When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, it’s up to six college students and their experimental physics project to prevent the end of civilization.
When an experiment to study quantum uncertainty goes spectacularly wrong, physics student Bill Rustad and his friends find that they have accidentally created an inter-dimensional portal. They connect to Outland—an alternate Earth with identical geology, but where humans never evolved. The group races to establish control of the portal before the government, the military, or evildoers can take it away.
Then everything changes when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts in an explosion large enough to destroy civilization and kill half the planet. The team has just hours to get as many people as possible across to Outland before a lethal cloud of ash overwhelms them.
Nothing has prepared the refugees for what they find—a world of few resources and unprecedented dangers. Somehow, they must learn to survive, because Outland may be not just a safe haven—it could be their new home.
Basically, just as some grad students discover a parallel Earth where humans never evolved, Yellowstone blows and sets humanity on the path for extinction. My husband also read these books, and is doing Cannonball, and I’ll be curious to see his review. He finds Dennis Taylor to be a bit too Pollyanna, but still enjoys him generally.
Meanwhile, I find Taylor to be almost a comfort read. Yes, his books- this included- tend to work out for the best even as the apocalypse looms. But I like it! It’s nice to pretend that clever, good-hearted people will be able to pull humanity’s collective asses from the fire. Will engineers who are good at sarcastic quips ACTUALLY save us all? Almost certainly not. But damn if it isn’t nice to pretend.
The plot flows quickly, the characters are all interesting and engaging, there’s a lot of funny dialogue, and like I said, it’s lovely escapism. Also Taylor is clearly working out some frustration with conservative preppers and boomers and while the comeuppance is unrealistic, it’s also very entertaining.
Don’t read this for a realistic portrayal of the end of humanity. Read it for an entertaining and comforting jaunt in watching people actually rise to the occasion while keeping sarcasm alive.