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Memphis 7.9 (revised): Book 1 of The 7.9 Scenario Paperback – June 7, 2005
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About the Author
Author and Lecturer Sam Penny has published two novels in his The 7.9 Scenario series: Memphis 7.9 (Revised) and Broken River, and is finishing his next book: The Phoenix of Memphis. These techno-thrillers offer a blunt perspective of what will transpire when once again a 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes the center of the United States, as seen from the point of view of characters who are there when it happens. The stories are based upon scientific analyses from the USGS and FEMA of what happens when a giant earthquake again occurs on the New Madrid Fault beneath the Mississippi River, within a few miles of a major metropolitan area. Penny retired in 1998 from a career as an engineering physicist, computer scientist, entrepreneur, and corporate executive. “My keen interest in geology evolved while designing computing systems for the oil drilling industry. During that time, I co-authored several trade and scientific articles with geologists on directional drilling and rock mechanics.” In 1989 he felt the shaking from the magnitude 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake. “When I saw the fallen Cypress Freeway in Oakland, California, a mile from the original offices of the company I helped found in 1970, my interest in geology refocused on seismology and the effects of giant earthquakes. "Since I retired, writing has become my avocation as my wife and I travel full-time in our RV, following the best weather from place to place throughout the North American Continent, and researching the effects of natural disasters on our land."
Top customer reviews
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It is the story of an earthquake on the New Madrid fault. By now most people realize that the central part of the US along the Mississippi River was the site of a huge series of earthquakes back in 1811 and 1812 and that there is the real danger of a similar event happening again at some point. I had previously read the book "The Rift" which is a huge novel about just such an event, but which also includes a lot of other story lines, some of which are hard to believe. This book also has a lot of characters and story lines, but they all exist to help tell the story of the earthquake and do not become terribly hard to imagine being true. Most of the characters are regular people who do regular things and act like regular people once the quake strikes. The story starts out about a week before the quake and the first half of the book introduces a number of characters who have something to do with the quake in one way or another. One of the main characters is a student of seismology who is working on a computer model to try to predict quakes.
The earthquake strikes about halfway through the book and is accompanied by quite a bit of explanation of quakes and how they develop. The descriptions of the damage the quake causes are good without being overboard. The story doesn't go deeply into social issues like looting, lack of food or disaster relief, which is nice. While the action of the story centers on Memphis and the surrounding areas, there is some coverage of how the quake affects the whole eastern part of the country and how others find out about it. The story ends a couple of hours after the quake hits and leaves room for planned sequels that will cover other aspects of the disaster.
The characters in the book are well-developed, interesting and believable. The descriptions are just good enough to give an idea of what happens without getting so detailed as to bore the reader. The only small complaint I have is that a couple of characters seem to lecture a little bit too much about earthquakes. It's almost as if the author wants to teach the readers by having characters explain things and in some cases, it comes off as being slightly difficult to believe. Other than that, this is an extremely entertaining and interesting book that not only provides an enjoyable read, but also a great way to highlight the dangers of a Midwestern earthquake. If such an event were to happen, it would be catastrophic and disruptive. This is one self-published book that is worth the low asking price.
Jenny's mother, Judy, is the most ignorant character of all. This is an actual quote, "Tom, why do they make those probability calculations about the earthquakes? Isn't there some way scientists can just keep them from happening?" Really??? I would describe Judy further, but suffice it to say she is dense and completely unbelievable. Oh, the author let us know that she was impressed with her own looks and "swiveled her hips" in the mirror as she looked at herself.
I quit reading when local bad guy/owner of everything pressures the waitress into a date. She doesn't want to go but is afraid to say no.....even after she tells him she dating someone else. Here's an idea...just stick with no. She is afraid she will lose her job....AS A WAITRESS. I'm sure there is no other restaurant anywhere to be found.
I quit. I wanted it be good. It is not. If you like disaster books, look elsewhere. The characters' dialogues are so bad it's almost comical. It reminds me of a bad episode of Star Trek when the holodeck doesn't really "get" human behavior. I take that back. Star Trek was never this far off base. These characters seem like they were created by 13 year old boys who have seen too many bad B movies.