cover image Supervolcano: Eruption

Supervolcano: Eruption

Harry Turtledove. Roc, $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-451-46420-0

Better known for his leisurely, lengthy alternate history series (Days of Infamy; The War That Came Early), Turtledove tries his hand at disaster carnography, but a promising premise is disappointingly squandered on a male-centric revenge fantasy with a soap-opera plot. A chance encounter in Yellowstone Park brings divorced cop Colin Ferguson a second chance at love and also the knowledge that the Yellowstone caldera, one of Earth’s few supervolcanoes, may be about to erupt. When the inevitable Plinian paroxysm comes, Colin’s friends and family are scattered across the U.S., ideally placed for a story of treks and tragedies. Inexplicably, the plot loses momentum at this point. The deaths of millions take place offstage, the foregrounded economic effects are more inconveniences than apocalypses, and Turtledove pays more attention to developing humiliating fates for Colin’s promiscuous daughter and faithless ex-wife than to putting a human face on the epic, world-altering disaster. Agent: Russell Galen. (Dec.)