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Fracture Point Paperback – 21 Dec 2016
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This novel is a fascinating story of the breakdown of society as the result of a solar flare impacting Earth and the disastrous effects that follow. Peter Apps extrapolates the impact a solar flare had on parts of Canada in 1989 into the consequences of a massive solar flare impacting on at least the UK and the USA and the consequences of the out-take of the electricity grid right across those countries, in particular the London area where the novel is set. Such a collapse would either fry or negate all the computer systems that now so control our lives. The novel focusses on David, the group that grows around him and how they cope with the ensuing breakdown of Society. Government breaks down as it proves unable to provide basic facilities - safe drinking water in particular, but also food supplies, transport, protection and security. Gangs seize control of small areas. David and his group are resourceful with a workable plan for their future. They encounter a naval group that is trying to enforce some kind of local order in their area but find it difficult to adjust to this situation where their Command structure virtually ceases to exist. An Army group joins them, experiences the same problems and want to regard David as the embodiment of an 'elected Government' and so able to give them orders. David, a former petty criminal. Is horrified. David is shown to be a human being not a detached superhero. So he too suffers from the stress everyone is feeling, grieves for his own lost family and find comfort and support in his group. Is the basic scenario of the book credible? Unfortunately yes. In 2014 a massive solar flare was heading in the direction of Earth. The influence of magnetic fields close to the location of the eruption, diverted the direction just slightly, and the Earth's own magnetic field added its influence so the flare passed just below the orbit of the sun. Studies have shown that Earth's magnetic field alone would not have been sufficient to divert this particular solar flare. Would Government break down so completely and so quickly? Probably yes. During the Cold War extensive and detailed Plans were drawn for dealing with the aftermath of nuclear conflict, that Peter Apps refers to in two Appendices and Emergency Planning Offices were set up. Exercises are held from time to deal with some Emergences e.g. Terrorist attacks, but they were and are all dependant on Communications being at least relatively intact and the main destruction localised. In 'Fracture Point' those are almost non-existent. The London Riots (at about the same time in January 2014 as the solar flare was coming) show how quickly Law and Order can break down in 'ordinary' situations, as have countless Demonstrations deteriorated into violence before and since, and those were relatively contained, relatively quickly in a generally secure-feeling wider society. In the portrayed situation that 'secure' feeling is no longer there. Similar situations happen in the giant Refugee Camps around the world at the present time where there is minimal effective 'Government' and massive shortages in basic water, food and shelter facilities have shown repeatedly how Gangs will seize control. 'Fracture Point' realistically shows in story form what could happen here if a massive solar flare ever does hit Earth. Eric Brady
About the Author
Peter Apps lives in England and his first novel, The Long Way Round was published in 2010. He has continued writing and will be releasing more books during 2017 He was born on 1st January 1948 has lived in Sheerness, Kent for most of his life. The Isle of Sheppey where Sheerness is situated, has a long, rich history which has always fascinated Peter. History might seem a far cry from Science Fiction but imagining life in a Roman settlement is imagining a world just as alien as a distant planet. Although he worked in a series of routine jobs he likes to do his own thing when he can. For example, all his computers are Microsoft free zones and prefers to use Linux. He has always had an interest in science, especially Astronomy. Now that planets have been discovered around other suns, he feels that the time is coming when we could discover intelligent life out there. Other interests include classical music and jazz. He also likes to settle down in the evening watching a good film or visit his local for a chat over a friendly drink.
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