Reek by Alastair Chisholm review — big tech and toxic clouds

Dystopia probably shouldn’t be this refreshing. There’s not an abundance of great sci-fi for nine-year-olds, so this cracking story is as invigorating as the fresh air that is in such short supply in its post-apocalyptic version of a soupy, sulphurous Edinburgh.

A toxic cloud of “horrible yellow-brown smoke” has poisoned the planet and made a hero of Axel Brodie, the tech billionaire whose company, Zephyr, worked out how to purify the air and secure a future for humanity. The only downside? Those who have survived must live in air-locked bubbles dependent on the air he sells back to them.

There’s a trend in middle-grade fiction for overblown world-building, but Alastair Chisholm, a sci-fi stalwart, gets straight to the good stuff, setting up this nightmarish —

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