Monday, February 15, 2010

1043. Plague Zone

On a recent trip I got to finish, "Plague Zone" by Jeff Carlson. It is the third book in his Post-Apocalyptic, Nano-technology, Plague Year Trilogy. (Duh! - Obviously, though, one wonders, if the trilogy might grow to more books...but that's a story for different paragraph). Almost six months after the last book, a little band of survivors, including Cam Najarro and Ruth Goldman, the Nano-technology researcher have holed-up not far from the US Government's seat of power, high-up in the Rocky Mountains. Even though the human race has achieved a level of immunity and can descent below the 10,000 foot level, not too many people stray too far below that barrier still. Yes, the Chinese live in Los Angeles, and the Russians north of them, but most American and Canadian forces are still centered around the Rocky Mountains. Strength comes from numbers, but numbers can be easily attacked when people are located in one particular "zone".

A new "nano" attacks the World, not just the Americans, but everyone. There are few survivors. Among them, Cam and Ruth who try to unlock its secret. The journey in this third book is to figure out where the attack came from, why and who create the new  "nano". I don't know, why the author stopped calling the nano-technology "snowflakes" like he did in the other books... that was a bit jarring. Still, the reveal as to who the "nano's" creator was is quite a bit stunning, and an important part of the plot.  The other part that advances the story spectacularly are the people who survive the attack and respond to it this time. I have always been kind of confused as to Ruth's motivations. I am starting to believe that the reason has more to do with Jeff Carlson's writing and something about the way he writes her character and that I am not picking this up, and nothing more.

For the problems and reviews of the first two books go here:
Plague Year
Plague War

There is a lot more exposition and discussion of the Geopolitical situation as well as the effects of the "nano" on the whole world. It's as if, in the first two books, Jeff Carlson was testing his feet in the water... now he has finally jumped in head first.

I enjoyed the third book in this series, even if the conclusion was a bit uneven, even if I get the feeling that there might be another book. I just wish that Ruth Goldman (and by extension the author) had arrived at some different conclusions and a different course of action. The future of what remains of the human race depends on her, and even after this, I expect greatness, or at least that what Classic Science Fiction of the Golden Age always led me to believe.

All in all, a worthy effort. 4 stars out of 5. The last one for effort.

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