Book Title: Alive!
Part of Series: No
Author: Nicole Stuart
Number of words (approximately): 58 556
Star Rating (of five): Four
Summary: Alan is looking for a place to live, a place where he can use his Management Consultancy talents to build a new business. Almost by accident, he arrives in Montagu, a small town far from the city, and finds a potential client, a wine farmer. He is invited by the man’s sister to inspect the interior of a large steel tank, and so he escapes the effects of a burst of radiation from the sun that destroys most of sentient life on Earth. When he and Karin leave the tank, they realize that they will have to rebuild their lives from the bottom up, finding opportunities where they can.
- As Karin spoke, Alan remembered the TV newscast this morning.
“There was an explosion of the new power plant that they were sending to the Space Station. It was in a parking orbit just outside the Magnetosphere area. Is that not the area that protects the Earth from the cosmic and solar radiations?”
“You’re right, Alan! I knew that they had parked the power plant there. It struck me as foolhardy to put it right there, but I did not know about the explosion! I wanted to watch the news this morning, but Rudy hates news! What did they say about the explosion?”
“Well, thinking back, it wasn’t really an explosion. Apparently, the scientists decided to use the radiation-sensing equipment on the nuclear power plant to measure the radiation from the solar storm. The radiation sensing equipment on the plant was stimulated by the unusually strong solar waves to the point where its safety function was actuated, causing it to dump the fuel elements into space. It was designed to prevent a nuclear catastrophe on the space station by dissipating the nuclear fuel as soon as the radiation reached a certain level, so that it would not melt down. The scientists said that the fuel was widely dispersed, so that there would be no concentration of radioactive fallout in any particular area of Earth. Apparently the fuel elements were designed to self-combust if dumped.”
“I can’t believe that those idiots would allow the dispersion of fuel elements, which generate ionising radiation, in the most sensitive area of Earth’s radiation protection! That probably caused a breach in the Magnetosphere and the Van Allen Belts, and that allowed high levels of radiation, including magnetic radiation, through to Earth! What we’ve seen here is the effect of intense microwave activity! Everything that contains water or liquid was effectively cooked!”
“How did we escape, then?” asked Alan. He suspected that he already knew the answer.
“Rudy did us the favour of locking us in a protective shell of steel! I’d imagine that the only people who have survived are those who spent the critical hours totally enclosed in a shell of magnetic-wave-blanketing material, like steel or copper.”
“That would exclude virtually everyone! Even people in the cabs of trucks weren’t protected.”
“I’d guess that anyone who could see out would have been affected. Even the workers in the factory, which was largely enclosed by steel walls and roof were killed. The radiation entered through the brick end-walls, the windows and open steel doors!” The implications of her analysis were sinking into Karin’s mind. “That means that the vast majority of people on Earth have died, or will die in the next few hours as the Earth rotates and exposes them to the radiation!”
“We have to warn them! We can’t just allow this to happen!”
“How can we do that?” Karin’s face showed the hopelessness she felt. “Radio communication will be out, because of the sun storm. Even if any radio equipment is still working, after the electronics have been destroyed by the microwave radiation! The sun storm would have initiated intense electrical surges in power and telephone lines! That will include anything connected to long wires. Smoke signals won’t cross the
Atlantic! And I don’t think that there will be any
carrier pigeons left!” -
Structure: The book complies with the standards formatting requirements for eBooks, as well as having a good use of language and grammar.
Content: The story builds as it progresses, fleshing out the characters and the environment. The full scope of the disaster dawns slowly, and with it comes a determination by the characters to survive, to make the best of what remains, and to build a new life for themselves.
Reviewer’s Comments: Nicole Stuart has the ability to make her characters mean something to the reader. The true test of a book, in my opinion, is whether I care about what happens to the characters, and that, in turn, depends on them being more than cardboard cut-outs. The writer achieves this well. I really cared for these people, and I was pleased with what they achieved. This book deserves a place in your library.