Saturday, July 21, 2007
"Shiva Descending" by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler
A meteor is headed for Earth...oh, no!!!
This was a fun book to read. I've seen umpteen meteor movies, including Meteor. But, this is only the second book I've read. The first was "Lucifer's Hammer" 100 (200?) years ago.
Well known premise: meteor is going to hit Earth. This one is named Shiva and is in a swarm of meteors of all different sizes. The swarm has been orbiting the sun in an elliptical path getting closer to Earth with each pass. Earth has been getting hits from the edges of the swarm for eons. Now they're coming hard and fast. Cities are being destroyed from direct hits, tsunamis or firestorms. The next pass is a direct hit from the Gargantua in the center. And since Shiva is the size of a mountain, the entire human race is in dire straits.
Chaos reigns. A charismatic speaker decides it is God's will and accumulates quite a following to make sure Shiva is not blown out of the sky. NASA is under attack from the hundreds of thousands that believe the Millennium is the end of days. A sect from India take the hedonistic road and call themselves the Shiva Dancers. Orgies all over the planet. Elsewhere, riots, murder, looting---all the anarchy you would ever wish for. People are also committing suicide in memorable numbers. And the president goes completely off his rocker. He spends the last days before impact holed up in the White House with his mistress and a banjo.
This was writen in the days of the Cold War, so America and Russia have to band together with American space shuttles, Russian bombs and no trust. Of course, the Russians are very secretive.
Needless to say, Earth survived.