father, who has been illegally rejuvenated, and tracking down the Premier's daughter, who, having inconveniently become pregnant by a lower-class boy, is on the run. Unfortunately, these characters are little more than stereotypes inhabiting an unoriginal, poorly constructed setting. Though smooth and stylish, the novel is riddled with inconsistencies, and therefore thoroughly unconvincing.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ostrov investigates a case of an old man who is mysteriously becoming younger...the complication is that the old man is a former State Premier, with political connections much too hot for a mere detective.
Turner's portrayal of a near-future Australia is compelling: he was writing about global warming and climate change before many scientists even recognised there was a problem. But Turner's particular strength is in characterisation - each of his characters is a well-formed individual - and subtly enough drawn that it's impossible to find any character who is entirely "good" or "bad".
Foreign readers might not know that George Turner won the Miles Franklin Award (the top Australian novel award) for his *literary* fiction, before he 'went over to the dark side' and started writing science fiction. Thank goodness he never looked back.
The setting of Destiny Makers is one to make you stop and think. There are many passages which describe the bleak future of an over-populated earth and the decisions which must be made in order for earth to survive and humanity to thrive again, once free of the restrain from the shackles of unbidden growth. The two major solutions to population decline are found on page 67; "...how to restrain birthing. Or perhaps, how to expedite dying." With only two solutions, the protagonists must decide... but keep in mind, it is also humanity which must decide the curtailing of population.
"We are sufficiently civilized to know what we should do; our problem is what we are." (Page 250) Harry is a police detective born of lowly Wardie status. His honesty and integrity highlight him for a specific job of guarding a mysterious man in a mysterious hospital. It's known soon enough that the man is the once-senile father of the Premier who has undergone the illegal operation of age-reversal, which has also unclouded his mind. This breach in population law by the Premier himself is large enough for a major issue, so security is tight.
"Humanity is a disease that slaughters everything in its ambit; now it must slaughter its own flesh in order to preserve a viable core." (Page 259) The Premier is clearly disturbed by his inability to make the decision of all decisions. International pressure is on shoulders on the Premier, which is why he brought back his father from the brink of death. However, any counsel sought by the Premier belittles the voice of the majority of Wardies. With a choice needing to be made, will the Premier crack under pressure?
"Who's killing the world? People. Can't stop eating, can't stop f***ing, can't stop living, can't stop anything. Everyone says it's the other man's fault so kill him but leave me alone to do as I like. You got to get people out of the world to let it live." (Page 275) Compound the hi-so Premier's break down in leadership with Harry's lo-so perseverance and the result is a gathering of peripheral characters which stabilize the plot: a psychologist, a trained security man and right-hand of Harry, political opposition, a blackmailing doctor, and the pregnant teenaged daughter of the Premier. It's wide enough cast to allow for all sorts of contingent outcomes and will have you guessing exactly WHAT decision must be made.
"...the race bred like maggots across the carcass of earth." (Page 310) As bleak and pessimistic as it may sound, the realist in me sees The Destiny Makers as a stepping stone in what the real world must eventually do in order to curb its own population. It's sadly inevitable that we can't naturally cull ourselves like rabbits facing starvation... a decision must be made. This is exactly what Gerooge Turner puts forth in The Destiny Makers. He may have been aiming for the mind of reader when he penned this novel, but be aware that it'll leave you feeling as if you've been punched in the gut.
In a top secret medical facility, an old man has been cured in just such a situation. In a complicated secretive conspiracy involving the Premier and other powerful men, a detective has been assigned to guard this old man.
Things get worse from there.