True Review
Current Issue Number 79 Vol. 22 January 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Supervolcano: Eruption:

SUPERVOLCANO ERUPTION:

SUPERVOLCANO: ERUPTION, by Harry Turtledove. Roc (us.penguingroup.com), 2011, 420 pp., $25.95. ISBN 978-0-451-46420-0

Alternate history specialist Harry Turtledove turns his attention to near-future speculation-disaster scenarios with his new novel, SUPERVOLCANO. The novel was fun, fast and furious, but leaving many, many questions unanswered.

Was Turtledove thinking sequel? Probably!

In SUPERVOLCANO, divorcee and police detective Colin Ferguson, trying to escape some personal screw-ups, visits Yellowstone National Park to get away from the pressures in life, to regain his sanity. Unable to keep his career from sinking, almost incapable of coming up with any leads while a serial killer terrorizes his California hometown, Ferguson needs to get away and smell some fresh air. There he meets Kelly Birnbaum, archeologist, site evaluator for strange and large seismic spikes that keep increasing in the park. Tiny earthquakes abound.

It’s been many thousands of years since the latent volcano has erupted, forever changing the landscape of North America. Is it due to blow up?

Time is in short supply, and it is not long afterward that Colin, returning to California, tries to stay in touch with Kelly, who makes it away from the blast zone barely in time and is able to turn out of harm’s way. Not so the people left behind at the park.

But Turtledove gives us very little description, other than some off-the-wall commentary about the devastation caused by the eruption. The story does focus on evacuees from Denver, Colorado, and those trying to find shelter . . . with a little jaunt across the continent to a bunch of band members trying to find a gig in a gigantic, volcanic-caused (presumably) monster of a snowstorm in Maine, and other ordinary folks caught up in the horribly fantastic. But Turtledove seems to deflate a really good story by focusing too much on the mundane lives of these characters, bringing too many of them across as puppets in their almost adolescent behavior, with only small touches of the believable.

My caveat: too much plain folk, and narration of plain folk, going about the horrible catastrophe with an almost “we can get through anything” sappy optimism that disappoints. If Turtledove would remain focused on the best of the brave, showing ways in which humanity counters the disaster, and providing more scrutiny (scientifically, anyway) of what is in store for the poor helpless denizens of North America, or of all the Americas, actually . . . I think the novel would resonate.

I do expect SUPERVOLCANO: SURVIVAL, or a similar title, to be next. Count on it.

Andrew Andrews

 

In This Issue

SUPERVOLCANO ERUPTION FLASHBACK Click on book cover for review. The Astounding, The Amazing, By Malmont FUTURE MEDIA

Urban Fantasy Blood and Other Cravings The Haunting of 20th Century America Ghosts by Gaslight A Pleasure to Burn

The Gift A Dublin Student Doctor   The Price of Civilization The Deception at Lyme

Next Time In True Review
Realms of Fantasy - Aug. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, August 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

There’s a great essay in here about “Women in Fantasy: The Images, the Artists” with illustrations of some of the best. The essay looks into the “urban fantasy babe” and her predecessor, the “woman warrior.” A sexist image? Some of the best illustrators are included, with Virginia Lee and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

Andrew M. Andrews
Realms of Fantasy - Oct. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, October 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

Another great illustrator interview with (and profusely illustrated by) Ruth Sanderson, conducted by Karen Haber. Check this out!

Andrew M. Andrews
Deed To Death - cover

SAINTS ASTRAY:

SAINTS ASTRAY, by Jacqueline Carey. Grand Central Publishing (www.HachetteBookGroup.com), 2011, 356 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-0-446-57142-5

Loup and girlfriend Pilar escape from military custody to be high-priced bodyguards for a British rock band. But they can’t leave their past behind – including their chance to stay in Outpost 12, a Texas border town, and bring out those they have abandoned.

Andrew M. Andrews
No Rest for The Dead - cover

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME:

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME, ed. by Michael Sims. Penguin (us.penguingroup.com), 2011, 340 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-0-14-310621-0

Michael Sims, editor of the PENGUIN BOOK OF GASLIGHT CRIME, brings together a wealth of authors to showcase the work of some great crime-fighters that could compete with Holmes and other classic sleuths.

Andrew M. Andrews
Promises To Keep - cover

MIRROR MAZE:

MIRROR MAZE, by Michaele Jordan. Pyr/Prometheus (www.pyrsf.com), 2011, 368 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-1-61614-529-3

Jacob Aldridge is the victim of a curse, beginning with the death of his fiancée, encountering her doppelganger, all the while a demon stalks him, and draws others close to him into the dangers that await.

Andrew M. Andrews
Eyes to See

EYES TO SEE:

EYES TO SEE, by Joseph Nassise. Tor (www.tor-forge.com), 2011, 319 pp., $22.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2718-5

The story of a classics professor who, desperate to find out why his young daughter disappears, performs an arcane ritual that robs him of his eyesight in order to “see that which is unseen.” His new powers allow him to do some great things for people but also send him up against a terrible force that could cost him his own life, as well as that of others.

Andrew M. Andrews
Thomas World

THOMAS WORLD:

THOMAS WORLD, by Richard Cox. Night Shade Books (www.nightshadebooks.com), 2011, 396 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-308-3

Almost Philip K. Dick-like, the protagonist in this book, Thomas, sees his life spinning out of control. He believes that his life has been scripted, perhaps by his own doppelganger-like soul, watching him . . . why?

Andrew M. Andrews

Next Time In True Review

THE MAGNIFICIENT MEDILLS, by Megan McKinney. HarperCollins (www.harpercollins.com), 2011, 456 pp., $27.99. ISBN 978-0-06-178223-7

NEWSPAPER TITAN: THE INFAMOUS LIFE AND MONUMENTAL TIMES OF CISSY PATTERSON, by Amanda Smith. Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf (www.aaknopf.com),
2011, 716 pp., $37.50.

KAFKAESQUE, Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, ed. by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. Tachyon (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2011, 284 pp., $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-61696-049-0