2020 is a perfect year to read this book. Lately, we’ve been getting a practical demonstration of Murphy’s Law in action, as well as the importance of preparing for a major disaster, and Fan Plan is an alternative history of just such a disaster: a meteor strikes the Yellowstone Caldera, setting in motion a chain reaction with the potential to create a super-volcano that will destroy life on earth.
Computers at the TransGlobal Oil corporation project the catastrophic results, and so the family that owns the company begins making preparations to allow their descendants to survive the coming apocalypse with some chance of rebuilding civilization.
The book then flashes back in time to tell the history of TGO. This is a tale of money, oil, family drama, the cynical machinations of wealthy western society, and sex. Shades of Dallas. Through it all, TGO gradually grows until it finally has the resources to prepare for the apocalypse. The family raises each generation to be prepared for the day when they inherit the responsibility of executing the “Fan Plan”–so named because it’s a plan for when “it” hits the fan, as the saying goes.
The latter stages of the book involve the latest generation of heirs to TGO becoming educated on the history of how societies rise and fall. The central theme of their education revolves around religion, and its ability to inspire and unite as well as to suffocate and destroy, depending how it is handled. Some readers might find these chapters a bit long-winded or preachy, too heavy on lecturing about history. I say this because I know every reader has their own tastes, but personally, as a huge fan of reading about cycles of civilizational collapse and rebirth, I enjoyed these sections quite a bit. And I learned some things too, so if you’re of a mind to study up on how nations fall apart, you could do worse than reading this.
There were a few technical issues with typos and formatting, but the new 2020 edition is much tidier than the 2013 original. (Again, this is one thing that’s great about eBooks!) The book reads in a smooth, conversational way–I could imagine that I myself was sitting around a campfire, listening to Hank, the character who holds forth in the later sections, educating his charges on history and philosophy. In fact, I listened to some portions of this book using my computer’s speech function, and it worked quite well.
Meteor Strike is the first book in the Fan Plan trilogy. They are available separately, but I read it as part of a collection that includes all three books.
Hi Berthold – I like titles that are catchy but don’t make complete sense until you start reading. This is definitely a timely book. Let’s hope we’re not heading for an apocolypse but you never know, do you? Great review!
Thank you! Yes, hopefully no apocalypse is on the horizon, but as Pat would say, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan. 🙂
Truer now than ever 🙂
Many, many thanks, Berthold, for this review. Glad you liked my lectures.
Absolutely! I enjoyed them very much.
Another and informative review Berthold. You truly have this to a find art.
I doubt if I will be reading this one though. Call it irrational or call it cultural but this old (70 next year…yea!) European style old school socialist has an in-built suspicion of any commercial venture with a plan like this to carry it through. Of course you could call this a clash of cultures because the idea from an American perspective is very optimistic and can-do.
There again I could just be in my Grumpy Old Man mode again, because I have to admit the writer’s concepts and intentions for a series of books is worthy of merit on that score. Points to him for using history as a vehicle too, that would be very important in such a writing project…the last thing you want is a gee-whizz instinctively clever guy character who seems to know the best ways all by himself.
OK I’m done. I’ll step down from my lectern.
Keep on keeping on.
Thanks very much! Yes, I can certainly understand that suspicion. Although this is only part 1, so it remains to be seen how effectively the corporation will carry out the plan. I’ve followed the author’s blog for a number of years, and he has no illusions about the danger of corporate greed. 🙂
Thanks for your vote of confidence, Berthold. All fiction is based on “suspension of disbelief.” You get by that in any story and it makes sense. Learned from Basic Instinct among other things.
Ah I see. Thanks for that.
Have you ever read ‘The Joy Makers’ by James Gunn, not quite the same theme, but along those broad lines.
(It was a great injustice that the work of Gunn’s was not mentioned as an influence on the Matrix franchise)
No, I haven’t read it. Or even heard of it, actually. Thanks for making me aware!
It’s one I read in my mid-teens. Originally three short stories published in one of the SF mags. It always stays fresh…Must rummage up the attic and see if I still have a copy