The Trigger Mass Market Paperback – Sep 5 2000
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The early 21st century ushers in a revolution in unified field theory, and free-thinking physicist Jeffrey Horton and his team are pushing the cutting edge. Sequestered on a maximum-security research campus, the scientists are testing "Baby," a device they hope will create "a laser for gravity," a tractor beam. But during an early run, every gun in the area (and even a secret stash of fireworks) simultaneously explodes. Follow-up tests soon prove their device was responsible--that it can in fact neutralize every conventional gun, bomb, and explosive--and that's when Baby becomes the "Trigger."
This speculative novel by sci-fi legend Arthur C. Clarke and genre workman Michael Kube-McDowell follows the vast sea changes such an invention would bring, reading as part thriller, part social tract. Horton and his Trigger follow a course not unlike that of Einstein and the A-bomb, but ratcheted up by an order of magnitude--idealistic scientists, overwhelmed politicians, rabid lobbyists, and entrenched generals must deal with the device's deployment and consequences, both political and social, in a gun-rich, gun-dependent culture. A well-researched, plausible plot line keeps The Trigger not just readable but downright engrossing, despite its sometimes distracting lack of subtlety. All in all, a worthwhile, entertaining meditation on how technological progress always proves as unpredictable as it is inevitable. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
One of the grand old men of SF has teamed up with Kube-McDowell (Tyrant's Test, etc.) to imagine a near-future in which all traditional weapons that use gunpowder are rendered obsolete. Out of the blue, young physicist Jeffrey Horton has been chosen to join Nobelist Karl Brohier at a laboratory named Terabyte. While Horton pursues the "stimulated emission of gravitons," a number of detonations rock the lab one day. Is this yet another terrorist attack in an America racked by violence? But it's gun clips and fireworks that exploded when Horton activated his experimental machine. After some experimentation, the lab team realizes that the device, shortly named the Trigger, causes virtually every traditional explosive within range to self-destruct. What follows is a detailed exploration of the effects of the Trigger on domestic America. Should it be made public? Who should be told first: the army, the president, the international community? To prevent being silenced by those whose power may be threatened, Brohier and Horton contact Grover Wilman, an iconoclastic U.S. senator with a strong antigun record. Wilman in turn leads them to President Mark Breland, and the full complexity of negotiating among the many factions invested in guns begins. Clarke and Kube-McDowell work through the pro and con arguments over the possession of guns and other gunpowder-based weapons, with care and research evident in every debate as they skillfully assess the tricky territory between individualism and collective trust. The authors are savvy enough never to choose easy answers, and though this political SF thriller occasionally slows down to depict detailed governmental negotiations and private deliberations, the unpredictable effects of the Trigger lend the familiar issue of gun control new urgency and excitement. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This is one of the greatest books ever written and is about twice the size of a normal novel so is extremely good value for money. If you want a work of fiction that debates the issue of society without guns while taking you along for a fast paced thrill ride from cover to cover then this is for you. Warning though, once you start you won't be able to put this masterpiece down so buy some blank tapes because you won't be watching TV for a while.
Jeffrey Horton working for Terabyte Laboratories unwittingly invents a device that makes bullets and any other explosive devices explode when 'the trigger' is turned on thereby making guns or terrorist bombs useless in an area covered by the machine. At first this seems like the greatest invention in mankind's history with cowards no longer being able to use guns to rob, murder or even intimidate society. Not everyone however is pleased by this. Not only are there gun totting rednecks who think it is their constitutional right to have guns but the US army can see they will be at a disadvantage to more populous countries without being able to use bombs and guns. The Trigger asks the question will society really be better of without these sorts of weapons? Will Horton be able to manufacture and get his product out world wide before those who oppose it stop him? He soon realises his life will be short lived if he can't get develop, test and get this machine to everyone who needs it before it is too late. Sensational novel, just buy it!
In 'Trigger' our authors seek to pursue this to its ultimate conclusion with a massive dose of cutting edge physics and mathematics thrown in along the way.
The story focuses on the Terabyte corporation, whose bright young spark, Dr Jeffrey Horton, experiences scientific serendipity one day and discovers that he has created a machine that destabilises any nitrate-based compound, effectively acting as a detonator. Not only that, it has a range that is dictated only by its power. Inevitably, the realization occurs that this can act as an invisible shield as all known munitions simply explode or decay on contact with the edge of the shield thus paving the way for a fiercely debated topic as to the constitutional legitimacy of effectively removing the second act of the US constitution.
Very quickly, Horton and his boss, Karl Brohier, decide to release the discovery to the US government and President Mark Breland authorizes the development of the Trigger, thus loosing all the inherent issues that come with it. Over the next few hundred pages we are treated to debate at the highest level, amongst all forums possible as to the constitutionality of the trigger, its global impact and the social upheaval that it brings. This debate in its various forms dominates most of the book, Senator Wilman and Senator Trent taking it to its personal conclusion.Read more ›
Although it is a little long winded to read it does eventually pick up a storyline that totally goes of in a typical Arthur C. Clarke direction and leaves you quite chilled at the story's end.
The basic story is of a handfull of scientists in the not too distant future, who quite accidently stumble across a way of disabling the entire World's stock of fire arms. Using electrons to ignite gunpowder. Soon the discovery reaches the White House and the chance to disarm the world of weapons is undertaken...
If it was only that simple and in doing so the Trigger causes more distruction. However the same scientists later find a way around this and soon the Trigger, in a more safer form is released onto the mass market.
Soon the the enevidable uprising of those who think it is their right to bare arms (as it does say in the Constitution) takes over the storyline. A high paced conclusion is in order and that totally Aurthur C. Clarke twisted ending that he is famous for leaves you hanging and thinking, "Maybe having the world armed with primitive guns is not such a bad idea after all."
The basic premise is that a group of scientists accidentally discovers a way to disable all conventional explosives. Even though the gun lobby has been portrayed fairly negatively and the gun debate is a little lopsided as a result, people with an open mind and any intelligence whatsoever should be able to appreciate the brilliance of the way in which the debate has been presented and to see both sides of the coin equally well. It is a mind-expanding discussion indeed. Of course, because of the strongly political nature of the debate, your reaction to the book might vary from disgust to ecstasy, but it is nevertheless a great book. The ending is classic Clarke: brilliant and open-ended. And again very mind-expanding.
Most recent customer reviews
Personally, I found this book to be very thought-provoking. The views of our society and political system are interesting, and the science behind how the Trigger works was... Read morePublished on Oct. 4 2002 by Tyler Stewart
This book has some interesting what if situations, based on the invention of a device that triggers all weapons within a specified range. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2002 by Michael A. Newman
I'm in agreement with some of the other readers...spends way too much time describing politics and not enough with the technology. Read morePublished on July 3 2002
First of all, it is peculiar to see how readers---among which I include myself---tend to use this space that Amazon. Read morePublished on July 1 2002
Master author Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell have joined forces and conceived a novel set in the not too distant future. Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2002 by AliGhaemi
This is the story of some scientists who stumble on a discovery that renders explosives useless. The development of this technology, called the Trigger, into a public anti-gun/bomb... Read morePublished on June 28 2001 by Craig MACKINNON
I've bought this book because of the Arthur Clarke's name on it. However judging from reading it, Mr. Clarke could have provided only the general plot. Read morePublished on June 16 2001 by Sergey Babkin
Whether or not you find the premise intriguing, this book is an unmitigated disaster when judged as an actual story. Read morePublished on June 15 2001