Maddigan’s Fantasia, by Margaret Mahy
How the world ends: Some sort of Destruction, possibly nuclear in nature, followed by Chaos that could have (to my reading) been mundane or could have been magical in nature. We’re now in the Remaking, when the ruined world is literally beginning to knot itself back together again.
The story follows Garland Maddigan and the travelling circus–Maddigan’s Fantasia–she’s part of as they journey out from their home city of Solis, seeking a power converter with which to save their home. Two strange boys and their infant circus join them–they claim to be from the future and definitely are under pursuit by enemies who want the Fantasia’s mission to fail.
I love some of the worldbuilding here, as well as the individual episodes in some of the towns the Fantasia, but I’m not sure that for me all those episodes quite held together, or that the overarching threads that tied those episodes to one another quite worked themselves out in a satisfying way in the end. For all that the book wanders across the ruined land for quite a while, it then almost seems to end so quickly.
Though there may be a reason for the episodic-ness–apparently Maddigan’s Fantasia is based on Maddigan’s Quest, a TV series (available in New Zealand and the UK) also written by Mahy.
As a TV series I think this story could seriously rock, especially given then trailer online. Some of the message boards are murmuring that it may be coming to the U.S. eventually, too, so I think I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. (Or, alternately, finally get a multi-region DVD player. :-))