U is for Under a Cloud
I’m not talking fluffy white spring clouds here – the cloud I’m talking about is dark, spooky and has far reaching consequences for humans, animals and the environment – to be specific, an ash cloud. There are active volcanoes in specific parts of the world, and dead and dormant volcanos in many others. Anyone have their flights interrupted/cancelled by recent volcanoes in Iceland or South America? Compared to the eruption of a super-volcano that would be just an inconvenience…. Some science is recommended, but not necessary - this scenario is easily imaginable without dry facts. Examples could be cool.
Scenario: Either the localized fall out of a relatively small volcanic eruption or the far-reaching consequences of a super-volcano erupting make for a complex and scary scenario for an apocalyptic book. As bigger is (almost) always better, this is more a super-volcano scenario. In the immediate vicinity of the volcano there’s going to be an instant and massive loss of life due to the toxic ash, lava, flaming boulders falling from the sky and massive lighting storms, but outside that area there would also be the massive impact of the ash cloud moving across the sky. Permanent darkness, the threat of a rapid-onset ice-age and ash in every nook and cranny, ruining cars and electronic equipment are going to make survival a tough prospect.
Characters: Families, average Joes, couples and groups work well. Survivalists are going to find themselves in pretty much the same situation as everyone else, perhaps with the exception of having a good food and water supply. For the rest of us, water will be a big problem, and longer term, food sources will be smothered or killed and planting crops in volcanic ash just isn’t going to fly. There may be a place for a meteorologist or scientists, and government/military intervention are inevitable.
Location: Pick a place on the map with any active or dormant volcano and you’ve got your location – the bigger the better, naturally. Focus on a community or travelers and bob’s-your-uncle the story is ready to go.
Stand-alone or series: Both are options here, the stand-alone can focus on the event and immediate fall-out, the series can focus on both those ideas plus long term implications and survival both in the vicinity and how humans are affected further away from the impact site.
Recommended by Me
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Published: 27 September 2011
Pages: 466 (hardcover)
For synopsis and my review click HERE