Veterans of the Spaceward’s Foundation Space Elevator Games have the pleasure of knowing Vern McGeorge. He’s one of those guys who works tirelessly behind the scenes getting stuff done, getting stuff made, getting stuff fixed, so that the competitions can go on. I have blogged about Vern’s contributions before, and that didn’t do him justice – he’s one of the good guys that just makes things happen.
Several weeks ago, I stumbled across his first novel, All Fall Down, a story about (in Vern’s words):
When Col. Roberto di Vincente, driven to avenge the shooting of his wife by U.S. Marines, leads a paramilitary attack on the Space Elevator’s base platform anchored off the coast of Brazil, Marcus Gant, the deputy chief of security, is taken hostage along with most of Port Sheffield’s crew. Gant had hoped to live peacefully, far from the streets of Boston where his on-duty shooting of a child tore his family apart. When his boss is executed following a failed escape attempt, he is thrust into leadership of Port Sheffield’s nascent resistance movement.
Stephanie Petersen and the visiting VIPs, including the man di Vincente blames for the death of his wife, escape up the elevator during the attack. An enemy force, led by Major Eduardo Vieira, di Vincente’s ruthless second-in-command, follows in close pursuit. At Clarke Station, Stephanie is reunited with her estranged husband, Tom. Together they will make their stand.
Col. di Vincente intends to use the Space Elevator to lift small missiles high above the earth, giving his nuclear and biological weapons global reach. His goal is to coerce social justice from the temperate “haves” for the tropical “have-nots” who have been reduced to pariah status following a world-wide plague.
His financial backer, Daniel Falcao, and Major Vieira, plan to betray him and launch the missiles against major cities in the developed world so that Brazil can emerge from the resulting chaos as a world power.
Learning this, the President of the United States has set in motion Slam Dunk; simultaneous preemptive nuclear strikes against Port Sheffield and Clarke Station. Marcus, Stephanie, and Tom must race against time to prevent the destruction of the Space Elevator, the sacrifice of its crew, and the possible slaughter of two-billion people.
Intrigued, I purchased the book on my Kindle (I love my Kindle – thank you wife!) and devoured it in two late-night sittings. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.
And, to make things even better, Vern will be ‘selling’ All Fall Down for free, at Amazon, on the Kindle, from July 4th through July 8th.
Just a note about the content – the Space Elevator in this story is not a tensile structure (which current thinking dictates it must be) but rather more in the mold of the one described by Sir Arthur C. Clarke in his Fountains of Paradise. Vern talks about why he chose this model and many other considerations in the book’s Afterword. Vern does have some additional Space Elevator novels in the pipeline and, well, that’s a story for another post.