Thursday, 22 December 2016
Introducing Michael Havel...
-SM Stirling, Dies The Fire (New York, 2005), Chapter One, p. 1.
Who is he? Well, we don't know yet. Starting to read a new (to us) novel, we expect to be introduced to a whole new cast of characters. More specifically, having just finished reading the multiple viewpoint Nantucket Trilogy and now starting to read the opening volume of another series set in a much later period of the original timeline, we are obliged to accept a whole new cast of characters. But the author is able to introduce a considerable number of them in just a few pages.
Dan and Gerta Fogarty employ Havel as an aviator and Gerta's aunt introduces him to five new passengers. We quickly forget our Nantucketers although they exist off-stage for the first hour of the new narrative which begins on:
"Tuesday, March 17th, 1998
"6:15 P.M., MST - Change minus one hour." (p. 1)
Many will die in the Change but most of the newly introduced characters must be destined to survive or there would be no point in introducing them. Will some Fundamentalists believe that the Change was the Rapture and that they have been Left Behind? Fortunately, I understand, there will be some comparatively sane Wiccans among the cast. Nowadays we inherit all the traditions and can opt to celebrate life through a myth different from that of our parents.
We knew that the Nantucket Event must have been perceived by people outside Nantucket but now we know how they perceived it:
"'Some sort of electrical storm off Cape Cod - not just lightning, a great big dome of lights over Nantucket, half a dozen different colors. The weather people say they've never seen anything like it.'...
"The voice of the on-the-spot reporter cruising over Nantucket Sound started to range up from awestruck to hysterical...
"White light flashed, stronger than lightning..." (p. 7)
After the Event, the Change. Suddenly, Havel is flying a dead plane...
Is the Marvel Comics White Event connected?