I dislike escapist fiction that doesn’t let you escape because it’s built on shaky ground and you become entirely too aware of what's simply wrong. Wrong as in untrue. I’m referring right now to Clive Cussler’s book “Arctic Drift.” The prologue was exciting and seaworthy, as the members of an expedition looking for a Northwest Passage get trapped in the ice of the arctic region. Ghost ships, dead men, their teeth rotting with scurvy—the time period is the mid 19th century.
But then we’re back to the present day—or at least we think so. It’s not the present day where the U.S. and the rest of the world is drowning in a sea of shale oil and natural gas. It’s not that because that’s the real world. Instead you have to escape to a world where, as Cussler’s fiction says, Iran has cut off the sale of oil to the rest of the world. In the real world, of course, Iran is desperate to sell oil and being creamed by low oil prices stemming from record U.S. production that has even the Saudis screaming.
“Arctic Drift” then goes on to detail how the U.S. president is worried about an economic crisis caused by this scarcity of petroleum. This occurs at the same time Cussler launches into the literary equivalent of a hissy fit over “global warming,” which, as you may know, is a contagious disease he may have picked up from standing near Al Gore.