Supervolcano: Eruption (Supervolcano Trilogy)
by Harry Turtledove
Cover Artist: Steve Stone
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451464200
Date: 06 December 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Yellow Stone National Park is the home to some of the United States' most beautiful parkland and numerous hot springs. It is also the site of one of the largest volcanos. The volcano has major eruptions very rarely. But when it blows, it's a doozy.
Colin Ferguson is a police officer in Southern California. He is recovering from his wife leaving him. On a getaway to Yellowstone, he meets Kelly Birnbaum, a geologist studying the volcanic activity under the park. They bond as the first signs of major activity appear with a giant quake. In the background of disaster and budding romance is the search for a serial killer.
Colinís oldest son, Rob, is in a band that is touring the U.S. when the volcano erupts. The band, Squirt Frog and the Evolving Tadpoles, is in Maine. If you think Maine is bad normally, wait until the volcanic ash adds to it.
Colin's daughter, Vanessa, is not known for her personality or caring. She follows her boyfriend out of SoCal and into Denver. After the eruption, she escapes one hell to find another.
Colin's youngest, Marshall, is working on a degree at UC Santa Barbra. He doesn't want to graduate, but may not have a choice much longer. The post eruption world is shaping up to be one where the old rules no longer apply. Marshall is preparing himself, even if he doesn't realize it.
In addition to the main Ferguson family, there are perspectives from Kelly Birnbaum, Louise Ferguson Colin's ex, and Bryce Miller Vanessa's ex.
The SuperVolcano series is near future speculative fiction. The action takes place starting the Memorial Day after the day the reader starts the novel. Readers will get a glimpse of a nation and world on the brink of collapse. The action that occurs is only the beginning. The true ramifications will come to fruition as the series progresses. A world overly dependent upon the output of a small part of the world, a part buried under volcanic ash.
Although this isn't an Alternate History for which Turtledove's best known, never fear, it is well written and enjoyable. Readers should not expect a lot of conclusion. The eruption is the starting point. The world is on the brink, but the real effects are yet to come. This series will follow the descent into apocalypse. Fans of post-apocalyptic story fans should enjoy this one as well.
There have been a ton of post-apocalyptic stories, but few that follow this path. British author Alex Scarrow traced the fall in After Light when oil stopped flowing. Here readers will see the end when food stops flowing. The fight for resources will tear the veneer off modern civilization.
From: John Miller:
As a geologist, I get nervous when I pick up a novel that has geology in it. Turtledove did quite well in terms of geologic accuracy. However, some of his characters stated climatic "things" that might have been accurate, but it was hard to see some of the characters providing such knowledge in their comments.