Richter 10 Hardcover – Feb 1 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Two formidable SF talents converge splendidly in this disaster thriller, which offers sleek action-adventure writing, world-class tumult and a coherent near-future based on sound yet innovative social and scientific speculation. Thirty years ago, as a child, Lewis Crane was scarred physically and mentally by the Los Angeles earthquake of 1994. Now he spends his days tracking earthquakes to minimize their damage. He also harbors a secret hope that he can, through a daring plan to fuse the earth's plates by exploding nuclear devices along their fault lines, stop the earthquake menace forever. Lewis is aided and stymied in these actions?and in his attempts to warn of the monster quake implied in the book's title?by a gallery of realistic characters and well-developed political factions, including the suppressed but still potent Nation of Islam, a powerful women's bloc and the Chinese business interests that now really run America. The plot permutations are as rich as the premise and settings, involving maturing characters, shifting allegiances, betrayals, open conflict and hidden agendas. Clarke's trademark technological mysticism and McQuay's tight plotting (as evidenced in his SF detective novels) make for a moving, convincing and engrossing yarn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Sf guru Clarke (The Hammer of God, LJ 5/15/93) teams up with McQuay (State of Siege, Bantam, 1994) in this novel about a young seismologist in California who pinpoints the location and date of The Big One.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The author(s) of the book do many things right, while still managing to screw up the story. Surprisingly, it's about an earthquake. Several earthquakes, anyway. Crazy geologist Lewis Crane is hell-bent for revenge on earthquakes after one knocked off his parents in 1994. The book takes place in the early-mid 21st century, and we see several examples of advanced technology. Perhaps some of it is too advanced, but since we went from struggling to get a glider to hang in the air to putting men in space in about 50 years, maybe it is normal.
Anyway, the characters and several parts of the story are not developed very well. We never really get to know the characters, so that when something good or bad happens, we couldn't care less. The characters aren't exactly good people, either. Crane has some good characteristics, but he is pretty much consumed by his power. His assistant, Dan Newcombe, goes from being a humble scientist to a megalomaniac in a few chapters.
The book, though not being too long, drags on for quite a bit. There are ample oppurtunities to end the book, but the author(s) feel the need to keep it alive. Too much of a mediocre thing can be a bad thing.
As another point of negativity, the ending sucks. I won't give it away, but, eh, it wasn't very good.
In closing, I recommend this book to bored people who do not have anything else to do with their time. 50% of the population, in other words.
There are some obvious parallels with real life - for example, the leader of the NOI is obviously based on Elijah Mohammed, while the defecting geologist is similar to (but less influential than) Malcolm X. The vision of the future is quite dystopic (and overtly racist) - the U.S. government is a puppet for multinational (Chinese) corporations. However, the novel is not a warning or historical analogy, but simply an adventure story with lots of buildings falling over and tsunamis sweeping people out to sea.
On the whole, it is quite enjoyable. The action is well-written, the technology mostly believable, and the supporting characters well-developed. Unfortunately, the main characters are generally not likable (until, possibly, in the last 50 pages), so it's hard to develop any kind of sympathy for them. In addition, the central scientific tool the geologists use - a working scale model of the Earth - is extremely far fetched. The idea that an earthquake (or any major natural event) could be predicted by a 100-foot model, to an accuracy of a couple of minutes, stretches credulity to the breaking point.Read more ›
Imagine the impact on real estate insurance, should short-term earthquake prediction be possible. They would never accept to insure buildings destined to be surely destroyed soon by shifting plates, because they are protecting the benefactors against probabilities, not certitude of property destruction.
What would be the impact of earthquake prediction on mortgages? On banking loans to industries potentially threatened? Landowners and proprietors would suffer a critical loss of wealth because the demand for real estate would plummet down.
The incertitude and speculation is the key to the capitalistic system, especially the ultra-liberal one described in the book, which misses the huge social, economic and political consequences of earthquake prediction.
But even in the worst situation, there is still enough funding to keep up the costly hero's work. The most original fund raise in the story is a bet on the precise day of the earthquake.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
As an Arthur C. Clarke junkie, I was surprised to find a book by hin that I hadn't read that was also eight years old. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003 by James A. Fletcher
I actually give this book 3.5 stars, as I don't think it quite deserves four, but it doesn't deserve three either, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2003 by Victoria
Clarke fans may be upset to learn that he did not write this book, but come on -- the man is about 500 years old and still cranking out good ideas for stories. Read morePublished on July 31 2002 by J. B. Rainsberger
Before you pick up Richter 10, read the authors notes at the end of the book. You will discover that this book was not written by A.C.C. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2002 by Vic
I read this book looking for escapism sci-fi, and instead found a book grounded in science FACT and having a great plot to boot. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2000 by Mike
The story was very immersive, and though some have denounced it because of it's technical innacuracies, I believe the good story behind it more than compensates.Published on Nov. 15 1999
This book is great, the characters come alive and you feel their pain and their joy. The story I think is one that sweeps you up and is quite realistic(however it would be in the... Read morePublished on May 30 1999
I read this over a year ago, and have thought many times about little things from the book, like www on everyone's wrist, and the daily effects of possible nuclear events. Read morePublished on June 23 1998
It seemed like a chore to finish this book. I cared about none of the characters or the situations they were in (the racial stereotypes were especially bothersome), and the... Read morePublished on June 5 1998