By Patrick Wray (Avery Hill Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1-910395-53-0 (PB)
We have a proud tradition in this country of using fiction and fantasy – especially those presented in the aspects of kidsâ€™ books – to hold up a light to political and social dystopias. It works for Gulliverâ€™s Travels and Animal Farm and dozens of comics and graphic novels. This is one more and itâ€™s supremely, chillingly good at what it doesâ€¦
Patrick Wray is an artist, writer and musician who studied at the Dartington College of Art and took a long time living before crafting this telling and subtle exploration of property laws and the role of the people in how theyâ€™re governedâ€¦
Mimicking the narrative tone of childrenâ€™s reading primers (and many kidsâ€™ comics) The Flood That Did Come is set in the hilltop village of Pennyworth in the year 2036. Itâ€™s all the home little Jenny and her brother Tom know, but theyâ€™re happy innocent days end when it starts to rain heavilyâ€¦ and never stops. Soon, all of Kingsby County and the entire country are under water, with only a few high-lying hamlets remaining above water.
The kids and their friends make the best of the new normal and enjoy the changes to the wildlife around them, leaving the adults to worry about the details such as being resupplied by airdropsâ€¦
One day, however, the holiday ends when a sailing boat arrives from nearby industrialised town Brooks Falls. The children aboard have come to warn the Pennyworth residents that the adults of their drowned conurbation are coming, armed with the latest technologies and the law. It transpires that long ago back in 1851, Pennyworth was merely an outlying district of the metropolis and still remains part of the greater whole. Now that itâ€™s the only part above water, the Mayor and council of Brook Falls intend to move their operation here and carry on their business as usualâ€¦
Sadly, as always when politicians and big business want something, the rights and feelings of ordinary people donâ€™t count for muchâ€¦
Simple, breezy and chilling to the core, this tale of resistance and capitulation is made all the more effective by Wrayâ€™s cunning choice of art style and faux childrenâ€™s book feel. The result is reminiscent of school workshops and protest marches supplied with stencil screens; of street-rebel print slogans and tagging-inspired found imagery. The industrial-flavoured visuals magnificently disguise the potency of the political allegory and make this a tale no tuned-in, socially aware grown up will want to miss.
Â© 2020 Patrick Wray. All rights reserved.
The Flood That Did Come is scheduled for release on September 10th 2020 and available for pre-order now.