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Supervolcano: Eruption Hardcover – December 6, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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“Turtledove creates a whole intricate biosphere with a somehow breathable atmosphere.”—The New Yorker
“Well written and enjoyable…Fans of post-apocalyptic stories should enjoy this one.”—SF Revu
“Entertaining…Turtledove writes a fabulous near future survival tale.”—Genre Go Round Reviews
“A terrifying future of the United States that seems within the realm of possibility.”—Winnipeg Free Press
About the Author
Harry Turtledove—the New York Times bestselling author of numerous alternate history novels, including The Guns of the South, How Few Remain, and the Worldwar quartet—has a Ph.D. in Byzantine history. Nominated numerous times for the Nebula Award, he has won the Hugo, Sidewise, and John Esthen Cook Awards. He lives with his wife and children in California.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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It was like a seven year old finding out that Santa had murdered the Tooth fairy on his way to an Easter bunny dinner. To put it frankly - this book sucked.
You got to know the characters in turtledove fashion. Good build up, and then.....nothing. There it is - in what should be the end of civilization as we know it; the apocalypse takes back seat in the story to the characters personal lives. Getting married, having kids, deciding what to eat at the restraints in downtown LA. There is no real food shortage, little disruption of life in the largest cities. And no reason to buy this overpriced book.
If you have already purchased this book and cannot return it, hire a blind person to tear out the pages and set them on fire.
If Turtledove should return to alt history I would give the book a fair shot - if he attempts to climb onto the post-apocalypse bandwagon again I will save my money.
My problem with the book was that a pretty big percentage of the people in the story were toxic to be around - selfish, small-minded, bitter and petty people that I'd avoid like the plague in real life. So, reading about them was no joy. I started to hope a few of them wouldn't survive. Colin, Kelly and Bryce were better than the others, but it was hard to care even about them.
The second problem was the science. I have a BS in geophysics (Geophysics involves remote sensing, so earthquakes, volcanoes and oil exploration is its territory, because you can't climb down into 100 mile deep faults or subduction zones). Everything I've learned tells me that volcanoes are extremely predictable, almost to the hour they'll erupt. That's why Mt. St. Helen's could be evacuated, well before it blew. There are indicators on the surface. Then there's the hype over relatively insignificant quakes. Yellow journalism paints even small earthquakes as sensational news. But, a group of geologists out in the wild would never panic over a 7.0 earthquake, much less a 5.0! Earthquakes, despite sensationalism, aren't people killers - they're property destroyers. Sometimes, in destruction of property, people are killed. Falling glass or power lines, liquifacting subdivisions, cardboard construction in third world countries? You betcha - people get killed in these situations. But, being out in a natural setting, away from property damage considerations, earthquakes just aren't very hazardous. A 7.0 earthquake has the following characteristics:
Difficult to stand; furniture broken; damage negligible in building of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken. Noticed by people driving motor cars.
A geologist simply wouldn't panic out in an area where no real property damage would occur. Even in a potentially dangerous earthquake, a geologist would be more likely to be thrilled and excited than to panic. You'd never work again. Your fellow geologists would laugh you out of the profession. You might as well wear pink hiking boots, you'd last longer.
So, I was a little disappointed with the science and a little revolted by the characters. But, I still rather read this book than about 90% of the books out there. In the end, I'm happy I spent the hours, despite the books shortcomings.
This book is not alternate history. It's more like, "Oh, crap, I really hope this doesn't ever happen, or at least not until I'm long dead," future. It shows what might happen when/if the supervolcano biding time under Yellowstone explodes. The short version is: nothing good. Hundreds of thousands dead, possibly a million or more, entire states under ash, the east coast cut off from the west, cats and dogs living together...you get the idea.
The focus for our story is a family called the Fergusons and those attached to them. Colin Ferguson is an LA cop who's recently divorced wife has started taking up with an aerobics instructor. His youngest son is (sort of), working his way through college, while his oldest is touring with a minor league band. His daughter is dating an older gentleman and winds up following him to Denver, while her ex-boyfriend (and friend to Colin), is trying to finish his doctorate in classical Greek stuff. Add into this Colin's new girlfriend, a geologist who he meets while visiting Yellowstone, and you have an interesting and expansive set of characters.
The volcano of the title builds up slowly, and doesn't actually go off until the middle off the book (somehow despite this being a Turtledove book, the eruption doesn't trigger World War II), but when it does, oh, boy, what a mess. It really does end up being just about every kind of disaster movie you can picture, and something that's made all the worse by the fact that it's a: plausible, and b: not something we can really prepare for.
The Fergusons are an interesting group of people, and I found all their stories (except Marshall's), be fairly compelling and entertaining. I really enjoyed this book. I think it's a good start to a planned trilogy, and I look forward to seeing what the next pair of books are like.