On various occasions newspaper articles, TV spots and other public forums announce that countries are working on magnetic weapons of war. This would be a method of destroying the manufacturing and distribution of any and all electric power. There would be no deaths directly attributable to the loss of power, although many would be caused by the consequences of said loss. Buildings and other installations would remain standing, and the population of the area receiving the attack would survive in the main to become subservient to the attacker.
Powerless is a well thought out novel describing the aftermath of a total loss of electrical power in the entire world due to explosions on our sun and energy generated by those sunspots. The book focuses on the United States and several groups of people and how they are affected by the catastrophe.
While Luke Marshall, an army veteran, is singled out for closer examination, other people are introduced and followed as their lives are affected by the loss of electricity. Cars stall, water is not pumped into homes, phones including cellular are rendered useless, planes fall out of the sky and nuclear plants begin inevitable meltdown. Luke Marshall undertakes a journey to pick up and bring his family home.
Lawlessness reigns, it is everyone for himself, and it’s survival of the strongest and those that have access to weapons to utilize for both protection and to use as strong arm tactics. The President of the United States attempts to restore some sort of order but finds that the loss of electricity subjects him, as well as all others, an inability to function normally. In an interesting aside, the destruction of an enemy of the country is a rewarding prospective.
The main thrust of the book is the description of destruction and devastation, but the ending is a logical method of restoring the material aspects of the civilization we now enjoy. An excellent and thought provoking exploration of what could happen if we have our civilization taken away by an outside force.
11/15 Paul Lane
POWERLESS by Tim Washburn. Pinnacle (October 27, 2015). ISBN: 978-0786036530. 464p.