B is for The Big One
Earthquakes are a constant threat to huge parts of human civilization so the threat of a localized apocalypse can be very high. But what kind of story could an earthquake make?
Scenario: You’ve got a lot of people packed into a small area with cracks opening up in the earth, buildings collapsing, infrastructure smashed into smithereens and a whole bunch of people hiding under kitchen tables and in bathtubs.
Characters: The best one emotionally is probably a family who are in separate locations when The Big One strikes – through all the chaos of fires, chuffing huge cracks in the earth, tidal waves, looters – making it home is going to be a challenge requiring all their brains, brawn and buddying-up skills. Throw in a few kids for good measure and you’ve got the makings of a great drama.
Location: Yeah it’s going to have to be a big city – probably in California for realism. Or maybe you could mix it up and make it a more remote location, which means that there are less places for hiding from tidal waves, harder to find transportation but easier to use it.
Series or stand-alone: It’s going to have to be a stand-alone – making a series from this is going to take a lot of imagination stretching and keeping your audience captivated will be a big ask – once the family is reunited and the city starts to be rebuilt, where’s the story-line going to go?
Reading recommended by me:
The Walk by Lee Goldberg -
Pages: 195 (Kindle edition)
Click here to read the summary and my review.
Reading recommended to me:
A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher
Pages: 256 (paperback)
The protagonist is Matthew Cotter, a Guernsey horticulturalist who finds himself one of only a handful of survivors on the former island. Cotter decides to trek across the empty seabed to England, in the faint hope his daughter has somehow survived. He finds the situation on the former mainland has descended to barbarism, with competing bands of scavengers preying on survivors. He & a young boy finally make their way to the borders of Sussex, where his daughter was staying, only to discover that the land has slipped beneath the sea. Cotter, along with some survivors from the mainland, eventually returns to Guernsey.
The Rift by Walter J. Williams
Published: 2000 by Eos
Pages: 944 (paperback)
It starts with the dogs. They won't stop barking. . . .
And then the earth shrugs--8.9 on the Richter scale in the world's biggest earthquake since 1755. It hits New Madrid, Missouri, a sleepy town on the Mississippi. Seismologists had predicted the disaster . . . but no one listened. Within minutes, there is nothing but chaos and ruin as America's heartland falls into the nightmare known as the Rift--a fault line in the earth that wrenchingly exposes the fractures in American society itself. As a strange white mist smelling of sulfur rises from the crevassed ground, the real terror begins for the survivors, including a teenager separated from his mother, an African-American engineer searching for his daughter, a TV preacher whose visions of hell have become all too real, and a sheriff cum Ku Klux Klansman who seeks racial vengeance in the midst of disaster.
It can happen. And sooner or later, it will.
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