Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hoyle's Black Cloud

I'm not really into science fiction books (I'd rather watch movie adaptations), but last year my older brother gave me Fred Hoyle's Black Cloud as a must-read. I obliged and found it a bit contrived but good on the suspense and premise. The author focuses, however, on the decision-makers in their bunkers, leaving out a wide arena of possibility within his setting. Sure, its interest and the main purpose of the book to see how the higher-ups resolve the crisis at hand, but not that much is said of we, the regular people. As with a good disaster setting this is what I'd like to have read, in addition to the existing storyline, maybe by the hand of a different writer:

    Moon Halo, Moonlight through Clouds, Night; Source:; credit: Robert & Mihaela Vicol
  • A set of characters, independent of the scientists and politicians, carrying out their own lives, trying to solve their own particular affairs when events begin to unfurl.
  • How they begin to suspect something's amiss and how news begins to trickle in.
  • Transcriptions of the newscasts. Probably these hiding the truth.
  • The official crisis plan by the government
  • The ways the different new characters prepare themselves for the upcoming bad times, on their homes, work and family relations while still trying to achieve their preexisting goals.
  • The inevitable panic and looting
  • The reactions of religious groups
  • Life during the  hot and cold periods, especially during the dark days. The fear,the marauders, the screams from without the shelters
  • Reconstruction

There is ample room to still work within Hoyle's universe. I mention all this as a prelude for this year's Halloween special, in which I post a really modest sci-fi short story of my own, that kind of belongs to same vein to see if it goes anywhere. This, next time.


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