Temblor / Tremor

Novel , 1990

Seix Barral

Pages: 288

Temblor (tremor or trembling), Spanish journalist-author Rosa Montero's fifth novel, manifests a continued interest in the themes present in her previous works: feminist issues and a concern for social justice in general, the relationship between the individual and society, death, and the difficulty humans have in communicating with each other. 

Near the end of Temblor, the protagonist Agua Fria (Cold Water) discovers the history of her world, a history that might well be the future of ours: a nuclear conflagration incinerates the surface of her planet, melting all life and manmade objects into crystals. The only survivors of the catastrophe are the inhabitants of orbital space stations who, when the planet becomes once again habitable, return to found a utopic, egalitarian, millenary society. This civilization eventually degenerates into the totalitarian, theocratic, maternalistic dystopia into which Agua Fria is born. This empire is experiencing not only a political decay, but an existential one as well: it has been many years since any children were born there, and a fog of nothingness is devouring vast areas of land. Adults are trained in the modo de mirar preservativo or preservative gaze, which they use to prevent the space or object observed from disappearing into the fog, but it is a battle they are losing. Agua Fria's heroic quest is to bring down the empire and save her world from nonexistence, two inextricably interdependent goals.