Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lifeboats: Tales from the Evacuation

 What would it be like if you had to abandon your home in only a few hours? Many people lately have had to do just that because of flooding and forest fires. What would you do if you had to abandon your country in only a few days?  What would you take with you especially if, as in the case of people in Syria, you were limited to what you could carry? Now think about the earth. What would you do if you knew the earth had less than 100 years left to sustain life as we know it? Would you go to the stars? Would you make plans so your children or grandchildren could go to the stars? Would you not have children at all? The newest novel, Lifeboats: Tales of the Evacuation, by John K Berntson explores how the people of Earth might react to the news that earth will no longer be habitable. With only 40 to 50 years to go, will the governments move only a few people or will someone decide to move all the people?
What would you do?

Lifeboats: Tales from the Evacuation
By John K Berntson
File size 319 KB
Length 233 pages

From Smashwords:
    The Earth has fifty years to live. Maybe a hundred. Where will we go and what will we do? How will we build a future, if there even is one? From presidents to prisoners to the package delivery man, heroes can be found in the oddest places.

About the Book:    
     This tale opens with the newscast of the US president's speech. The Earth will be gone in less than 100 years; the composition of the sun has been misunderstood and it will become a red giant consuming Earth billions of years earlier than previous thought. The president has been informed that maybe 1 or 2 million people can be saved but he asks for more. He wishes to save the whole population of 7 billion people.

     From there, the book tells the story of the evacuation - the heartaches, mistakes, and heroisms of a people pushing to save an entire planet - using small vignettes. Some of these vignettes are connected throughout the story. Some just tell a tale of the moment. For instance, we follow Burt Covey over the years as the businessman and then an overseer of safety.  We follow a family who leaves but whose daughter returns to Earth and then situations change again.  

My Take:
     While I am usually a character reader, I do like tales such as 'How the West Was Won' where we see many different events with a wide cast of characters coming together to tell us a tale of some great event. Like listening to newscasts, reading tweets, facebook posts, short emails, and newspapers to get a picture of some event, for instance 9-11, this book brings together some short and some longer bits and pieces making a complete whole. When we learn about the American Revolution, we don't follow a specific family all the way through; we learn about Washington, Paul Revere, the Battle of Lexington, John Hancock, the crossing of the Delaware and other stories. Similarly we learn about the great evacuation of Earth in this book.  I actually love the way this is written, though I wish it were much longer.  There is so much to tell here. Longer vignettes would allow the reader to get to know the characters better and allow the reader to be more vested in the tale. 
     Berntson writes clearly with a crisp style using layman's language making it easy to follow the flow of the novel.  Because of the style and language, non-science based readers can enjoy the book. (I like Berntson's style so much, I'm picking up a copy of his short story "Iron Man".)
      I loved the concept and plot.  Berntson pulls everything together, like a painter laying down one color at a time, to show the reader a finished picture. 

  My Recommendation: 
     This is a clean tale suitable for all who can read at a high school level.  I really enjoyed the story (particularly the twist) and highly recommend it to anyone who likes stories told in vignette fashion. I like Berntson's style so much, I am picking up a copy of his short story "Iron Man".

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