“Supervolcano: Eruption” (Roc), by Harry Turtledove: The master of the alternate history novel delivers a terrifying future of the United States that seems within the realm of possibility in “Supervolcano: Eruption.”
Yellowstone National Park draws millions each year to see its bubbling pots and spouting geysers. Yellowstone’s caldera, a broad, craterlike basin of a volcano, formed by an explosion or by the collapse of the cone, has erupted several times since the North American continent drifted over the hot spot.
A volcanic eruption of the region in modern day would have the potential to create a more devastating impact than Krakatoa and Mount St. Helens combined. Survivors would have to deal with the aftermath of a barren, ash-covered landscape over a major portion of the United States.
Colin Ferguson is a Los Angeles police officer. His wife has left him for a younger man, and he finds himself alienated from his children. He meets a young geologist named Kelly who is studying Yellowstone. She fears the park is a powder keg that is about to explode. Others ignore her data, but soon everyone realizes that she’s right.
Turtledove is known for taking an event from the past and twisting the outcome, such as the South winning the Civil War. This time he creates an alternate future with the slow and devastating results of a disaster that will hopefully never occur.
The story abruptly ends, leading the way for what appears to be a trilogy. Unfortunately, it’s going to take two more years to see how everything turns out.