Yellowcake Springs, Volume 1

Front Cover
Interactive Publications, 2011 - Fiction - 241 pages
1 Review
A dystopian novel set in Western Australia, following a nuclear disaster, where overpopulation and starvation have created a lawless world.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Yellowcake Springs by Guy Salvidge (Glass House Books, 2011 ISBN 9781921869174)
When I got my copy of Yellowcake Springs by Guy Salvidge in the mail I set aside David Beckham’s autobiography – an
interesting book in itself – and beheld this artifact from Australia with its fiery red cover dominated by a circular nuclear warning sign in the very center. Keep out! Stay away! It seemed to scream at me, You really don’t want to read this book! I opened it eagerly, and spotted the photograph of Guy Salvidge in the front papers – a scary sight and almost enough to make me drop the book in horror! But… I had to read this book; I’d been looking forward to it for a long time. Guy Salvidge is one of Australia’s new crew of writers active internationally; he’s won awards! Several of them, and this novel Yellowcake Springs, his second, is itself a winner of the 2011 IP Picks Best Fiction Award and in 2012 is on the short list for the Norma K. Hemming Award for speculative fiction in Australia. I can see why.
Set in Western Australia somewhere near Perth and in Perth itself Yellowcake Springs assembles a cast of main characters that we get to know well as we read into the novel. There’s Sylvia Baron (and, yes, she does resemble Sylvia Bohlen from Philip K. Dick’s MARTIAN TIME-SLIP) who is an advertising artist for a Chinese nuclear power community in the Australian desert: Yellowcake Springs. It’s her job to entice people there and make them feel safe and secure living next to a huge nuclear power complex. To do this she uses a technology called CDS – Controlled Dreaming State – by which dreams are manipulated and shared by online communities of people anxious to have some virtual fun away from their lives in what is the depressing and desolate land of near-future Western Australia.
Sylvia’s husband, David, is a sketchy character and possibly up to no good. He comes and goes in the novel but never seems able to truly connect with his wife, who is having a CDS affair with a man she doesn’t know or even know where he lives. This Rion, short for Orion, is a handsome down-and-outer who actually lives in a deserted town some distance from Yellowcake Springs. Using a CDS Console stolen in a raid on the local police station in which the area militia ousted the cops from the town of East Hills, Rion in his beyond shabby rotting apartment plans with the aid of this CDS Console to escape from his dead town and move up in the world. His CDS affair with Sylvia is, he thinks, his ticket out. But first he must escape from the militia yahoos who control his town and then make his way across the desert to Yellowcake Springs.
But, despite Sylvia and the Chinese nuclear corporation’s efforts to make Yellowcake Springs a flagship community, all is not well in this circular man-made town with its three zones: red for where the nuclear reactors are, yellow for where the workers work, and green for where they live, all surrounded by a barbed-wire fence and monitored by surveillance cameras.
The Chinese are the main villains in this plot and they have devised a variation of the Controlled Dreaming State that operates in the daytime, as it were, called Controlled Waking State. Chinese workers are sent to Yellowcake Springs to work on the reactors and a special crew is hooked up to the Controlled Waking State apparatus and must learn how to live and work in the CWS condition. This is not an easy task as once the Chinese experimenters are in CWS they begin to lose touch with reality and are never sure whether they are in CWS or are really awake.
In a future world of overpopulation, no water, the land turning to desert and lawlessness encroaching everywhere there are many unhappy people looking for someone to blame for their sorry lot. An oasis such as Yellowcake Springs with its huge nuclear cooling towers attracts the destructive attentions of these environmentalists or ‘mentals’ as they are known and the town becomes a target.
But life goes on in fits and starts for those living in the novel. here’s not


27 The Unmasking
28 Friday?
29 The Safehouse
30 Citizen Rion
31 Saturday?
32 Prompt Critical
33 Up in Smoke
34 Garbage

9 The Chimera Lounge
10 Ambush
11 The Doors of Perception
12 The Receptacle
13 Way Out
14 Controlling Dreaming State
15 David
16 Life After People
17 Yellow Springs
18 Misanthropos
19 Tim and Eleanor
20 Promotion
21 Rion
22 A New Man
23 Level Two
24 In a Glass Cube
25 Interloper
26 Army Dreamers
35 The Green Zone
36 Fallout
37 Prognosis
38 Sunset
39 Roll Call
40 The Burns Unit
41 Escapade
42 Lost and Found
43 Youth in Asia
44 Ridge Point
45 Insufficient Funds
46 Martyr
47 The Barons
48 Jiang Wei
49 Lui Ping
50 Sylvia

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information