Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Cataclysm by Tim Washburn
Kensington: 10/25/16
eBook review copy; 488 pages
ISBN-13: 9780786036554

Cataclysm by Tim Washburn is a recommended disaster novel that would make a great action movie.

There is an earthquake swarm happening at Yellowstone National Park. While small tremors and earthquakes are a common occurrence, these aren't so small and are increasing in magnitude. All the data coming in indicates that the super volcano underneath the park may be heading toward an eruption. The normal geothermal features in the park are growing in intensity. The magma chamber underneath Yellowstone seems to be pushing the park's landmass up at an alarmingly increasing pace. Since the magma chamber is 18 miles wide and almost 55 miles long, an eruption would not only be devastating for the USA, it would negatively impact the entire planet.

Washburn does have several recurring main characters in his book that we follow and a whole cast of doomed extras. To be honest, and my reviews always are, I'm not reading a book called Cataclysm for the well-developed characters or the poetic language (no offense to Washburn). And, admittedly, there were parts of Cataclysm I skimmed through quickly, especially all the White House scenes. I'm reading it for the action, the suspense, the looming disaster, the scrambling scientists and buff park rangers, the panic, the doomed tourists, and the challenge of escaping alive. Cataclysm provided me with a terrific impending disaster of huge proportions and gave me some characters to follow through it.

There were also some flaws in Cataclysm. (I kept switching my rating between 3 and 4 stars because of the flaws.) Without detailing a list of them, most notable was the effort to be as incredibly P.C. as possible. For example, while I can appreciate a diverse cast of characters, in this case I didn't really need a detailed physical description, including the skin tone, of every character in a disaster book. I can usually provide plenty of diversity in my mind's eye... while picturing the mad scramble for survival when death is an expected outcome. It is also possible to have your diversity without making a huge point of describing people. Other characters can always do the job for you. There are also several other examples (anti-fracking) where the effort to be P.C. got in the way of what should be the real focus: THE YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO IS GOING TO ERUPT!

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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