Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sci-Fi: Eruption by Harry Turtledove

Series: Supervolcano #1
Publisher: Roc
Date: December 6, 2011
Format: hardback
Acquired: from publisher
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 420
Reading time: one week

From GoodReads: A supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas and clouds of ash drifting across the country. The fallout destroys crops and livestock, clogs machinery, and makes cities uninhabitable. Those who survive find themselves caught in an apocalyptic catastrophe in which humanity has no choice but to rise from the ashes and recreate the world...

My review: The above blurb makes this first book of a new series sound incredibly thrilling, but I spent the entire novel wondering when things were going to get exciting. The plot seemed more concerned with the central character, Colin, and his relationships with his new girlfriend, Kelly the geologist, his ex-wife, and his three adult kids. Also thrown in is Colin's daughter's ex-boyfriend, a Classics doctoral candidate. Sorry, but domestic drama cannot hold my interest for 400+ pages of what was touted as a sci-fi thriller.

The concept of the novel is fascinating. I love science fiction that poses various scenarios of how current events and concerns, both societal and environmental, could turn out. A novel dealing with the potential catastrophic results of the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting is right up my alley. Too bad the book contained far more irrelevant content than commentary on the supervolcano's implications. It seemed like the eruption took the back burner to most of what else was going on in people's lives, even when the Midwest was coated in carcinogenic ash. Harry Turtledove does a good job distributing his characters throughout the country where readers can see a full view of the effects of the eruption - in now not-so-sunny California, in a Kansas refugee camp, in blizzard-y Maine, on a plane forced into a split-second emergency landing. I think part of the domestic fluff was just to show that, despite the catastrophe, people were adapting and trying to go about their daily lives, but really, more post-apocalyptic content would have been wonderful. Maybe it will appear in the rest of the series, but I don't think I'll wait around to see.

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