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on 23 February 2012
I like disaster novels. This by an author out of his comfort zone is not too bad. Story focuses on a LA cop and his friends and family scattered across the US who all make it to the end of the book. However the disaster doesn't begin till a third of the way through and the rest of the book covers only the first few months afterwards with plenty of hints that there is much worse to come, thus answering those critics who complained that life seemed to go on much as normal. So it demands a sequel. Whether there will be one will depend on sales and the author who is prolific and may prefer to go back to his comfort zone of alternate history. Will I buy it? Yes but I will probably wait for the cheaper paperback.
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on 23 December 2012
You have to get beyond page 150 before the action starts but it's a pleasant journey.I thought the American reaction to the catastrophe was somewhat muted.
Despite five states being devastated and another half dozen or so being severely "impacted",life appears to carry on mostly as normal.I would have thought massive inflation/scarcity/unemployment would have been rampant. Even affordable civilian air traffic has recommenced. Not a hint of martial law being declared.
I shall now read the sequel to see how things progress.
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on 31 March 2013
Turtledove usually writes alternative fiction. Here he has picked up an interesting and unusual idea for an apocalyptic book. It's from the point of view of an American family that is spread around the USA but most of them are in California. Turtledove likes to pace things and run stories over several books or even several series of books. There is a good build up and things don't really get going till quite a long way in. There are plenty of exciting events and the domestic affairs are good. It's a book with a good quality feel. The sense of the disaster is all very calm though and there isn't anything really from the viewpoint of the hundreds of thousands of dead people, it's all about people who aren't dying, but rather out of the very worst areas (apart from scientific trips). I would like to have seen more about the action and breakdown. In that sense it's a bit clinical. Thinking about it now it's like a story about Pompeii from the point of someone who was away on a business trip where you would expect to read more on the people dying of fumes etc. In the story hardly anyone gets away from a big city but the story is all about a woman who leaves early and gets away, nothing from the point of view of those dead people. Post apocalyptic books are usually very gritty and this one is just a bit gritty and I wasn't sure if this book was going to go into a full apocalypse and there would be a blip and a recovery, especially when the planes started flying again but thing's are going slowly downhill and it's being paced into the next book or books. It's pleasant to read and interesting, I recommend it to the patient post apocalyptic fan but you won't see so many bodies here (apart from those of the old lady victims of the serial killer in the subplot - if we can see those bodies why can't we see a few more dropping in the street, then I would have given this book 5 stars).
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on 15 January 2012
Character as usually well written and intersting.

Scenario interesting.

Societys response to this kind of catastrophe, basically muddle through, not plausible and makes the read less good as it irritates me. What would society do, at minimum, if something like this occurs?

1. Martial law throughout the land for the duration
2. Nationalize important businesses and industries for the duration
3. Slaughter all meat animals except a minimum requirement for breeding, the meat can be preserved for a long time as well as the grain the animals won't eat and it will feed a lot of more people this way
4. Rationing of basically everything
5. Mandatory evacuation/relocation in order to maximise output with a minimum use of available resources
etc.

This is not global warming, which is a slow moving catastrophe, and the effects of a muddle through response would be immediately apparant. In this story they are not. The effects of our muddle through response to global warming may be as dire as the effects of a muddle through policy in this book but the timescale for us is decades, not months as would be the case here.

Will not be reading the next installment.
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on 8 June 2013
I bought this book as a present for a friend who is a great fan of Harry Turtledove's alternate history writing, and he lent it back to me. I am a fan of disaster movies on SyFy/Movies 24, and this reads like the plot of one of them. The writing is very descriptive - love the fumaroles where none should be - and as so often happens, the head in the sand attitude of the authorities before the event and the poor handling of the aftermath, particularly in the light of Hurricane Katrina, is all to believable.
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on 28 July 2013
This is the start of a new Harry turtledove series.
The set up is interesting and I look forward to seeing where he takes ir
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on 28 February 2014
I like Turtledoves work, but this wasn't his best. I mean it was readable as was the follow up, but not enough, well to misquote Churchill, to much jaw jaw, and not enough war war.
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