Monday, October 10, 2011

Ashfall by Mike Mullin (ARC)

Mike Mullin
Exp. Publication: October 11, 2011

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Synopsis: Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

Top Ten Things to Start Stockpiling in Case of Cataclysmic Event:
  1. HOW TO SURVIVE A CATACLYSMIC EVENT FOR DUMMIES. Has anyone written this book yet cause I'm thinking you'd automatically become a best seller once Ashfall hits the shelves. Perhaps Mr. Mullin would like to be a contributing writer. LOL.
  2. MATCHES. The world will very likely be a frozen wasteland for many years. Let me simplify: Heat = Good = Life. No Heat = Bad = Death. If you've never been cold enough for your extremities to freeze or hypothermia to really set in, trust me, it's not the way to go.
  3. GUNS and an infinite supply of BULLETS. Cause if you're naive enough to think you'll be immune from violence and looters, you'll be one less person in the world I'll be fighting over supplies for.
  4. SEEDS. Particularly seeds that can grow well enough in a greenhouse with freezing temperatures outside.
  5. CONDOMS. That's right, condoms. When doctors are forced to bactrack to times similiar to the 1800's, no one is going to want to get pregnant. I've had a kid myself and if that emergency c-section hadn't been possible, I wouldn't be here today. Not to mention, not everyone's body takes to breastfeeding, and if there's a shortage of water, you're not going to be able to drink enough to keep you hydrated, let alone make enough milk to feed the baby. (I wonder how much time would pass before people thought to raid Planned Parenthood?)
  6. VITAMINS and MEDICINE. Your diet is going to suck for years and without a way to get all those missing nutrients that are oh-so important to your body, you're far more likely to weaken and become susceptible to illness.
  7. WINTER WEAR. You know those lovely long johns that flatter your figure so well? Yeah, stock up on those cause you're going to want as many layers as possible. In fact, the more layers you can add and the thicker coats you can find, the fatter you're going to look, and you're less likely to attract the attention of those willing to commit unforgivable sexual assaults (in this instance, see #3 and pop their @sses before they even gets close).
  8. SKIS, SNOWBOARDS, BOOTS, ETC. Did you catch the part where the world will be a frozen wasteland for who knows how long? You really want to lose your legs cause you chose to walk and couldn't get your body out of the sinkhole made of snow?
  9. EARPLUGS. In case of a supervolcano, you'd probably need this cause a volcanic explosion is currently the loudest sound in recorded history and it wasn't even a supervolcano, which would be more than 100 times as loud and would be heard even thousands of miles away...and it'll go on for who knows how long. Do yourself a favor and top off the earplugs with a set of those noise cancelling headphones from Bose (you don't want to start wasting your pain meds here cause you've got a headache).
  10. FOOD. Seriously, if I have to explain this one, there's no hope for you... And by food, I do not mean stockpiling cases of Hershey bars (perhaps Skittles? at least they'll last longer presevative-wise) :D

From the Author's Note: There is a colossal volcano under Yellowstone National Park. The volcano's crater...measures roughly 34 by 45 miles. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, events so powerful they are usually classified as supervolcanoes. The largest of the these eruptions released about 2,500 times as much magma as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Soooo.....I totally loved this book. Don't get me wrong, it's dismal and depressing and the events following the eruption of the supervolcano are total speculation, but I just got sucked into the possiblity of this post-cataclysmic dystopian society. Alex was all alone when it happened, and like a complete-stupid-effing-teenager he set out into the ash-filled world to journey more than a 100 miles on skis to get to his family. Why do I call Alex a complete-stupid-effing-teenager? When you read Ashfall, count up the number of times someone else had to save him from what would have been yet another tragic death. I completely understand family being important, but in times like this, survival tops the list. Hunker down and survive until you figure out what it is you're dealing with, how to overcome it and then go on your journey.

Darla, I think I love you and I would be just as annoyed with Alex as you were. This is a woman who knows how to survive in post-cataclysmic world. All I can say peeps, is find your Darla and stick to her like glue for the rest of your life!!!

You're going to want to read Ashfall. But just a warning: there are moments in the novel when I think it really pushes the YA label, but they were also actions you would expect to happen when the world is falling to crap around you.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

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