Title: The Twenty-One Balloons
Author: William Pène du Bois
I ended this book with a very large question mark over my head. It made very little sense, and was not even a good enough ‘rollicking adventure’ to make its nonsensical nature okay. An American ex-pat community on Krakatoa is based on a socialist restaurant system whose premier technology is hydrogen balloons and steam engines? This community is saved from the eruption via balloon? You see my problem. If you like imagined cultural systems with strange provenances, read The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder – his is pretty strange, but a lot more fun and a lot better thought out.