Monday, June 09, 2008

Little Brother

You can download it for free, or order it from Whatever you do, just READ IT. The ideas and problems in the book are not far off. The situation is possible in our lifetimes. Knowledge is power. Read it.

Then the world changed forever.

We felt it first, that sickening lurch of the cement under your feet that every Californian knows instinctively -- *earthquake*. My first inclination, as always, was to get away: "when in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." But the fact was, we were already in the safest place we could be, not in a building that could fall in on us, not out toward the middle of the road where bits of falling cornice could brain us.

Earthquakes are eerily quiet -- at first, anyway -- but this wasn't quiet. This was loud, an incredible roaring sound that was louder than anything I'd ever heard before. The sound was so punishing it drove me to my knees, and I wasn't the only one. Darryl shook my arm and pointed over the buildings and we saw it then: a huge black cloud rising from the northeast, from the direction of the Bay.

There was another rumble, and the cloud of smoke spread out, that spreading black shape we'd all grown up seeing in movies. Someone had just blown up something, in a big way.

There were more rumbles and more tremors. Heads appeared at windows up and down the street. We all looked at the mushroom cloud in silence.

Then the sirens started.

I'd heard sirens like these before -- they test the civil defense sirens at noon on Tuesdays. But I'd only heard them go off unscheduled in old war movies and video games, the kind where someone is bombing someone else from above. Air raid sirens. The wooooooo sound made it all less real.

"Report to shelters immediately." It was like the voice of God, coming from all places at once. There were speakers on some of the electric poles, something I'd never noticed before, and they'd all switched on at once.

"Report to shelters immediately." Shelters? We looked at each other in confusion. What shelters? The cloud was rising steadily, spreading out. Was it nuclear? Were we breathing in our last breaths?
This was a book that I could not stop reading until I finished it. You may find it the same way, or you might not like it at all. But whatever you do, go read it.