Tim's Reviews > Eruption

Eruption by Harry Turtledove
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's review
Feb 02, 2012

did not like it

I was anxious to pick up this book because (a) I'd read quite a few of Turtledove's earlier novels and really enjoyed them and (b) recently read another book on the subject of a super-volcano eruption at Yellowstone called "Ashfall" by Mike Mullin. Technically its a YA novel but thus far its been far superior to the drivel in Turtledove's version.

This may be a first for me in that the author has managed to craft an entire book without a single sympathetic character - except for Pickles, the cat of one of the central characters. Unlikeable, barely one-dimensional characters, hackneyed prose, unbelievable situations and reactions that defy logic and human behavior. What's to like? Nothing really. There were so many points where as I was reading, I'd put the book down and say to myself "There's no way that would happen." It was often a struggle to pick the book back up and continue.

You'd think that with a title like "Supervolcano: Eruption" there might be some emphasis on the eruption and how the characters and society reacted to them. Instead, its almost added in as an afterthought to a soap opera about a dysfunctional unlikable family who in the midst of a cataclysmic planetary disaster doesn't seem to grow or learn anything. Given the self-centeredness of every character, frankly I'm a bit surprised they even noticed that there was an eruption. The Ferguson clan spends the entire book, before and after the disaster, more concerned with getting stoned, getting laid, acting sexist, complaining about grammar, grinding axes with former spouses, exhibiting an utter disregard for their family - the adults being more selfish than the grown children. With each page, I found myself rooting more and more for the volcano.

Luckily Mr. Turtledove did get around to mentioning several times that in his version of a post-apocalyptic America there would be paper shortages. One can only hope such vision becomes a reality before he follows his usual publishing MO and turns this complete and utter waste of time into a series by penning another half-dozen books.
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