Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Old Stuff

Since I can't leave a teaser on my new super secret project, and any teaser I leave for the book I'm rewriting would have spoilers, I thought I'd step into the wayback machine and drop a bit from my second book - the 2006 'Final' draft (which ended up being not so final).  This Prologue is one I really liked, but also one that I decided to snip away.  (Although, I did have an agent read this and ask me if I ever considered writing non-fiction - which was the nicest thing he had to say since the rest of his rejection letter called my book 'improbible'*.)

Anyway, here's the beginning of Nature of Destruction...


It has happened before.
Six hundred thousand years ago, death and destruction rained from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River, from the plains of Saskatchewan to the Gulf of Mexico.  Seventy-five thousand years ago the sun disappeared beneath a haze of ash, killing the majority of the human race in the ensuing global winter.  Fifteen hundred years ago, the most notorious of human eras—The Dark Ages—began in a shroud of gray volcanic dust.
Early in the 19th century, the center of a tiny island in the Dutch West Indies swelled and trembled and burst.  Fiery boulders fell from the sky; ash blanketed both land and ocean for hundreds of miles as it spewed into the atmosphere.  More than ninety thousand people died as the sky became clogged with soot—soot so thick that the year of 1816 was to become known as ‘The Year Without a Summer’. 
Later in that same century, a mountain rising from the depths of the East Indies exploded and then collapsed. The sea rose twelve feet that day, pushed up suddenly as tons of rock dropped into its murky depths.  Thundering walls of water swept toward Java, Sumatra, Bali; tens of thousands drown as the ocean broke over their homes and villages. 
In each instance a caldera has erupted, and in each instance the world has born the brunt of its destruction.
So far, many of these types of events occurred before the ascension of man; so far, they have all occurred in sparsely populated areas.  In the scheme of human disaster, these events remain insignificant.  In perspective, the death toll has been minimal.  But still, the tiny native children who shivered in fear as Tambora thundered down upon them thought it more than minimal.  The tribal women who screamed their last breaths as Krakatau choked the sound away considered it from a different perspective.  The peasants who endured The Dark Age’s endless years of starvation and suffering certainly thought it significant.
They all must have prayed for whatever god they knew to make it stop.  They must have offered sacrifices and tributes to appease the wrath that cascaded upon them.  But even amidst their fruitless prayers and hopeless offerings, they must have believed in their hearts that nothing could stop nature. 
In the mountains of western Wyoming, a caldera lays in a fitful sleep—churning and gurgling and smoking like some great evil dragon—and mankind dances around it as if it has been caged for their amusement.  The sparkling geysers and the boiling mud are merely an interesting diversion right now, but the dragon is bound by no man’s chains and it has overslept by twenty thousand years.  When it awakens, no man will think it amusing, and no man with think of it as a mere diversion.
Pompeii was a firecracker.  Mount Saint Helens, a birthday candle.  When Yellowstone makes up its mind to blow, the people in its path will wish they’d been at Hiroshima instead.
Will they be praying on some sprawling ranch in Montana?  Will they be screaming in some sparkling penthouse in Denver?  Will they be choking under a layer of ash on the bustling streets of Houston?
Perhaps nothing can be done to stop nature.  Or perhaps, just maybe, something can.
It has happened before.  Perhaps it doesn’t have to happen again.

Okay, so not necessarily my best work, but remember, this is from 8 years ago.  I've learned a lot since then.  ;o)

* the spelling error was his but it still amuses me after 8 years.


jblynn said...

Okay, here goes bluntly honest Jen: This is not one of my favorites.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Like I said, it got snipped. Frankly, this whole book could use a rewrite. And I love your blunt honesty.

Silver James said...

Yes, you can write non-fiction. ;)

If this was set as an "intro" to a documentary voice-over delivered by one of the main characters, I think it could be saved. Technically, it's good writing but as the beginning of a book? Yeah....not so much.

Iffy is brainstorming. LOL She's seeing something like one of those disaster movies where a dedicated team of experts are crying doom and nobody listens. She likes those kind of books and there aren't enough of them. *nods*

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, thanks, Silver. And yeah, it's the beginning of a novel, so no, it ain't right. Iffy hit the nail on the head. It's one of those books, but it's more like doom is on the way, but a dedicated expert has a solution and people don't want to listen.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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