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Richter 10 [Hardcover]

Mike McQuay , Arthur C. Clarke
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 1996
The only surviving member of his family after the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, young Lewis Crane devotes his life to seismology and is terrified when he predicts ""the big one."" 40,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo.

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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Read for When There's Nothing Better to Read July 15 2004
By Pete(r)
Format:Paperback
Richter 10 is, inmy opinion, a book to read when you're looking to pass the time. Summer vacation is one example. Prison is another. But whatever the circumstances may be, you will find that Richter 10 is nothing if not interesting.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not excellent, but pretty good Dec 1 2003
Format:Paperback
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. Well, it turns out that it wasn't really written by him, but he had enough input into it (see other reviews for details) that he got authorship credit (although he shouldn't have been at the top).
About the only thing I had trouble with was the rash of intense and destructive earthquakes that kept showing up in the book. If such disasters happened at the rate and scale they did here, the world economy would really tank, but somehow they just seemed to cause ripples.
I found the characters to be quite interesting and pretty believable, except for the male impersonator (no really good reason for that, and when the character was discussed, it was a bit confusing when folks called her "him" and when she was alone, she was "her").
This book is a definite page-turner, with just a few minor issues.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting... Feb. 1 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
As well as being scientifically interesting (if not completely realistic- but since when has science fiction been completely realistic), this book was also futuristically interesting. In my opinion, I found that some of the social predictions were quite reasonable.
The plot wasn't brilliant- it was quite predictable in many areas- but I found that the setting and vision of this particular future made up for the story's shortcomings. The book ended in a very over-done way (if you read it you'll know what I mean) but not so over-done to ruin the rest of the book. On the whole, this book was quite good and quite satisfying to read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too many false stops, but still enjoyable Nov. 2 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
To clear up any confusion - Arthur C. Clarke wrote a plot synopsis that he wasn't interested in pursuing. Mike McQuay read the synopsis and fleshed it out into the novel Richter 10. The novel takes place in the near future. The story: a geologist named Lewis Crane is obsessed with stopping earthquakes by fusing the Earth's plates together. To this end, he starts a foundation to predict quakes and render assistance to victims. He comes into conflict with his own employees and a seperatist group called the Nation of Islam (NOI) led by an African American of great charisma. One of Crane's men leaves to join the NOI, setting up the main conflict for the remainder of the novel.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Clarke, but not bad, either
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 more
Published on July 31 2002 by J. B. Rainsberger
1.0 out of 5 stars This isn't even by Arthur C. Clarke!
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 more
Published on Jan. 6 2002 by Vic
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientifically intriguing
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 more
Published on Nov. 20 2000 by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
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. 16 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book..one that everyone should read!!!
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 more
Published on May 31 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars cool plausible future stuff
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 more
Published on June 23 1998
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely trivial
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 more
Published on June 5 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars No Clarke to lift you in orbit
Fan of A.C.C., I was expecting some great hard-SF depiction of the future. I've found instead an improbable world, dominated by the Chinese and the Islamists (the authors got rid... Read more
Published on May 28 1998
2.0 out of 5 stars hated it
I was encouraged by the source (author) of the book but was very unhappy with the result. It terrorized the reader and dragged him through trials and tragedy throughout the book. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 1998
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